As any personal trainer knows, there is no shortage of people in our profession. At last count, it is estimated that there are 347,000+ personal trainers certified in the US, alone. that doesn't even count the multitude of non certified hacks out there training people based on what they think they know. In today's world of quick and abundant info on all subjects, just about anyone can log onto the net, copy a few workouts, pick up some fitness lingo, and then hit the gym or the park, looking for some clients.
But, what about you? Even if you are a bonafied, certified trainer, are you really any good? And just how would you measure that? Is it by the number of clients you get? The amount you keep? Is it the ton of certs you've got under your belt? Is it your selling ability? How about the fact that you know how to throw down training sessions tough enough to make grown men cry?
One thing you should be looking at is whether or not your clients achieve the goals they first came to you for. And do it consistently, client after client. Results. That's one mark of a good trainer.
Giving your clients that fit body they're paying you an arm and leg to get. And until you've done that, you're just out here playing games, my friend.
Also, part of your package should be a few key things. Besides just having the gift of gab, an awesome physique and great selling ability, make sure that you keep the most important aspects of training people firmly in mind. I like to call them "the three E's". The three E's are:
Education - The best trainers out here are educated, whether that's by your basic nationally recognized certification programs, studying exercise science and nutrition in college, and also keeping up with what's new in exercise science. Constantly learning new training methods, ideologies, technologies, and keeping up with all the changes that constantly come down the pike in the field. If you're not out here reading, taking workshops and trying out new theories, you are definitely not one of the best. A good trainer is on top of the lot of it, both old and new.
Empathy - Even if you're the buffest, fittest person on the planet, you still have to be able to put yourself in your client's shoes. Try to understand how they feel, and what's really going on inside. You're doing more than just training a body - you're training an entire person. Getting to know and understand your client from a mental, psychological and emotional standpoint is key. That way, you'll be able to relate to them better, and thus provide the motivation and support they need.
Enthusiasm - You should try to be just as excited and enthusiastic about their program and goals as they are. Don't ever make it seem like you're bored and just trying to get through the hour with them. They will pick up on that, and pretty soon, your relationship with that particular client will be over. Keeping the workouts fresh, and finding new ways to get them those results will help you in that area. Challenge yourself to be better, just the same as you do your client. That will definitely work in keeping both of you enthusiastic about training.
Keeping all of the above in mind as you go through your career as a trainer will definitely keep you on top of the pile. Remember, there are a ton of wannabe trainers out there studying and preparing to try and get your job. Be so good at what you do, that it's just impossible! Dare to be the best!
Mike (Warning: explicit)
Picking up and starting over in a new town is never easy, but after only 3 months in the big city, I'm knockin' down the competition like a champ. It was hard leaving my friends and clients back in LA, but after that whole, crazy shit that went down with the ex, I knew I needed to make a big change. So, I called on a favor from my friend in New York, Jason, who's always got my back, got a ticket to the big city, and packed my shit up and jetted.
Risky, yeah, I know, but it's paying off. Got a job here at one of the top gyms the first damn day I hit the pavement. Already, my client list at the place I now work at is huge, and the ladies love me just like they did back in sunny CA. Was there ever any doubt that they would? The women here line up 3 and 6 deep for some big Mike. And some of the women here in New York are even hotter than LA chicks. They look more real, for one thing. And with the sheer numbers of chicks just walking down the street, I have to say, getting tail has never been quicker and easier. Lotta hungry babes out this way, and I'm trying to make 'em all happy, one hot ass at a time.
At work, it's crazy. I stay busy. I had 4 new girls sign up to train with me in one day, and man, were the other guys on the floor tryin' to suck it up and act like it was no big shit. Yeah, I been eatin' into some of the boys profits lately. They now KNOW there's a NEW top dog on the scene, and I'm taking no prisoners. There's a couple chick trainers at this gym that I know I'm gonna bang, too. Hot as hell! It's just a matter of time. Yep. Things are really looking up for this California boy. I'm gonna lay it down hard and milk it for everything it's worth....
