Personal training is a career filled with fantastic experiences and personal development. As with any career, you'll make some mistakes in the early stages but don't worry, mistake come and go – it’s important to learn and grow as a personal trainer.
We’ve pulled together our top tips on what to avoid in your first month as a personal trainer to help you on the road to success!
Forgetting the initial assessment
Meeting your client face-to-face before lifting any equipment is essential! Having a chance to understand your client’s motivations, goals and limitations means you’re setting off on the right foot – the plan you put together for their first month in training can then be tailored to their needs. Ask plenty of questions to really paint a picture of how your client eats, their level of fitness and any limitations…and don’t forget to take notes. You’ll thank yourself later!
Don't be an “Impersonal Trainer”
We’ve all got at least one of those friends who are stuck to their phones, regardless of whether you’ve gone out for dinner, or even to the cinema. It’s not ideal in a social situation, but it’s even worse when that person is being paid for a service, ie, your personal trainer.
Keep your phone in your pocket and give your client your undivided attention! You’ll build a better relationship, pick up on bad posture or poor technique, and generally be a better personal trainer.
Six of the biggest no-no’s from personal trainers that grind our gears include:
- Checking your phone during a client's appointment – you’ll look uninterested, so best to avoid that
- Making calls or replying to texts while with a client – the gym is a relaxed environment, but you’re there to work and your client’s there to train. Plus, it’s plain rude!
- Arriving late – sometimes it can’t be helped, and that’s OK. Making a habit of it? Better curb that one sharpish
- Eating or drinking – if you’re with a client your focus must be on them, regardless of how peckish you’re feeling. Swipe a quick snack before the session if hunger is likely!
- Chatting to Pete, Sarah or Rich – or whoever. A polite nod or hello is fine, but anything more should be avoided. The client is paying you for your time, expertise and attention, so try not to get caught up in conversation with other people
Working out – want to squeeze your workout in with your last client of the day? Absolutely not! You wouldn’t expect Barbara in accounts to be doing her family budgeting at 3pm, and the same applies to personal trainers! Keep focussed on your client and their progress – you can hit the gym after!
A huge part of personal training is having the confidence to put yourself out there and showcase your skills. Communication, body language and tone all play a huge part in expanding and keeping clients. One simple trick to follow is to introduce yourself to a new person every day. This can be at the gym, on the bus, at the coffee shop etc. If you can strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, you can definitely sell the one product you know best...YOURSELF!
One-size does not fit all
Everyone is different and it's your responsibility as a personal trainer to keep your client safe and help them on their journey to self-improvement. You’ve got to consider their goals, fitness levels, skill, past and current injuries, as well as their biochemical or physiological differences. A big mistake that new personal trainers make is to use one type of training for all their clients; this is unsafe and won't produce the best results! Take the time to write out a plan catered to each specific client – the hard work will pay off
Start with the basics
There are some fundamental movements like squats, lunges, hinging, pushing, pulling and carrying that your average-joe won't execute with proper form. These movements are integral to our day to day lives and improving performance down the line. If you fail to include these movements in your client's programs, you'll be setting them up for failure. Their performance will be hindered and it also makes them much more susceptible to injuries! Make sure they’ve mastered the basics before you accelerate to something more advanced.
It’s no secret: admin is hella boring. Sadly though, it’s a necessity for us all, including personal trainers. One way to keep on top? Carry a small notebook in your kit bag and onto the gym floor – make notes as you go on what went well and where improvements are needed. Doing it little and often will really pay off for your own record keeping, and will help focus on your client’s progression and track their journey to achieving their goals.
Flying through programmes
As a personal trainer you want to motivate your client to create good habits, and developing good habits tends to come from repetition and familiarity. If you're constantly changing your client’s program, there will always be a sense of instability. Not only that but it can be harder to track progress and performance if the parameters are always shifting. Take your time to understand what your client needs and create a single program they can stick to!
Now you’ve seen some hints and tips for your first month as a personal trainer, why not give it a go?
Learn more about becoming a personal trainer here