Last week some of the top dogs in the personal training industry divulged their biggest regrets. If you missed Top Personal Trainer Mistakes I suggest you check that out ask well. This week we wanted to share some personal trainer success with you.
Personal Trainer Success.. How often is that term thrown around? A simple search on the internet will yield endless get rich quick schemes for trainers. This post isn’t as sexy but it’s much more real. If you want to get rich REALLY WANT TO KNOW what it takes to be a successful personal trainer read below as some of the best reveal the top 3 traits they employ to ensure their continued success.
1. Realizing That I’m Not the Bees Knees: Not so much now, but most definitely back in the day, I thought I was the bees knees. I mean, I read books on training, and even watched a dvd here and there – so it only made sense (at least in my eyes) that I knew everything there was to know about anything – ESPECIALLY when it came to training people. When I first entered the industry and started training people one-on-one, I’d try my best to wow them with fancy words (synergistic dominance anyone?) and go out of my way to show how much they needed my help, nit-picking every minute detail of their assessment (Look at that! Your left big toe only dorsiflexes 12 degrees. OMG – we need to fix that).
The fact of the matter is, they don’t care. Sure, it may sound cool (to you), but all your clients want to hear is whether or not you can get them from point A to point B. Whether it’s helping them lose 20 lbs of fat, improving their deadlift, or helping them understand that performing endless repetitions of sit-ups probably isn’t doing their chronic back pain any favors – no cares how much you know, until the know how much you care.
2. Not Establishing Networks Sooner: at Cressey Performance, we have a fairly extensive list of physical therapists, manual therapists, physicians, chiros, coaches, and other strength coaches and personal trainers whom we can refer out to if need be. Because of this, we’re able to better serve our athletes and clients; not to mention this lends itself to a fair number of referrals sent our way as well. I look back at all the wasted years I spent not building a network sooner, and can’t help but want to build my own time machine so that I can go back and scissor kick myself in the grill.
3. Reading for the Sake of Reading: I’m not just talking about Zatsiorsky, Siff, and McGill here – names (most) fitness professionals are very familiar with. Of course, it’s important to read material that’s pertinent to your field of choice and that’s written by people who are a heckuva lot smarter than you.
But, I also feel it’s important to read things OUTSIDE of your expertise as well.
I was never a big reader growing up, and it wasn’t until an ex-girlfriend of mine broke up with me (bitch), that I became a bookworm and finally started to enjoy it. But, if I’m going to be honest, I really just needed something to keep me occupied and prevent me from thinking about all the other guys she was sleeping with (in my head). To that end, not long after the break-up, I came across the Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century, and decided I’d make it my mission to put a dent in it. I started with Catcher in the Rye and never looked back.
Since then, I’ve gone through phases. I had my “classical phase,” reading the likes of Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Faulkner. I had my Kurt Vonnegut stage, which was awesome. I also had a Robert Ludlum phase, where I became obsessed with Jason Bourne, and subsequently, a man crush on Matt Damon followed. Currently, I’m in a “behavioral economics phase,” reading anything I can on the topic from authors like Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, Outliers) to Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational). It’s a fascinating topic, and something I feel has a lot of applicability to our industry.
Coach Sam Leahey
1. Harass big timers
2.Get better at what you do every single day.
Never take a “break.” If you do take a “break” make sure you let everything go and actually break! Be in the moment. Don’t still be thinking/doing other things.
3. Create objective takeaways from every learning experience you’ve had
Good and bad. ALWAYS admit when you made a mistake and make SURE to remedy the situation.
3.5. Understand if you’re not making mistakes then you’re not trying hard enough! (editors note: Following a simple instruction of providing a top 3 list is apparently NOT a pre-requisite to success)
1. Move across the street from the library
In one year I was able to personal train 480hrs less while doubling my income using the Block System. How? By reading constantly. I started as a new trainer in a small club and quickly found myself in a senior position with management asking my opinion on important club matters. I made myself a rule to do a MINIMUM of 1hr/day of personal development material. If didn’t matter whether it was training or business related (I usually had one of each on the go). (note: I still follow this rule)
2. You never know
I’ll be honest… I don’t sell every client. Not even close! What I do do though is treat every single person who walks in through the door with respect and professionalism. Some of my best clients are direct referrals from potential clients who I didn’t sell or didn’t retain because situations were out of my control. For example, one of my best clients (3+ years) and a great mentor was a direct referral of somebody who trained with me twice!
My previous client couldn’t continue as he was going through a divorce but, because I went the extra 10% he referred me his friend who I’m still training 3 years later.
3. Relationships are everything
Plain and simple… having positive relationships makes you indispensable. This goes for clients and colleagues. The old adage “It’s who you know, not what you know” is more true now than ever. People are so overwhelmed with claims of great results and glossy marketing that the common client doesn’t listen anymore. Often the only way to get people through the door is by getting your ‘client army’ to spread your good name. Foster positive relationships with everybody you interact with wherever you go and you’ll never go hungry.
Coach Nick Tumminello
1. I learn from everyone I can, especially those who do things differently than I do.
You don’t learn when all you do is gravitate toward the people that reinforce what you’re already doing.
2. I take a hybrid approach to training.
This approach allows me to create a non-biased, multidimensional training program that utilizes the best aspects from multiple forms of training from bodybuilding to yoga, and from martial arts to sports performance.
Hybrid training gives me more opportunity to make each and every workout more well-rounded, more fun and more effective for my clients.
