If you were to go to a trainer and ask them what their experience was like as a new trainer, many will probably have remotely different experiences. However, there are a couple of things trainers quickly learn on the job that remains the same for most trainers. For you new or prospective trainers, here are 10 tips for new personal trainers.
1. Use a Client Management Software
Client management software can save you big time in the time management department. Primarily because it consolidates all of the tools you need into a single platform. Rather than bouncing in and out of Google Docs, Gmail, Excel, Word, or any other software, you can accomplish everything in the same place.
With features like…
- Workout builders
- Workout planning
- Automated Client progress tracking
- Automated reminders
- Secure payments
- Nutrition planning and tracking
…it’s bound to save you time and help you grow your business. Eventually, this type of technology will become the standard so why not get ahead of the curve?
2. Try Training All Different Types of People
There are many reasons this is a good idea. For one, this is a great way for you to learn about all sorts of ailments people face. You’ll get a good experience all around.
The second reason is this, you’ll get insight into what problems you are best at solving and which ones you aren’t the best at solving. This way, in the future you have a better idea as far as which niche you want to specialize in when building your business.
3. Be Easy to Get in Touch With
According to IBISWorld, there are three major factors for success that trainers should follow based on surveying clients of personal training. One of those is “easy to access”.
What they mean is, clients, don’t like to feel in the dark about their training. They might have questions outside of training sessions or schedule changes. As such, they’d like to be able to easily get in touch with their trainer.
On the flip side, prospective clients would like prompt responses to their questions while they are considering buying sessions. From their standpoint, how you handle prospective clients is a reflection of how you run your actual business.
4. Keep Your Initial Expectations Realistic
According to the same report referenced in the section above, personal training has an unreal churn rate for new trainers. 90% of all trainers will quit in their first year and move on to another career.
This can be attributed to a lot of factors. But one glaring factor is most people have unreal expectations.
Many new trainers expect to come in right after their certification and have clients pouring in. While this may be true for some trainers, it’s rare and oftentimes takes a lot of hard work.
The Reality of Becoming a Personal Trainer
Here’s the reality of it:
- Personal training is considered a luxury service.
- It is often times expensive and a major commitment for people.
- Getting clients is not just about being knowledgeable about training, fitness, and health.
- You are running and building your own business.
Most new trainers don’t actually consider what goes into being a successful trainer. Successful personal trainers are usually great at what they do as a trainer, are great at sales, and are great at translating what people want into results.
As a new trainer, your first month will be cold calling, talking to people on the gym floor, performing assessments, learning the systems your gym uses, and admin work for the most part. Training will more likely be at a minimum and oftentimes, so will your income.
If you hit it hard and do a good job of getting clients, your second month will start to get busy. However, it may not be until mid to late in the second month and into the third in some cases that you start seeing things really start to pick up.
Try to save up some money before getting started as a personal trainer. This can really make a difference in your performance. Don’t believe me? Well here’s what you have to choose from:
You save up money before becoming a personal trainer.
When you get the job you aren’t stressed about finances for the first month, at least. Since you aren’t stressed, you are able to focus more of your attention on what works for getting clients.
You spend time shadowing trainers who are successful and you might even travel to other gym locations in your town/city to do more shadowing. You’ve got the gas money, so what’s it got to hurt? You are learning quickly and are starting to build more confidence in conversing with people about training.
You don’t save up money.
You’re stressed immediately. You know you need money. Your focus is on getting sales immediately. But you’re now violating a major principle of being a personal trainer.
Don’t sell packages. Sell Results.
This is a proven tactic in the industry. You need to learn how to take what people are saying and translate that into a results-driven training plan. That’s what you sell them on. Not the idea of personal training, but the idea of results and that personal training will get them there.
This is what often takes the most time to learn. Being stressed about finances oftentimes shifts your focus into other areas that are not beneficial for getting started as a trainer.
