Personal Training is an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds. More and more people are looking to personal trainers to be able to reach for, and achieve their fitness goals. Because of this there has been an increase in the number of personal trainers to meet the needs of an ever-growing market. Of course, the downside of this is that many people who present themselves as trainers may have the necessary education or qualifications to pass muster but may be lacking in one very important aspect: the “personal” aspect. Many trainers focus more on a particular exercise, or a piece of equipment, a training technique or training regimen without taking into consideration the fitness level, needs and physical abilities of their clients. Some focus on exercise without looking into the nutrition aspect of fitness while some tend to equate exercise pain with progress. If you want to be a personal trainer who has the ability to foster positive fitness experiences effectively with their clients; then you would be wise to consider the following tips:
Tailor your methods, equipment, and technology to the client, not the other way around. Don’t be dead-set on a particular exercise, training method and piece of equipment that your client should use. Different clients have different interests and what works for a particular client may not work so well for another client. Don’t limit yourself to a specific piece of equipment or training method, and don’t be afraid to integrate specific exercises based on activities that your client finds enjoyable, such as dancing and martial arts. Use technology and apps that the client prefers to use and remember that some clients don’t really like using apps.
Give knowledge, not just exercises. Part of your job as a personal trainer is to answer questions related to fitness as well as to educate your client about fitness-related information. Make sure to give them complete information about the why’s and how’s of your exercise program, and send them links to fitness articles they might find interesting or that answer any questions they may have. Make sure you use reliable and factual information.
Offer Challenges. Avoid discouraging and demeaning your clients, but don’t spoon-feed them by making things too easy for them either. Be sure to challenge your clients with an extra rep or set, but only if you feel that they are up for it and can effectively do it.
Focus on both nutrition and training. Zeroing in on your client’s exercise techniques, proper form, and physical output is all well and good, but you should also consider their nutritional habits. Avoid overlapping the two by talking about nutrition during workouts and training and instead, set aside a separate time for nutrition consultation outside of the client’s exercise hours: these are two different aspects of fitness that must be addressed separately.
Do not be the “be-all” and “end-all” of fitness information. Accept that there are things that even you don’t know, and that others may have experienced things that you haven’t yet. Don’t try to answer questions with your own opinions, or try to answer with non-factual information. It’s okay not to know everything but offer to find out the answers for the client next time you meet.
Don’t confuse an intense workout for an effective one. Some trainers think that giving their clients an intense workout right away is an effective fitness training practice. But the truth is it actually opens the client to potential injury, soreness and nausea, all of which make for a negative experience. There is something to be said for intensity in exercise, but there are different levels of intensity. Make sure you choose the level your client can safely work with.
Be professional. This goes without saying. Always arrive on time, be prepared for every session, act like a mature adult, and focus your undivided attention on the client and their activities. Treat your client ethically and politely. Don’t condescend. Don’t be rude. The way you conduct your training should be ethical and your attitude and manners should be beyond reproach.
Being the individual who guides another person through their journey into proper health and fitness is a great responsibility which must be taken seriously. Be an exemplar of effective fitness training and treat your clients with empathy, courtesy, compassion and care.
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