15 Totally Random Things I Have Learned About Personal Training & My Own Training
1. No matter how much you try to fight it, clients will come and go. If you have established yourself as a trainer and possess a strong clientele base, consider yourself stable. However, your clients’ lives aren’t necessarily as stable as yours. Clients move to other cities, lose their jobs, switch gyms, and unfortunately experience tragedies. Keep all of this in mind as your clientele schedule and structure constantly change.
2. Always support, encourage, and promote your colleagues. If they post blogs on social media, pump them up and share them with your own network. If your client mentions your colleagues, speak of them highly. This will pay off in the long run.
3. Give your colleagues’ clients compliments every now and then. It’s one thing if a client always hears cheers from his or her own trainer; it’s another great boost when hearing it from another personal trainer.
4. As important as health and fitness is, personal training can be very expensive. Thoroughly understand why a client is paying you $90 for one hour. Cherish this and make sure that the $90 your client just spent is the best investment they made. Give them 100% attention and, most importantly, LISTEN much more than talk.
5. The most common adjectives that clients and colleagues have used to describe me when I am on the training floor are that I am very “serious” (sometimes a “grump”…oops), “focused”, “attentive”, “detailed”, “professional”, “inspiring”…………….and “little”.
6. Forget about crunches and sit-ups, try experimenting by performing barbell squats and deadlifts in the same session. Every week that I have performed this setup – and although my goal is not to train my abdominals - my abdominals have been burning for up to 4 days after that session.
7. And if you want to try performing barbell squats and deadlifts during the same workout, I recommend getting the squats over and done with first before your deadlifts. I have experimented with the reverse and my squats ended up looking like I am taking a bow for an audience.
8. When working in a studio with many independent trainers, there may be times when you see their clients performing high-risk exercises with scary-looking form. Avoid poking fun at these trainers when you are training your clients. Not only is it unprofessional, but we need to realize that there are reasons those trainers are consistently busy. Although you may not agree with the training programs or how the clients are performing the exercises, their personal trainers are obviously doing something right if their clients keep returning.
9. My four favourite exercises are the barbell front squat, kettle-bell Turkish Get-Up, the deadlift, and the loaded Farmer Carries.
10. The four exercises which I believe challenge the anterior core the most are the barbell front squat, kettle-bell Turkish Get-Up, loaded Farmer Carries, and the cable core (Pallof) press.
11. If a client goes out of his or her way to give you a hand-shake, high-five, or hug after the workout session – regardless of what was addressed during the session – give yourself a pat on the back. Understand that your clients’ goals are most important; however, one of those goals might simply be just to feel good at the end of the session. If you made a client feel better at the end of the session, take pride in what you have just accomplished; you have just made their day.
12. Although this is quite rare, there is nothing wrong with giving your client tough love or a stern talking-to if he or she is disobedient and not cooperating. Keep in mind that there could very well be something going on in their lives. However, if a client is not taking you seriously and their behaviour exhibits this (always late, consistently cancels, no-shows, never performing their homework), then sitting down with them and providing them with a tough ultimatum might be a proper option. It may appear ugly for a while, but at the very least, you will earn some respect, which is not very easy to obtain in this industry at times.
13. There are various ways to perform many of the compound lifts and movements. This does not mean a particular way is wrong; it’s just different. A bodybuilder may try to emphasize his quads by taking short strides during a walking lunge; an athlete may want to make it a hip-dominant exercise by leaning forward and taking a longer stride during the walking lunge; a client wanting to improve posture might try to stay upright with hip-over-knee alignment during the lunge. Someone brand new to the bench press may want to emphasize a flat back on the bench, whereas a power-lifter may exhibit a more pronounced arch in an effort to maximize his strength and power. This is about specificity of training.
14. Avoid acting like a “know-it-all”. Experiment with certain exercises, refer out to a GP, Physiotherapist, or even a more qualified personal trainer where appropriate. If a client asks a question and you do not know the answer, do not guess. Tell them you will get back to them. Also, every now and then, tell your clients what you have learned from training them, reading articles, and from other personal trainers. Tell them about the mistakes you have made with your training. It will make you look human, rather than some freak of nature with gigantic muscles.
15. Always greet your clients when they enter the studio and when they leave. The smile you give them before and after their workouts may very well be the only thing they need to feel better.