Recently, I have been thinking a lot about personal trainers and what makes a good PT. There are so many articles out there for clients on how to choose a PT. But I want share with you my thoughts on how to better yourself as a PT, from my view as a client.
It’s a good time to be a personal trainer. As being fitter and healthier is becoming normalised, personal trainers are becoming more and more in demand. At the same time, I’ve seen more adverts in the London Underground for personal training in the past year or so more than before.
But I am also worried about personal trainers. Should I be worried? Many personal trainers, who’ve been around for years, are not expanding their knowledge. There are those who have qualified as a PT recently but are struggling to keep clients.
The way I see it, there are two types of personal trainers. What I call the conveyor belt personal trainer and the personal trainer who challenges their clients. I’ve used over five personal trainers over the past three years and with that I think I have an idea on what makes a good personal trainer and how you can develop and improve, resulting in keeping your clients on for longer and building on your clientele. Here are my thoughts.
Be prepared to negotiate your fees. Ideally, if you can, provide a free session beforehand so the prospective client can determine if your training style suits them.
2. Social media
Be proactive in your use of social media. When I was choosing my current personal trainer, I looked at the social media accounts of the personal trainers I had narrowed down in my search. From there, I had an idea of what each of their training styles were like, both when they trained themselves and when they trained their clients.
3. Communicate with your clients
Regularly discuss with your clients how they are feeling about the programmes you set them. Are they struggling with anything? Are they finding anything too easy? Have they hit a plateau? Be prepared to be able to adapt their programme. I regularly update my PT and likewise Suzi will quickly respond with alternatives. She pretty much knows by now that I can get bored very quickly with certain types of exercises and will always mix things up when I ask. Conversely, my previous personal trainers never pushed me.
4. Work your clients
Going back to what I just said, push your clients (but not to the extent they are put off working out). A conveyor belt personal trainer’s clients often look the same as they did before and after the training session.
5. Update your knowledge
Nothing is worse than meeting a personal trainer, whose knowledge and views are outdated or not current (see my post about my experience of gymtimidation). Don’t just work on your fitness knowledge. Also work on your, marketing, networking and relationship skills. Attend webinars, workshops and read books on things like learning how to read your client’s body language.
6. Collect the data
Collect as much data as you can of your clients. Measurements, photographs, body fat percentage, their weaknesses in terms of foods, their typical meals, their typical training week are just a few things. Experience has taught me that the best personal trainers are those who will collect lots of data from the beginning to the end of a programme.
A personal trainer who villifies food groups isn’t for me. I like my personal trainers to incorporate my food weaknesses into my training and nutrition advice. At the end of the day, as a client, I have paid a lot of money and my personal trainer is providing me a service. As with any other service that your client has paid, they deserve to enjoy the programme you set so this includes the exercise and nutritional aspects.
8. Praise your clients
Congratulate your clients when they’ve achieved new targets; when they’ve reduced their body fat percentage, when they’ve achieved their first pull up, when they’ve achieved a deadlift on a higher weight.
Don’t be a conveyor belt personal trainer. Stick out from the crowd.
Whether you’re a client or personal trainer, what do you think?