How to Be a Successful Personal Trainer

Part of the Becoming a Personal Trainer For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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!

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Becoming a Personal Trainer For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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