The Best 5 Lesons Ive Learnt in Personal Training

By: Andrew Read

The Best 5 Lessons I've Learnt

As one of the old men of the gym scene I've learnt a few lessons over the years. Some of these have always been apparent to me and others have been much harder to comprehend and then institute.

The following are my top 5 list:

1.Education

One of my all time favourite sayings is that if you read about a subject for an hour a day, every day you will become a world class expert in that field in five years time. That little gem comes from Brian Tracey, author of Millionaire Habits, although it has been taken on by many top minds in various fields over the years.

A strange thing happens in gyms when a new trainer arrives. Often they get a rush of clients from other trainers. That's not to say that the old trainers are bad or ineffective, even though they probably are, but more because people want something fresh, new and exciting.

But being the new trainer with the funky haircut is only gong to keep them entertained for so long... And then you're back in the same position that the other trainers were in - clients want results.

The most successful trainers I know are the ones that always work to stay informed and up to date with current research and trends. In these days of the information super highway it is possible to go from knowing nothing at all about a subject to having a good workable knowledge of something almost overnight. With the advent of Ebooks, downloadable audio products, DVDs plus traditional books and seminars there is a limitless supply of information available to trainers like never before. This information isn't just on simple topics either - there are some great fat loss products available as well as sports specific topics, nutrition, demographic specific items such as those for pregnant women or children and even business products and tools for sales and marketing - the list is endless.

The point, however, remains the same - Education is what will help you retain clients.

2.Over Deliver on Service

As with the point above, you can only get by for so long on being new, young and cute. After that you'd better be able to do what you've told the client or else they're going to leave and never come back.

Offering guarantees on service is one way to ensure customer satisfaction. If you sign a fat loss client up to lose 5kg, you need to do everything in your power to help them lose 10kg. They may only lose 6kg, but that's still 20% beyond what you originally agreed upon. You will soon get a reputation as the trainer who stops at nothing to help their clients achieve their goals.

Similarly, when it comes to program writing don't be the trainer who turns up for every session and just wings it. Sooner or later your client will see how little effort you're putting into their sessions and will go seek a Personal trainer who will give them service equal to the dollar value they are paying.

I often make the time a few days per week to either personally call or email clients. When it comes to forming relationships and customer retention this is invaluable. Imagine your fat loss client about to go eat lunch and tossing up whether to eat the healthy option you suggested or McDonalds. Then the phone rings and their trainer is on the other end reinforcing the good habits and ideal that they are striving for. Little things add up to big results when it comes to training and results aid in customer retention and in getting new clients.

Another skill that goes with this is to listen twice as much as you speak. Clients rarely, if ever, really say what they're feeling. An overweight person seeking training is crying our for help - but do we ever really hear them? They see us as fit, knowledgeable and in control. We may be, but the ability to really listen, understand ands then act accordingly is what will cement bonds with clients.

3.Go Easy to Begin With

I can remember a particular female client I had. Fairly typical - mid 30s, wanted to lose a few kilos, professional. She was disciplined and determined to lose weight and insisted that she wanted to work hard. So I smashed her. I mean I really gave it to her. She later told me that it took her an hour to get up of the floor of the shower after training and get herself together enough to go to work.

My response was to go around high-fiving everyone thinking I was a total bad ass as a trainer.

What an idiot.

I hurt her so bad she couldn't face coming back to the gym for another two weeks. We were training three times per week at $50 per session - in those two weeks that she didn't come I lost $300 of income. Not so funny now, huh?

One of the things I like most about Phil Foster is his new client mantra - "No muscle soreness for the first three workouts". Ease them into it, encourage and motivate, learn what they are and aren't capable of. Then slowly start to increase intensity.

4.Don't Use a Hammer to Crack a Walnut

I used to think that I had to get people onto the most advanced exercise to get the best result. Now, 15 years later and training elite athletes I seldom use anything more advanced than a single leg exercise. My four basic exercises are Front Squat, Deadlift, Shoulder Press and Row plus core work. I hardly ever use unstable surfaces or any other of the popular toys available because I can get results with less fuss, and faster, without them.

Because I look for the simplest way to achieve my client's results new clients often mistake my programs for ineffective. Simple does not mean ineffective. Simple actually takes a lot more effort and a lot more confidence in your abilities. To write a program for someone and resist the urge to throw everything including the kitchen sink at them is quite difficult. To get results from it shows true skill and understanding of your craft.

5.Don't be Scared to Ask for Money

Many Personal Trainers feel as if they've somehow played a big prank on the world and are getting paid for something they shouldn't be. And because of that they are scared to ask for the money. Every single business in the world provides a service and asks for payment in return. So why do so many Personal trainers balk when they need to close the deal or get paid for a session?

I am very lucky in this regard. My father worked fairly high up for a large international company making deals everyday worth millions of dollars. For as long as I can remember he has told me "There is nothing sordid about money". In fact, he goes so far as to say the more up front you are about it the better it is. Simply saying "I'm glad you keen to start, now let's talk about the money" will break the ice. If you don't act scared or try to hide the subject the client will feel your confidence both in yourself and your services. And that is after all what they're paying for.

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