This article is for those of you who are personal trainers. You know the importance of getting the best from your clients, and some of these tips will help you to do it. This article is also for those of you who work with a personal trainer. Are they giving you their best? Are they leading you on to fitness success? Show them these tips if you are in any way unsure. Whoever you are, we hope the following advice is useful for you.
Tip #1: Focus on the individual
You don’t always need to put together an individual action plan for each of your clients, but you should at least alter previous plans to fit the person you are working with. You should also get to know them – their strengths, weaknesses, trigger points, etc. What motivates them? What is guaranteed to put them off their stride? Seek to understand the individual, and you have a better chance of leading them to success.
Tip #2: Educate your clients
A personal trainer needs to do more than stand by the client’s side with a stopwatch, or push the client to their limits in whatever exercise they are involved in. Your job is to also teach your clients. Why are you asking them to do what they’re doing? Explain your reasoning clearly, and teach them the benefits. Recommend websites such as ours, with real-life success stories to inspire their thinking. Point them to books that are recommended reading for exercise. Consider sending them on specific courses outside of your training sessions. You’re both teacher and facilitator, so do what you can to help them in all aspects of their learning.
Tip #3: Educate yourself
You may or may not be good at your job. We don’t know – we aren’t you – but whatever the case, you should always seek to improve yourself. Are there fitness-related courses you should be taking? Are there any books you should be reading? Fitness is an innovative field, so you should always stay one step ahead for your client. Look into the latest technology that can measure sports athlete movement. Research recent trends in fitness wear. Speak to other fitness trainers, go online, and read industry blogs and forums to keep yourself up to date with anything that will improve your skills and your education. The better educated you are, the better-equipped you are to manage your client’s learning.
Tip #4: See the good in your client
While honesty is always the best policy, don’t always take the hard line; don’t always focus on the negative, and don’t look at your client as a commodity. See the good in them, congratulate them on achievements, and when there is a positive word to say, let them know. We all flourish under encouragement, and you will get a lot more from your client if you celebrate their hard-won efforts with appropriate praise and reward.
Tip #5: Don’t always be a cheerleader
And here’s the flip side to the previous point. Yes, there is a place to encourage and spur on your clients, but sometimes they need a figurative kick in the can. They may turn up late to a training session with little excuse. Your client might give up on an exercise too early. They may moan and complain with little reason to do so. Don’t cater to their laziness. While you shouldn’t put them down in any way (like a power-crazed army sergeant), you should still challenge them on their half-assed attitudes, and push them within reasonable expectations. Encourage them, yes, but don’t let them get away with bad behavior. They will thank you for it, eventually!
Tip #6: Be professional
Putting the onus on yourself, sometimes you need to be the shining example. Make sure you get to the training session on time, don’t cut the session short because you have better things to do, and be prepared as any self-respecting teacher should. If you don’t give your best to your client, they are unlikely to do their best for you, and they will likely give up early out of disrespect for your unprofessional attitude. Take pride in what you do, and your clients should follow suit.
Tip #7: Make time for feedback
This works twofold. You need to make time to give feedback to your client. Use quantifiable measuring methods to let them know how they’re doing. Let them know what they are doing well and where they need improvement. Then listen to your client. Do they have anything to say regards their progress? Are they happy with your training? Could there be any worries or hindrances that you need to know about? Talk and listen to your client, fairly and respectfully, at the beginning and end of every session, and use the feedback time to plan other sessions.
By being the best personal trainer you can possibly be, your clients will become the best they can possibly be under your tutelage. Let us know your thoughts below, with any other hints and tips for others, be they personal trainers or fitness clients.