3 Tips to Becoming a Successful Trainer

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What makes a successful trainer these days? Is a successful the trainers who have the largest followers on Instagram, Facebook, etc. or is it the personal trainers making over 6 figures a year? The answer, depends on your definition of “successful”. The answer should be none of the above, but this unfortunately is not the case if you ask most people in the fitness industry these days.

The most popular fitness trends and fads are exactly what is wrong with my beloved fitness industry and in need of a desperate change. Personal trainers have stopped truly caring about their clients best interest and overall health, and more about making money off promoting garbage and unnecessary supplements in addition to cookie cutter nutrition plans that are being recycled and peddled to the masses. Want to become a successful trainer, then start with not selling out your integrity. Want to be successful and help thousands of people better their quality of life, then start by following these simple steps.

1. Educate Yourself

One of the best decisions you can ever make for yourself and others is educating yourself.  When I first was debating on entering into the fitness industry over 8 years ago, I first wanted to know more information about health and fitness besides from what I had learned reading Men’s Health magazines. I started my journey by walking into several local gyms in my area asking what I needed to do to become a trainer. The very first question every manager asked was, “are you certified?” Obviously, being brand new my reply was “no.” So, I asked every manager I spoke which certifications they recommended or they thought were the best. Several pointed me towards the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

So, anxious to learn more, I went online and researched NASM and along with other certifications to make sure I didn’t waste my money or time. In the end, I ordered my NASM course material and book and would say this was by far the best investment I would ever make in my future. Once certified, I was offered several jobs at local gyms and was lucky to pick a great gym with amazing mentors. I have since received several other certifications, read hundreds of books on health and nutrition, and while each have taught me a lot, I would say NASM is the best structured and most scientific certification I have come across to date.

beebs carbsSince becoming a trainer and working for years mastering my craft, I have watched my industry go from bad to worse when it comes to education. The majority of personal trainers these days are not only certified, they don’t even have the slightest clue as to proper nutrition or even basic exercise science. To top that off, they are using Bro-Science which by definition according to Urban Dictionary ” is the predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research.” Not only does this way of thinking not work with most individuals, it is actually dangerous when working out with improper form or writing meal plans and recommending supplements that have toxic and untested chemicals you can’t even pronounce in the ingredients, yet explain why you should be consuming them. This equities to you basically paying to be a walking science experiment.

2. Always Be Prepared

The First Meeting, Consultation or Session

Next tip, is to “Always Be Prepared” which is also the Boy Scout motto. What does “being prepared” mean? First, this starts with your first meeting or consultation with your respective client. This is your best time to gather as much information about your client before starting your fitness program with them. While asking a lot of questions is important, knowing which ones to ask and what to cover is even more important.

Best advice I can give you on this, is you can’t help someone if you can’t identify problems before you even step out on the workout floor with them. While there is a lot of subjective feedback you can get from your potential clients verbally, you can also identify as much if not even more by objective feedback from doing posture assessments, weight, body fat, and other measurements. If you client has postural imbalances or from a previous injury, you are increasing the chances of having that client injury themselves with you or worst if you don’t fix or address the problem.

During Your Sessions

image“Success is where preparation meets opportunity.” Having a plan and building your clients workouts in advance before you meet with them increases you likely hood for success. First thing you should do with a client before starting your workout is making sure your client has warmed up, foam rolled and has stretched any tight muscles or problem areas that may be bothering them. Your client may be coming into a session tight from work, have been sitting at a desk all day or still tight from your last workout, so it’s your job to make sure they take care of tight muscles and you identify and address any problems before you start to train them. Leaving any altered, shortened, or tight muscles constricted before exercising is not only dangerous, but drastically reduces your clients ability to efficiently and effectively train or get the most out of each workout.

Once you have ensured your client is warmed up and ready to work out, it’s time to start your workout. When training a client, always start with light weights and slow controlled movements with either dumbbells or light machines. When spotting a client, always watch the movement around their joints which indicate what muscles are being targeted, proper movement patterns, and range of motion around a joint. If a client is feeling pain in a joint or muscles other then the specific muscles you are targeting, stop immediately, get feedback from your client and either reduce the weight or intensity, or change exercises completely. If the pain continues after doing all the above, stop the workout.

When working out with clients, you should make sure you are being efficient and effective with your their time, energy, and money. Use circuits and supersets to optimize your time. If your client wasn’t sore for a day or two after your last workout, it is time to change up your workout. If your client is still sore in the muscle group you were planning on hitting, Use F.I.T.T.E. (Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type, Enjoyment) principles to ensure your clients don’t plateau and continue to progress and enjoy their workouts.

3. Don’t Sell Out!

Too many trainers are quick to sell out their clients to supplement companies in order to make a few extra bucks or jump on the latest popular fitness fads from selling their clients body wraps or starting a cross fit gym because they don’t cost much to start and have high profit margins if you can get enough members. You don’t have to be up-selling your clients if you need to make more money. If you really and truly help your client feel better, enjoy themselves while being active, and improve their overall quality of life you will be both monetarily rewarded through them referring you to everyone they know, to ensuring they will most likely stay with you for many years to come. The biggest killer in the fitness industry is turnover and client retention. If your clients trust you and you actually deliver results and not at the cost of their health or happiness, then you are truly a successful trainer.

 

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