Deanna (Warning: explicit adult language)
Another day, another few hundred bucks. 'Almost easy money' is what I call it. Definitely easier and more respectable than what I used to do, but in a nutshell, I'm still basically having the men line up to pay for my time. Just in a different setting, now.
My experience in that other arena definitely helps me here, because I know how to charm them, and keep them dangling on the line, always wanting more...
And the little muscle shirt and tight, black lycra pants we wear as a uniform here definitely don't hurt sales, either. The person who designed these outfits is a genius!
Men. A little hint of boobies, and they go nuts! And, boy, do I get the creepiest guy clients in the whole gym. Straight up pervs that think I don't see how excited they can get you know where, when I'm training them. Take it home to your wife, buddy! Or your GF. Once our hour is over, we're DONE. No, I don't want to have coffee with you later. Are you serious???
But these horny guys that train with me just to get an eyeful keep me really busy here. I have female clients, too, but the men outnumber them 3 to 1. The other girl trainers here swear I'm doing something "illegal" to get the huge client list I have, but they're just jealous, really. I'm dishing out the same crap as everyone else in here. Mine just comes in a better looking package. Deal with it!
The guy trainers at this gym aren't much better, either. Bunch of booty hounds, all of them. Especially that damn new guy, Mike. Oh, does he EVER think that the sun rises and shines only on his self important, overly inflated ego, narcissistic ass. I can't stand guys like him, so ridiculously full of themselves, it makes you want to puke just to be around them...
He struts in here like a king on a throne, and anything female within his eye range gets this "I know you want this" look from him. WTF? With his overly gelled hair, one size too small muscle shirt, and flat little ass... Why the hell does he even BEGIN to think he's the shit? These stupid girls that come to the gym to work out fall right over for his bullshit, though. Dumb little bitches. They hang on his every look and word, waiting and hoping to become the next casualty on his bang 'em and leave 'em list. Clueless little dummies. They deserve it!
After working here for about a year, I have a jam packed list of steady clients, as many as I can handle. Things are really good right now. Nobody here knows my past, and that's a good thing. Those deeds were done in a city, far, far away. I used to make a ton of money doing what I did, but at the end of the night, I'd feel sick, depressed, and I started hating myself. Working out religiously and keeping my body tight was what helped me find another way. By being the ultimate gym rat, I found something else that I was good at. I have to say right now, that the gym saved my life. Getting certified as a trainer turned it all around. I can walk through this city with my head up, not afraid of who I'll bump into whenever I turn a corner. It feels like I can finally relax and breathe...
I found a way out. The gym and becoming a trainer saved my ass. Literally. Now, as long as none of my numb skull coworkers around here find out about my past, it's gonna stay smooth sailing. They'd make my life a living hell if they ever knew...
Damion (Warning: explicit adult language)
Damn, that's a fine ass babe that just walked up in this place! I'm a sucker for those long, dark curly hair, olive skin, you can't tell what the fuck they are types. Italian? Greek? Puerto Rican? All I know is these bitches be FOINE as shit, especially the ones with the green or blue eyes. That shit is sexy as HELL! I can see one riding my dick right now, both my hands full of soft, white ass...
This place is crawling with those type babes, all giving out those little "yeah, I'd do you" looks. A brother wouldn't even know where to begin...
I gotta step my game up around here because the dollars are not rolling in like I need 'em to. Everybody on this floor is a goddamn shark, and if you don't have big fuckin' teeth, you don't eat. Killer instinct rules.
That hog ass Mike stole 4 of my girls. That's a nice chunk of dough straight outta my damn pocket. I don't know how he does it, hell, he ain't no where NEAR as stud as me, but these bitches in here love his ass. Before he came, I was the hot motherfucker on the floor, bitches creamin' in ther damn panties to train with me. Now, they're trying to get with him first. I gotta put a stop to this shit, and NOW. The only question is how? I gotta get a plan...
