Becoming a Personal Trainer For Dummies
To become a successful personal trainer, you have to master your certification exam, market yourself to potential clients, and know what clients want and need from a personal trainer.
Telephoning Tips for Personal Trainers
Drumming up business as a personal trainer may start from a simple a phone call. Use these tips to reassure a prospective client of your personal training ability, make them feel comfortable, and answer any questions or concerns they have.
Introduce yourself by name and position. This is Pat Pectoral of Pat’s Perfect Personal Training.
Ask for your prospect’s first name, then use it when addressing her questions. But don’t overdo this, or you’ll sound like a particularly insincere used-car salesman.
Ask how you can help her. Then let her talk, and make sure you listen.
Ask questions if you’re not clear on the caller's needs. Your job is to find out what the caller is looking for and how you can give it to her. Ask questions to clarify the prospect’s needs.
Modify your rate of speech to match your caller’s. This is an old trick that helps the prospect feel comfortable with you.
Let her know it’s okay to interrupt you if she doesn’t understand what you’re saying. Talking with a trainer can be intimidating — especially for someone who isn’t a big exerciser! Assure the prospect that she can ask you anything at any time.
Keep your answers short and definitive. Getting too wordy can confuse your caller or make her lose interest in you.
No matter what your mood, be upbeat and maintain a positive attitude. You want to exude health and confidence.
Smile during your conversation. Your caller can hear it!
Make sure your voice reflects enthusiasm and cheer.
Speak with confidence. As the saying goes, It’s not what you say but how you say it!
Know what you’re talking about. If you don’t know an answer, admit it — don’t make one up.
Make notes to refer back to during the conversation. That way you can go back if you have a question about something the prospect said.
If you’re able to schedule an initial consultation with the potential client, reiterate the date, time, and location of your next meeting before closing the conversation.
Always thank the prospective client for calling, and wish her a good day/afternoon/evening before saying goodbye.
How to Be a Successful Personal Trainer
Building up, and keeping clients, is key to the success of your personal training business. These guidelines will help you establish yourself professionally, and build your client relationships as a personal trainer.
Be a professional. Be sure to dress professionally (a polo shirt and clean sweat pants work well), always show up on time, and keep accurate files.
Don't be afraid to fire a client. If the client has become increasingly noncompliant, if you find yourself ending workouts early; or if the client has started to complain a lot, the best course of action may be to let her go. Tell her that you feel that Trainer X can offer her more than you can.
Scope out the competition. Your competitors are the personal trainers and personal training companies in your area that. The best way to know your foe is to shop them. Call as a prospective client and ask about their services, how much they charge, whether their trainers are certified, hours, whether they travel to the client’s home or office, and so on. Not only will you get the information you need to compete in the marketplace, you may pick up an idea or two for yourself.
Provide personal solutions. Your clients don’t all fit into one mold, and your programs and solutions for them shouldn’t, either. Ask questions to find out about the client’s unique situation and tailor your response to fit it.
Plan one step at a time. Break down tasks into manageable steps. For example, if your client has never been on a treadmill, don’t just put him on one and hit the On button. Tell him how to get on the treadmill, how to turn it on, how to step onto the tread, how to adjust the intensity, and how to turn it off.
Change up the program. We humans get bored doing the same thing every day. Keep your client motivated by occasionally upping the intensity and changing the exercises.
Provide positive reinforcement. Encourage and motivate your clients to keep them coming back. Tell your client how her performance compares to her past performance (if it’s better, that is), compliment her, include positive notes about her performance in her workout log, and send her an occasional e-mail or greeting card to let her know you’re proud of her.
Respect your clients’ privacy. Don’t tell other clients, trainers, or anyone else about a client’s home, personal life, or training program.
Follow up. Following up with clients holds them accountable and gives them little motivational boosts to boot. It’s simple — just check in once or twice (via phone or e-mail) when the client is between sessions.
Keep in touch with former clients. Staying in touch with your former clients is a good business practice. If you have clients who have moved on, shoot them an occasional phone call, letter, or e-mail to touch base and make sure they’re on track. You never know — they may decide to come back to you!
How to Ace Your Personal Training Certification Exam
Being hired as a personal trainer requires a certification if you want to be taken seriously by potential employers and clients. These tips will help you hit the books and prepare for your certification exam:
Get ready to study. Make sure you have a quiet place where you can concentrate on the course materials, whether your kitchen or the local library. Turn off the TV, the radio (unless listening to classical music helps get your brain cells moving), and your Internet connection (unless you’re using online course materials). And make sure your study area is equipped with pencils, paper, and a good light source.
Find course materials. Each certifying organization offers its own course materials to help you study for the exam. You may receive (or be able to purchase) textbooks, online study guides, sample tests, and access to live seminars and courses. Check out the certifying organizations’ Web sites for information on the course materials that are available.
Role-play. If the exam includes a practical portion, you’ll need to get your hands on such equipment as skin-fold calipers and blood-pressure cuffs. Recruit some friends and use them to practice measuring flexibility, measuring body fat, performing submaximal cardio evaluations, and anything else you may have to perform on the test.
Use sticky notes. Learning anatomy is an active process — you have to get up and get moving to understand how the body works. Stick labels on your muscles and joints to remember what they’re called and how they move.
Draw up flash cards. Make up flash cards with definitions and formulas. You can test yourself whenever you have a free minute — in line at the grocery store, in the dentist’s waiting room, while stuck in traffic — or have a friend flash you (the cards, that is).
Get moving. Get off your chair and perform movements to find out which muscles are involved. Which muscles do you use when you kick? How about when you’re doing a bench press?