I’m a personal trainer and yoga therapist with over 6 years industry experience. Here’s what I wish I knew before entering into the fitness industry.
Your clients don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care
This one is a mantra to remember! Developing a strong trainer-client relationship is essential for having a long term successful career in fitness. A great personal training session is much more than bombarding your client with fancy fitness lingo and all the exercise knowledge you’ve amassed over time. Maybe at first this may get them hooked, however, if you don’t truly connect and show them that you genuinely care about supporting them with their fitness goals then don’t expect this client to stay around for long.
You’re kind of like a therapist to your clients
My tutor in fitness college was right when she explained the nature of the client/trainer relationship. Overtime, as you develop a level of trust and respect for one another in this professional relationship, your clients may begin to chat more about what’s going on in their lives and what they may be struggling with. Now before you jump to any conclusions about working outside of our scope as personal trainers, we know we’re not qualified psychologists (and nor do we intend to be!) and we will try our best to refer our clients to these professionals if we feel this is necessary. Every aspect of well-being is connected in some way; we support our clients with their physical fitness but offering a simple smile and listening ear can go a long way too.
Teaching classes requires you to be a really good multi-tasker
I laugh when I look back at the early days when I first started teaching fitness classes at a local gym. I remember trying to learn my first barbell pump sequence and thinking “How am I ever going to remember an entire 45 minute music track?” Fast forward a few years and it feels almost like second nature. What did it take? Practice, practice and more practice. There’s a lot going on during classes, (hence why preparation is so important!!) you’re constantly looking out for your clients to ensure they remain injury free and training with proper technique. Don’t overthink it, trust me you’ll get better with time!
The expert in anything was once a beginner
In the earlier stages of building your client base, you will feel like there is so much you don’t know! Instead of focusing on this, try to focus on what you do know and be excited to learn more. Never stop educating yourself, reading books and going to seminars. The minute you stop learning, I can guarantee you’ll start to feel stale and hit a slump within your career. Don’t be afraid to say to your client, ‘Sorry I don’t feel comfortable providing an educated response to this, let me know go home and come back to you with some research’ – they will be so happy you’re willing to find the right information for them!
Similar to dating, some relationships will just not work out
Don’t be disheartened if a client moves on for no apparent reason, sometimes you just have to accept that you’re not always going to be the best fit for every client. It’s actually a win-win for both parties. Wouldn’t you rather work with a client who’s excited to work with you too?
You have to find time for your own workouts
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy working out on your own schedule. It’s your time to listen to the music you like and train at your own pace, in your own way. If this is the case, then don’t make teaching a group fitness class your only workout time too. It’s your responsibility to pay attention to your clients, demonstrate correct technique and ensure everyone is having a great time.
Be prepared to do a lot of laundry
Expect to be very active throughout the day; teaching classes, training clients and fitting in your own workouts too. Depending on your schedule, consider bringing more than just one outfit to work!
Learn how to effectively your manage your time
Personal training is not your typical 9-5, there’s a lot of work that goes on in the background outside of training clients. You’ve got to think about allocating time to writing programs, generating leads, preparing your accounts and social media marketing. If you don’t manage your time well, you start to feel like you’re working 24/7 – well into the evenings and on weekends. Be strict with allocating time to complete these essential business tasks and don’t hesitate to set boundaries for yourself.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Starting your career in the fitness industry is exciting but can also be very scary! Don’t be afraid to try new things, keep educating yourself and most importantly enjoy the journey.
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