If it wasn't for Gina slipping me some cash now and then to "go get me something nice", I wouldn't be able to keep my wardrobe up to par the way I do. It's okay, though...she's a good fuck for an old broad, and I train her hard to keep that ass nice and tight.
Problem is, she's starting to get a little bit more demanding lately, talking about "Come over as soon as you finish your last client". Who the fuck does she think she is? Bitch doesn't own me! I'm my OWN motherfuckin' man! I gotta let that shit slide for now, though, cause her money is long, and she IS helpin' to pay a nigga's bills...
The relationship you get to have with your client is indeed a quite intimate one. Within that hour that you train them, there is a lot of sharing of info about the personal details of life. With some clients, more so than others. You are made privy to some of the most personal info regarding your client's job, family, love life, health issues, and also very intimate secrets.
It's a natural part of bonding with each other, and the building blocks of the trust you're going to have. As the professional, you have to make sure to honor that trust, and also to never forget why you're there in the first place; to train your client.
It's great when you have a really good interpersonal relationship with your client. You do, however, need to set some boundaries on just how friendly you get with your clients.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
*Remember why you're there in the first place
- You're a paid professional there to do a job. Try not to forget that.
*Place some limits on sharing info about your own personal life
- As colorful and exciting as your love life might be, your client doesn't need to hear all about it. Censor yourself. Too much info really can be exactly that - too much.
*Try to spend most of your time training, not talking
- If you and your client are having these really lengthy convos during sessions, you must not be doing your job all that well. My clients are barely able to speak when we're in the thick of things. Make sure it's a training session and not just a chatty social visit where the exercise is more of an afterthought.
*Try to stay in your proper role
- You are the trainer, not the BFF. Not to say that you should be robotic and cold, but you shouldn't be hanging out together over beers after a session, either. Be friendly, be yourself, but remember that this is your client, not your best bud.
*And if you are finding yourself somewhat attracted to your client, well... try to hold back as long as you can! ;)
Nothing ruins a good trainer/client relationship faster than taking it THERE. Becoming super intimate with your client in THAT way will only lead to big trouble, and you both end up losing in the end.
I've seen many of those 'trainer dating their client' situations go down in flames, and someone (usually the client) ends up getting hurt. Don't let that be you.
Remember that the people you train put their trust and faith completely in your hands. You have to respect it, and always try to do the right thing by them. Be professional, be personable, be friendly and easy to talk to, but know where to draw the lines. That's one way to keep a good client in your line up for a very long time.
The alarm starts blaring at 5am, and although you've gotten the proper amount of sleep, your body is screaming "Noooo! Do...not...want...to...move...!"
It's not that you're physically tired. You're just not motivated to get up and get on with it. Shower, dress, grab your trainer bag, and head out the door to meet your 6am client for yet another session. Ugh! This is all starting to get a bit lame. And your 6am is only the tip of the iceberg. You have a slew of clients waiting and getting ready for one of your hard core, max it out sessions, an unending list of "I wanna be fit" folks that are depending on you to do just that. Get 'em fit. The day ahead seems to stretch miles long, and that train is not gonna stop running until way into the evening.
At this point, you're not sure if you can make it, you're so burnt out. But you can't cancel any of these appointments. That's bad for business. Also, these people are depending on you to whip them into shape, keep them on their toes, and motivate them to be the absolute best they can be. You can't let them down.
Not to mention, you need them, too. After all, they are paying your bills.
Even the best personal trainer on the planet has days or moments where he/she wouldn't care to never see another client again, EVER. Luckily, those feelings soon pass. But in the meantime, what can you do to keep your spirit and energy up, your self motivation high, and break through this depleted energy phase?
Here are a few things to do when you feel some trainer burnout coming on:
*Look at the big picture
Remember your business and life's goals. Allow your desire to reach these goals help you to refocus and resolve to stick to your plan. Remember that what you're doing right now in your career is part of the process necessary to get you where you ultimately want to be.
*Remember why you became a trainer in the first place.
