How to Become a Kick Ass Trainer

There are many types of personal trainers out there. There is the hype trainer who screams at you with full intensity in order to squeeze out one more rep. There is the Instagram trainer that always wants to take picture with/ of you during a workout. There is the “science” trainer who always wants to drop knowledge bombs and use every technical term they know when breaking down a bicep curl. All in all, a good trainer can tap into each of the above personas, but there are some does and don’ts when it comes to be an efficient trainer. Throughout this conversation you will see some parallels between a good trainer and one of the above personas in one way or another.

Be Personable

I can confidently say that we tend to enjoy spending time with those we like verse those who we don’t. The same goes for trainers and their clients. Therefore, it is so important for you as the trainer to find ways to connect with your clients in a personal, yet professional manner. This comes in a form of getting to know your clients as people rather than another name on your roster or numbers on their progress charts. I like to always ask details about a trip they just went on, how their kids are doing in school or even what they plan on having for dinner that night. I would much rather employ a trainer that is highly personable and doesn’t have as large of a knowledge base than one who is a book worm that doesn’t know how to talk to his/her clients or make the sessions enjoyable.

Learn How to Communicate

Communication skills are probably the single most important life skill one could possess. Personal training is all about sales. Unfortunately, sales get a bad rap due to the sleezy salesmen that convince you to buy a car that you cannot afford. Sure, in fitness there are sales of packages. It is essential to build a solid business. But once the package sale is closed, the job isn’t done there. You will still need to sell your philosophy of training. There are many ways of going about training, and it is your job to convince your clients that your philosophy is superior. Also, you are the professional in the industry, and they are coming to you for your expertise. With the abundance of knowledge you possess, you must know how and what to present to your clients. You would communicate differently to a client that is a doctor than a client who is a software engineer.

Don’t BS Your Client

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned as a trainer is the power of saying, “I don’t know” and “It depends.” Yes, you are the expert and yes, you are deeply knowledgeable, but you do not know everything. And that is ok! If you try to bullsh*t an answer to your client’s question, one or two things will happen. You can unintentionally mislead your client, or they will see you BS-ing them and lose trust in you. This is when simply saying “I don’t know. I will have to do some research on that” will let your client know that you aren’t blowing smoke, and you now have a reason to deepen your knowledge.

The other skill of communication is using the phrase “It depends.” Most questions around health, wellness, and fitness are grey but everyone wants a black and white answer. This really tests your knowledge by being able to explain multiple scenarios that could give them several black and white answers all at once. The client will respect your honesty of not willing to give them a singular answer and can see how complicated a simple question could be. I will give you an example. I get a new client that immediately tells me that they have knee pain when squatting, lunging, and going up and down stairs. They ask, “This must be because I have bad knees, right?!” My answer would be, “Well it depends. Did you hurt your knee recently? How much sitting have you done today? Does one leg feel stronger than the other? Let me check your hip and ankle mobility.” As you can see, a grey question could go in several directions. Being honest with your clients can go a long way in building a healthy and trust filled relationship.

Keep It Simple

It is important to remember that people hire personal trainers because they do not have the education in health and wellness and quite frankly, they don’t care to. They just want you to help them lose weight, burn body fat, and build muscle. You don’t really care for your car mechanic to break down every little aspect of the car repair. You just want to know what’s wrong, how long it’s going to take to fix, and how much it’s going to cost. Keep your information simple and easier to digest. I have seen trainers get so stuck in all the technical terms and find that the client will either doesn’t care or even feel talked down upon. Simplifying your information makes it more digestible and your client will continue to appreciate and respect you as the fitness professional you are.

Now that you are equipped to become the top-notch personal trainer, your clients will see you as a health care professional and even a friend. Your sessions will be more enjoyable, and your clients will look forward to seeing you every time they come through the gym doors. Good luck and keep up the great work. Fitness professionals are the troops on the ground and the first line of defenses against disease and illness. Your work is more powerful than your will ever know!

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