What this tip for new personal trainers isn’t saying…
We aren’t saying you shouldn’t be ambitious. Set some aggressive goals and go after them. This tip shouldn’t interrupt the goals that you are thinking about setting for yourself. It’s more so a “word to the wise”.
5. Prepare to be a Facilitator of Change
This is one of our favorite tips for new personal trainers. Mainly because it speaks to how much of an impact you can make as a personal trainer.
Many people come to a personal trainer after they have tried to train themselves and failed. They could never figure out how to hit their fitness goals. More times than not, this is because they need to change other aspects of their lifestyle that are preventing them from achieving their goals.
It’s not unlikely that personal trainers are involved in change outside of the gym. Often times involves major behavioral change. Familiarizing yourself with the psychology of behavioral change can help you put it into practice when pitching the results you can give someone.
Even when you have a difficult client that doesn’t seem to be motivated. While the personal trainer-client relationship goes two ways, often times a lot of the weight is placed on the trainer. When you’ve got a client that’s not motivated, then knowing a thing or two about behavioral change can help you help them
6. Reserve Any Judgement
A lot of trainers get close to their clients. As a result, their clients open up to them about their lives. Sometimes, clients may open up about something you don’t agree with.
It’s important to handle this as delicately as possible as you don’t know everything about their life. Plus, judging a client is a bad business practice. As hard as it is sometimes, remains as neutral as possible when it comes to clients opening up about intimate details of their life.
If things get to the point where you become uncomfortable about what they are sharing, you can always try to transfer the client to another trainer.
7. The Best New Business Comes From Old Business
Not sure what I mean? Let me rephrase it:
Referrals, Referrals, Referrals!!
There are many ways to market yourself as a trainer whether it be social media marketing, google ads, or blogging, there are tons of methods you can use. However, time and time again, referrals have demonstrated themselves as one of the most effective.
Prospective clients are much more likely to start training with you if they were referred to you by a friend or family member. This is because they trust what their friends and family are saying.
This is why it’s important to make sure you really get to know your clients and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.
Offering a small reward can provide plenty of incentive for people to refer others to you. It doesn’t have to be big but something like a Starbucks gift card can go a long way!
8. Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things
There’s so much opportunity out there for personal trainers. The global personal training industry is huge and is only going to continue growing.
Despite the high churn rate mentioned earlier in this article, the industry still continues to grow. This is because the trainers that do stick around are successful and happy with their work. The second thing is, the demand for personal trainers is still going up.
Fitness trends are going to continue to grow, new trends will emerge, and people are going to want in on them. Because of the growth of the fitness industry in general, it makes it a little easier for trainers to start up their own businesses once they’ve gained a little experience.
The personal training industry is an interesting one. You see, it’s an incredibly competitive industry and it’s huge. However, for those on a mission with goals set in mind, it can be very rewarding. There are still loads of opportunities to take advantage of.
9. Learn, Learn, and Learn More!
Those personal trainers who have been in the industry for 20 years and have their own businesses are those that don’t stop learning.
Whether it be taking on new specializations or gaining experience while working hands-on, they don’t hesitate to take the opportunity to learn.
Sometimes it doesn’t even mean learning something directly related to personal training. It could be learning something that’s an accessory skill. An accessory skill is something that can help you better run your business.
Accessory skills can consist of learning:
- How to write captivating blogs.
- Diving into digital marketing (Google Ads, Facebook/Instagram Ads, etc…).
- Design skills to build a website for yourself.
This list isn’t all-inclusive, it’s just there to give you an idea. Successful personal trainers are often lifetime learners.
10. Practice What Your Preach
If there’s one thing you will discover quickly, it’s that personal training can get busy and quick. There may be a slow start to it. But one day it will dawn on you.
“Holy crap, I’ve worked a lot recently. When did I go to the gym for a personal workout last? When did my gas tank run out so quickly?”
It’s important to factor in personal time. Many trainers will work full-time on weekdays and weekends. However, I recommend you take at least one personal day a week. Scratch in some time for yourself among the chaos.
Burnout is very real, even more so in the personal training industry.