How Do I Know If I Am A Good Personal Trainer?
I owned a personal training studio from 2001 to 2013. My biggest challenge was finding personal trainers who had the combination of knowledge, personality, passion, and great people skills. I either interviewed several trainers who had extensive certifications but absolutely no personality or the opposite. This hiring process of finding the right trainers for my clients was the most challenging part of running my business.
Year after year it seemed to get tougher and tougher. I found that unlike the old days (before You Tube or other educational sites) eager trainers were always ready to spend a few bucks to keep up their certifications and stay current with the latest trends and research. With more and more FREE web material available, getting personal trainers to part with a buck seemed to become more and more challenging. Even worse was the fact that cheap online certifications were popping up everywhere, which did not really translate into high quality education leading to smart, professional trainers.
I had a situation once which is worth noting here. I hired an athletic therapist, who had an extensive background in anatomy and corrective conditioning, but not really any experience in actually personally training clients. I decided to take a chance and hire him, thinking he would be just fine.
One day I happened to be training a client in the room beside him, only to notice his client walking around. When I asked her where the trainer was she replied “on his cell phone”. That terminated his employment. When I asked the client if this happened all the time, she said that it did and was not planning to renew her plan with us. Here was a situation that was going on behind my back of course and the client did not bother to speak to me.
A good personal trainer is obviously one that is attentive, is fun to be with, takes interest in his or her clients, and is highly educated. Calling oneself a personal trainer is serious. You are taking an individual’s body into your hands. If a client has some issues that you do not have the expertise for, be smart and own up to that. You cannot be everything to everyone. We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses and this is what makes us all unique. There is nothing worse than seeing a trainer take on the role of a nutritionist or osteopath. Do not overstep boundaries. Refer out when there is an area that is foreign to you.
Here are my Top Five Tips to as to what makes a “terrific and in-demand Personal Trainer”.
- Be fair … Do not charge your clients over the top prices. Try to stay competitive and fair with cancellation policy. Although I feel it is important to have a cancellation policy, I would give your consistent clients at least one chance in a last minute cancellation.
- Be fit …Take the time to get your own workout in. Look the part. If you are not going to stay fit and healthy, why would anyone be attracted to train with YOU?
- Be on time … there is nothing worse for your clients if they show up to train, and you are not ready. This is discouraging and can cause the client to lose motivation. You should be ready, waiting and happy to see them. Always ask how they are doing and feeling before starting the program.
- Be current and continue to evolve … there is no such thing as a one size fits all program. It is endless how much we can do with a client. I had someone contact me a few weeks ago who said that she had a trainer coming to her home for a year and was not seeing any weight loss results. When I asked to see the program, I could not believe my eyes. She did the same workout every visit and even worse, he had her on an elliptical for half the session while he just stood there talking to her! I did not think this situation even happened any more. We are there to push and motivate and offer an experience that people cannot do their own.
- Be available … it is important to build and keep a rapport going. This holds true even when you are NOT with your client. Imagine how great they will feel getting a text message that checks in with them. What about an email sending off a quick motivational quote? When a client sees that you are thinking about them other times, it is extremely rewarding.
Providing a consistent, challenging, fun experience is very important to keep a relationship strong and continue to grow. A client must be able to see results and feel better. The impression and promises you deliver on day one should be carried through.
Education is a given, but the experience is everything!
About the Author
Frances Michaelson is president of exercise equipment company Muscle Up Inc., a licensed naturopath and a personal trainer. She is passionate about helping people attain optimal health through proper diet and exercise. A self-described health-o-holic, she motivates others to move well and eat well to keep their bodies’ cells dancing and singing. Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances is a frequent conference presenter, is author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells, blogs for Total Gym exercise equipment, and is a regular contributor to IHRSA’s “Ask an Industry Leader.” With her broad knowledge base and over three decades of experience, she is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. Frances is committed to helping others make positive lifestyle choices that create stronger bodies, healthier minds and more fulfilling lives.