6 Expert Tips for Being a Personal Trainer

Personal trainer with woman on cycling machine at the gym

Being a personal trainer is a fun and rewarding career. It can be a lot of work, but when you see your clients obtaining the results they want and feeling healthier and happier, it will make you happy too. Check out these 6 great tips for more information!

Did you know there’s projected to be 330,000 personal training jobs in the United States by 2026?

This is likely influenced by the alarming obesity trend. Currently, 1 in 3 people in America is obese.

If you’ve been thinking about being a personal trainer (or are already a personal trainer trying to improve your business), read on. Here are six tips on how to become a fitness coach that gets success.

1. Define Your Specialty

Getting your personal trainer certification is just the first step.

You need to get a clear idea of your target market to connect with clients who will be a good fit for your services. No matter how enthusiastic you are or how desperate you are for clients, you will need to focus on the type of clients you can best help.

Maybe you won’t have any idea during the first few weeks. But as you work with clients you will start to get a sense of the types of clients you enjoy training.

When you are ready to market yourself, you’ll need a website. Check out My Personal Trainer Website.

Consider the needs of your community, what you are most passionate about, and your preferred training style. You may choose to take an additional course to specialize in a specific area of fitness.

With a specialty, you will have more to offer your target clients, and you can charge a little more for your services.

Here are some specialties that may interest you:

Athletics and Sports

You may choose to work with athletes to help them get in peak physical condition. You would help them improve their balance, speed, agility, and performance.

The good part about specializing in this type of training is that you’ll get clients who are serious about results. This means they may be more prepared to do what you say and give it their all.

Lifestyle and Weight Management

This may be the most common type of personal training in public gyms.

The target audience is people who are overweight or out of shape. Being a personal trainer for this demographic can be rewarding. You see their physical success and their confidence grow as they accomplish something they didn’t think they could.

The downside? You’ll have clients that won’t commit or won’t do what they need to do outside your sessions together to reach their goals.

Getting some clients to drink more than a cup or two of water each day can be an epic struggle.

Eating more protein and doing extra workouts during the week can be habits that take months for clients to form.

There are a lot of different types of clients in this category that you can focus on. These include older men, postpartum women, people that are obese, and so on.

Orthopedics/Medical

Being a personal trainer that focuses on orthopedics means you will work with clients who have knee pain, arthritis, or other physical conditions.

Medical personal training is for post-rehabilitation clients who are recovering from heart problems, muscle sprains, or surgery. You will focus on daily stretches and low-impact cardiovascular exercises. You might also include weight-bearing movements are designed to repair injured areas and increase strength.

Expect your clients to see slow, steady results. You likely won’t see amazing transformations overnight with these clients. However, it feels great to know that you helped a client move towards being pain-free.

Working with Special Ages

Working with kids or seniors is an option as well.

With older adults, you will help them improve quality of life and maintain muscle mass. Or you can choose to focus on children and build fitness programs that fit their age and goals.

If you enjoy spending time with either seniors or kids, combining your personal training passion with this age group can be a great move.

Whether you decide to take additional certification or just target a specific type of client, keeping up your knowledge is essential.

2. Always Keep Learning

One of the basic personal training requirements is continuing education. It is important to stay abreast of the latest trends and practices in health and fitness.

Being current allows you to offer your clients the latest types of exercises and nutrition advice.

Even outside of your mandatory CPR recertification and required refresher courses, you should strive to learn more about your field.

Read the latest articles and books and do research into the newest fad diets. That way when clients ask about it, you will have a well-researched answer to give. Make sure to stay current on fitness trends, too.

If you enjoy learning, personal training will give you plenty of opportunities.

3. Don’t Neglect Your Own Health and Fitness

Taking care of your own personal health, including mental wellness, is vital for success as a personal trainer.

Being a personal trainer requires you to demonstrate a healthy, vibrant fit lifestyle. Your clients want someone who is positive and upbeat to help them feel they can do it too.

The majority of people who decide to become personal trainers are either fitness enthusiasts or former sports players who want to make a career out of helping others get fit.

Most think that spending all day in a gym is a dream job. After all, you get to workout for free and you’re always in an environment you love spending time in.

However, the reality is that clients often take up a trainer’s usual workout time. Being a personal trainer means getting up as early as 4 AM, with sessions at 5 AM or 6 AM being very common.

Personal trainers accommodate clients–which means clients come first.

The afternoons are often filled with administrative work such as creating meal plans and workouts for clients. You might also do more training sessions or marketing and sales work on the computer.

At the end of it all, you could be working 15-hour days. When you are done for the night, you will be too tired and spent to want to run over to the free equipment and do your own killer workout.

The result is often that you start to sleep less, exercise less, and eat worse. Almost overnight, you’ve dropped the ball on your own healthy and balanced life.

Beware of this ironic struggle and don’t fall into this trap. Even though you might be seeking new clients, you don’t always have to be a yes man.

Set sustainable session schedules for the day and week. Carve out time for your own exercise–even if it means taking an hour to go for a run or play basketball outside.

The upside is you do have the equipment and a shower at work. And you’re in your workout clothes already. So make the time for you.

Make tough calls that are best for you. You might have to skip some social outings so that you can get enough sleep to be up at the crack of dawn. You might have to tell a client you don’t have any availability at that time that you have penciled in for yourself.

As you build a client base and your income becomes more predictable, it will be easier to stick to your boundaries. But even in the early days, don’t let yourself burn out by trying to do too much.

4. Be a Good Listener

Yes, you might have heard it before, and you might want to jump right in with solutions. Resist!

How to become a fitness coach that gets referrals and happy customers has to do with how well you listen. This is a life skill that you can develop by practicing.

Being a personal trainer is being part therapist and part life coach. When you are a good listener, clients will open up about their health, fitness, diet, and other things in their life. This valuable information can help you target the underlying issues (almost always emotional ones) that contribute to the problem.

Knowing exactly what their hangups are will help you motivate them and create a better training program that is tailor-made for them. Plus, the client will feel understood. That translates into them telling everyone they know about how great a trainer you are.

5. Be Organized

There’s a lot more to keep track of as a personal trainer than just reps and sets.

Find a system that works for you to organize client information. You will want to use fitness assessments and progress reports to give your clients the best possible experience.

Hopefully, you already have a calendar to keep track of training sessions. If you don’t, start that right now. You can use a binder, a filing cabinet or go paperless with an app or software you can access from a mobile device.

And if you’re not already using a calendar to keep track of your training sessions, it’s time to start.

6. Focus on the Client, Not the Money

Personal training is an industry that is based almost entirely on customer satisfaction.

One of the key personal trainer requirements is to switch your mental focus away from the money. Of course, you need and want to make a living. But when you are talking to prospective clients, signing up clients for more sessions, and counting your client’s reps, don’t be thinking about money.

Your clients will be able to sense when you truly care about their success. This translates into more referrals and a better reputation for you.

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, by focusing on the client first, the money will come.

Final Thoughts on Being a Personal Trainer

If you’ve been thinking about the idea of being a personal trainer, we hope this post has given you a clearer look at what you can expect and how to succeed.

Remember, the average salary for personal trainers is around $30,000 a year. Having said that, you can make a decent living for yourself.

You just have to put in the time and work needed towards making each client’s experience with you transformative and rewarding.

Want to learn more? Keep up to date on the science of weight loss at loseweight.io.