Remember that fire, that urge, that desire that made you get educated and get certified? That thing that made you want to get out and help people achieve healthier, fitter bodies? That desire to be your own boss, not tied to a desk, free to choose your own hours, or at least the days you prefer to work? Try to recapture those same feelings you had when this whole thing started. You might just be able to reignite that flame and get some of that old enthusiasm back.
*Take advantage of motivational books, CDs and DVDs.
There is a ton of motivational material out there for exactly this moment in your life and career. Find something in one of these mediums that you can relate to, and try to use it to pull yourself up out of the doldrums. Motivational materials can be powerful, and just the boost you need to get out of your rut. You can do it! :)
*Take a workshop or seminar
Sometimes learning something new or adding new skills to your repertoire will help perk you back up and make you excited about training again. With some new tools under your belt, you'll be able to throw a couple new twists into your clients workouts, and that will be sure to keep you both from ever being the least bit bored.
*Take some time off
Money or not, sometimes you really do just need to take a break. We are humans, not these machines that can just go on day after day, performing the same tasks endlessly.
As a personal trainer, you do tend to have this super human image, and you might fall into the trap of really trying harder than you need to to live up to it. No one expects you to tire, lose energy, or not know how to stay self motivated. Heck, that's what you do best; motivate. So, how could you allow yourself to lose it?
Well, it does happen, even to the best of us. And when it does, and none of the aforementioned tactics seem to work, then it really is just time for you to take a break.
Whether it's for a few days or a couple of weeks, when it's time, it's time.
Don't get so caught up in making money to the point where you won't take that needed time for yourself.
Just think; after you come back from a vacation, you'll really be ready to kill it. You'll be so refreshed, energized and full of new vigor, that your clients won't know what hit 'em the next time you train. It's a definite win-win result for everybody.
Before leaving for your vacation, be sure to let your clients know weeks ahead of time that you'll be taking time off. Give them fitness homework assignments to do while you're gone to keep them busy and still working out. Print them out on paper so that it's a definite plan they can follow. You can also shoot them a quick email from paradise to let them know that even though you're not there, they are not forgotten, and your vacation is no excuse for them to start slacking off. You can still crack that whip from afar, and keep them on their toes.
But do take the time off that you need. It will pay off huge dividends in the end, not only for you, but for those that you train and influence daily.
In conclusion, remember that in order for you to be the best trainer you can possibly be, you have to take care of number one first. That's you. If you're starting to feel burned out, try some of the tactics mentioned here to shake it off and get back on track.
If you manage it right, you'll be sure to have a long, healthy, happy career, burnout and stress free!
Within minutes, you've assessed him/her, and can tell immediately that this person is yet another wannabe trainer that got some poor, unsuspecting fool to follow them and pay for this God awful, numb skull training being displayed in all its ineptness right here on the gym floor.
This hack doesn't even have the client doing a basic squat properly; knees stuck out way over toes, squat taken lower than 45 degree bend of the knee, and hips all in the wrong place. From that little faux pas alone, you know instantly that this is an uncertified, uneducated, non professional in here faking it.
Oh wait... now they're breaking out some punching mitts and have just put boxing gloves on this client. Can't wait to see this...
Yep! Just like you expected; this pseudo trainer doesn't have a clue. Client is throwing damn near windmill punches, trainer's holding mitts straight and flat, using almost no forward resistance on the mitts as the punches come, and there in no real proper boxing form whatsoever between the two of them.
Question: why do trainers who never really learned how to box or kick box themselves think that they can just magically teach those skills to somebody else? This seems to be a disease that has hit gyms everywhere because I see it going on all the time. Everybody wants to be a cool as hell boxing trainer. Especially when they're really not.
Where do they get these wannabe's?
Listen, you hacks, you fakers and posers...
You are a festering, pus filled sore on the butt of our profession. If you're gonna be out here training people, at least educate yourself first, and I don't mean just by reading Muscle and Fitness magazine. Get some NASM or ACE under your belt. Take some workshops, learn the craft properly and get certified. You're playing with people's health and their bodies out here!
Do it the right way, or just don't do it at all. Ya hacks!