10 Lessons Learned From Personal Training
1) There’s no faster way to kill your integrity than by not charging what you are worth.
Now, there’s a difference between what you are worth and being completely off the radar in terms of your market. But you need to charge what you are worth if you are not to appear ‘divided’ in a sea of customers that are too informed and just have too many choices.
2) Personal training will beat your body up in ways that you did not think possible.
I was 31 years old when I started StrongFound, and had endured a very tough 2-month field job the year prior (at my former full-time job) in the middle of Houston Summer heat. Personal training full-time gave this prior experience a run for its money.
3) It’s quite normal to feel ‘burnt-out’ at some point working as a trainer.
Split shifts, repetition, and the emotional and physical energy that goes into training are the biggest reasons for this. How do trainers survive past this phase? They ‘evolve’ and begin establishing themselves as more than the ‘one-trick’ trainer.
4) Personal training has a certain amount of allure to it; but nothing could be farther from the truth.
We imagine training athletes, celebrities, and that everyone is going to be so happy when they come to the gym. Wearing workout clothes all the time seems so ‘cool’. People are going to laude at your qualification and knowledge, and be motivated to workout hard.
5) Lesson four continued…
Most individuals you work with have regular jobs, regular lives, and aren’t here to be fitness purists. You’ll never do so much laundry in your life (socks) and feel so liberated when you can actually wear a pair of jeans. No one cares about your qualifications, and they’ll be expecting you to provide them motivation.
6) Personal training is about so much more than the perfect workout.
You may spend your years trying to chase the perfect workout, but that is not what training clients is about. It is about people, and learning to deliver fitness in ways that make sense for them. It is about understanding, and offering to lead them when they are sometimes at their most vulnerable and worst. And yes, it requires a ton of vulnerability to move, breath, sweat, and fart in front of a professional. You read that correctly.
7) The trainers that are the best will learn to be client centered versus coach-centered.
One of my greatest weaknesses when starting out was that I wanted and expected my clients to do things ‘my way’ versus serving as the guide on their journey. A lot of this stemmed from how passionate I was about my own fitness, I just never saw another way. Eventually I realized I wasn’t as ‘good’ as I thought I was, and decided to learn what the best trainers were doing at the time.
8) Being a personal trainer means learning why your clients are really here.
As trainers we can become so wrapped up in what we envision for our clients, that we miss a much more basic need. You might have the client that comes to you wanting to get ‘fit’ initially; but in reality, they like being pushed on occasion and having somebody to talk to. If you can step beyond your own ego as a trainer, you gain the ability to identity and appreciate this-and understand that you are still making a difference in their life.
9) Fitness is an emotional and fickle character.
As apt to change as the weather in Houston, fitness is quite emotional and unpredictable. The decision to start is typically impulsive by nature, and with that there comes indecision, cancellations, the ups/downs of eating habits, and sometimes dropping off completely without any explanation. Besides from a pure business standpoint, this becomes the premise behind 12-month commitments ☺
10) In today’s world being a good trainer is simply not enough.
Unfortunately, I was a bit too late starting StrongFound, in that it’s not good enough to have the qualification and expertise to stand-out as a good trainer. You must specialize. Now that I have embraced a market (and particularly enjoy training people in this group); it makes it so much more effective and enjoyable. Not that there aren’t exceptions. But just like with the principle of fitness, you need to focus on one particular area if you are to get really good at it.