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What Not To Do As A Personal Trainer

Posted Roy on April 2, 2017


Being a personal trainer you have to tow the line between professional and social.

You are engaging with clients all day long. You have to make sure you give them enough quality for their money while making sure they enjoy your company.

If you don’t strike the balance between the two you can kiss the customer goodbye.

Believe it or not there is such a thing as correct etiquette. As a social professional engaging with clients on a p2p basis, you should already be practicing this. If you don’t already, you should take note.

Here are some classic mistakes lots of PTs make:


Don’t do the same workout with every workout

Each client is different from the next. Make sure you treat them as individuals because they differ in personality, physicality and preferences.

As a personal trainer you have to adapt your routine to your clients. Imagine asking someone’s dear grandma to lift a 40kg plate with her neck. It’s nonsensical and unprofessional.

If you were to provide the same session to a teenage boy, a middle aged women and our dear grandma, you are being plain lazy.

You should enjoy the challenge of developing workouts for different clients.


Let your client direct the conversation

It is good to talk to your client during sessions because this builds rapport and the best way to maintain clients other than giving them physical results is rapport.

I talk with my clients all the time and would even go as far as saying that I have made some friends.

However, when getting to know anyone new you have to test the waters first. This is especially true within our line of business. I act on the basis that during conversation the clients can direct the conversation.

You don’t want to ask any leading questions that will drop you in deep water. Be conversational but let your client speak more than you. Dial back the biography or acceptance speech, the client doesn’t pay for your talking ability.

The clients pay for your fitness expertise. If you think the conversation is going south bring it back to fitness. This gives your relationship with your client what we like to call, ‘professional credibility’.


Everybody in the gym is a possible customer

You might not know it but your current client is not the only one who is watching you. No, many people will be watching you at different times.

Some intently as they pace on the treadmill and others as they cool down from a set on the kettle bells.

The gym is voyeurism at its finest. People watch other people for tips on form, posture and exercise. Some people just like to people watch just like an old geezer at a bar.

You may not be aware of it but people will watch you more often that not. Be aware of this when you are taking a session. Engage with your client and the exercises. Don’t slack as your client isn’t looking or keep checking your phone. Don’t stare obliviously into space.

The people who could be watching you could also be future clients. Market yourself at all times.


Practice what you preach

There will be some clients whom you ask very little of. There will be some clients whom you will ask a lot more of. This is the contrasting nature of your profession.

However, the unwritten golden rule of being a personal trainer………is……….

Don’t ask your clients to do something that you couldn’t do yourself.

For instance, imagine if your clients wanted a demonstration and you couldn’t actually do the exercise. That’s enough to make your hair turn white.

That is also a sure fire way of losing clients.

You most probably encounter this problem if you follow the unwritten rule. It also relays the importance of your own fitness. If a client wanted to do weight training and he/she had to choose between you and the local beefcake, who would he choose?

Point proven. First looks do count and a client will build himself off your image. Market yourself aesthetically. This is superficial, I know, but we are in a superficial business were our clients want to look better. We want to promise then provide that.


The gym is a small place

Wow word travels fast.

Especially now we have the means to instantly communicate. Entire relationships have come to die on social media and it is nobody's fault but their own. People can even talk anonymously without anybody even knowing.

You and your client are in a relationship, a professional one at that.

You should be strictly professional and not talk about other clients with other clients. In some cases it may be inevitable. For example, you might have been introduced to a client through a mutual acquaintance.

The gym is a communal place that is filled with lots of personalities. Some compliment each other while others don’t. That is the way it is. As a professional you don’t want to get caught up in the middle of this.

You may not regard one client as highly as another client and this is natural. However, you should not go around complaining to other members of staff or other clients for that matter.

You are in the customer service business and like it or not the customer is always right.


Take charge of your session

I ended my last point with a bold statement. I said that, “the customer is always right”. In the context of my previous point I was correct in saying that.

However, in terms of your session, you are the boss!

Your client came to you so they could improve fitness. You are the qualified personal trainer and your client expects you to point them in the right direction towards the land of perfect health and fitness.

Sometimes you might not know the way but you can make an educated guess. I have had clients who have argued with me in regards to a session’s content. I have had to respectfully explain to them why we are doing what we are doing and how it will benefit them.

If I have not been replied to respectfully I have shown them the door to my services. As long as you handle the situation in a professional manner, you will be okay.

In other words don’t be a doormat for your clients running shoes. You have to set the standard otherwise you will be miserable and become worse at your job and gain a bad reputation.

When you're in a session, you are the master and the client is the apprentice.


Follow your gym's policies

If you are renting space at a gym you should respect their policies. So much so, that you follow them strictly. This will make your life a whole lot easier.

If you have your own gym, go ahead and develop your own policies. This is perfectly fine.

However, I reiterate, if you are under the roof of another gym, on contract or independent, you should follow their policies.

There will be a whole host of guidelines that you will either be made aware of during your induction or made aware of afterwards. Take note of them and make them your second nature.

One of the most important policies that gyms uphold is the cancellation policy. This holds true for personal trainers. If a client cancels on you last minute, you will be losing both time and money.

Make sure that you uphold a cancellation policy that gives you ample time to either replace your client with another or use your time wisely.

These are just some points you should consider when making your way as a personal trainer.

Being a personal trainer can be tough. You have to be adaptable, physical and sociable. Like a bicep curling chameleon, who can talk. Have you ever seen one? No, me neither. 

You are the rarest of the rare my fellow PT. Make sure you adopt these skills so you can ensure a steady flow of clients and income.


Be Organised

So many personal trainers I meet are still using a paper diary to manage their time and they only take payments in cash. People expect the ability to book online, pay by card and they judge you on how professional the whole process feels.

Using an all-in-one personal training tool such as PTminder allows you to manage your clients, classes and sessions, sell sessions and memberships online, take and manage payments, create and assign workout/nutritional plans and much more for less than one client pays you for an hour's session.


This guest post was written by Chris Simon from ORIGYM Personal Trainer Courses


Topics: Personal Trainer, Business Tips

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