3. I’m customer service driven!
I empower my clients with the opportunity to help me develop workout programs that they’ll actually enjoy doing and look forward to integrating into their daily life.
Many trainers confuse what we do as fitness professionals with what strength coaches and physical therapists do.
Strength coaches and rehab pros are NOT customer service driven because they don’t have to be. Instead, they are protocol driven. They are like car mechanics.
I realized that I’m not a car mechanic, I’m more like the custom car shop. The customer comes in, tells us exactly what they want. And, that’s exactly what we deliver in the best way we know how.
I still educate My clients on how to also get what I feel they need. But, they always know that my #1 goal is to give THEM what they came to me for!
At Performance U, we are not just about delivering results. It’s actually listening to our clients and delivering the results THEY asked for. If we don’t give our clients what they’re paying us their hard earned money to do. Then, we don’t feel we are doing our job, even if we had success giving them what we thought they needed.
In short, I never forget who’s session it is – It’s THEIRS, not mine!
1. I put my emphasis on teaching
I was once a personal trainer who wanted to “wow” you with each workout. That can lead to short term success. Now I try to answer a little of the “why” each time I see a client. Teaching has led to long term success.
2. Not being too professional
You can’t put on the straight face and be all business all the time. Clients want to see the real you, relate to you, and have fun around you. You need to be a professional, but loosen up and be yourself when appropriate.
3. I became more concerned with what my clients did outside of the gym.
I developed systems to help monitor nutrition, sleep, and mood/ attitude. There are 168 hours in a week, you get to control maybe four tops. Don’t under estimate your ability to influence the decisions made throughout the week.
Coach Neghar Fonooni
1. Shadowing a more experienced trainer
Find someone whose work you respect and see if they will let you shadow, intern or be mentored. Offer any help you can to them in exchange for their expertise. Clean toilets and mop floors if you have to-any exposure to someone successful in your area of interest will be beneficial. Visit other facilities and professionals and soak up anything they are willing to teach you.
2. Have the confidence to say you don’t know something
No one expects you to know everything, and when you start to think you do, you are in trouble. Saying “I’m not sure, I’ll look into that” does not make you appear as a novice, as some trainers fear; rather a professional who is in constant search of new information.
3. Never give up
When I took this on as a full time career, I was a single mother with virtually no income to speak of. The first 6 months were so daunting that I almost gave up and went back to government work. Instead, I set goals that were realistically attainable and built a business from the ground up. Because I didn’t give up when things got rough, I am now pretty successful and have to actually turn away clients because my schedule can’t accommodate them. If you’re passionate and you stay the course, you will find success.
Coach Dean Somerset
1. I stopped believing that I couldn’t
I watched in amazement what some of the big names in the fitness industry were doing, and sat there thinking “Wow, I wish I could do that.” But then I came to the realisation that they were at one time in my exact same shoes, and somehow found a way to do something unique to overcome. I decided that if it was done, then it was possible, and the only limitation to my own success was my willingness to change my outlook and make an effort.
2. I stopped thinking I was unique, and started to become unique like everyone else
I quickly learned that when I picked up any new book on business and decided that the information wasn’t relating specifically to me, that I could still get information out of it to help me improve my business. A car salesman still has some of the same objections to overcome as a trainer, and a start-up restaurant has the same pressures on them as a new trainer, so picking information and making it apply to my situation was better than looking for information that applied to my situation.
3. I started questioning everything I was doing
If I was used to using squats to make someone stronger, was there another way to make them stronger, or a better way of doing the same exercise? What about my business practices? Could I stream-line my scheduling without interrupting my level of service delivery to my clients? Most importantly, could I get my clients better results by changing something I was doing?
1. I Hired A Coach
We all preach the important of having a trainer, yet it is very hard on the ego to accept you need help. The best decision I ever made was getting a coach. I now prioritize coaching for both business & fitness. I consider a good coach an investment and not an expense.
2. I Stopped Trying To Re-Invent The Wheel
Everything has been done before, nothing is really new. Find what has worked in the past and model it, one better is find THE RIGHT PEOPLE and model them. Don’t think what you are doing will work, and start to find people that have done it before and apply. Time is the most valuable asset you have, don’t re-invent the wheel.
3. I Started To LISTEN
I stopped thinking that because I am the boss that my opinion is the only one that matters. I always ask for advice, I always keep an open mind, and I try to LISTEN more than I speak. Someone who is successful is someone who listens, applies, and takes MASSIVE ACTION.
1. Learning to delegate
This was the hardest thing for me to do when I went from a “one man show” to Cressey Performance, where I have business partners and staff members. Getting better with delegation has enabled me to really leverage my strengths, though.
2. Getting up early
Not to toot my own horn, but I get more work done between 5:30AM (when I wake up) and 10:30AM (when we usually train) that most fitness professionals I know get done in an entire day – and that’s before I even go in to start training athletes! If I’m logging 13-14 hour days every day, I should be ahead of the game with respect to my industry; otherwise, I’m working terribly inefficiently!
This is a good follow-up to #2, as you can’t work long days like that indefinitely unless you are insanely passionate about what you do. Going to Cressey Performance is a blast for me in a variety of contexts. I get to hang out with cool clients and co-workers, and I get to enjoy the challenge of growing a business. I’m in a position to help folks all the time, and I’m also able to positively effect changes in the way that our young athletes carry themselves during a crucial developmental time in their lives. That’s incredibly motivating and fulfilling.
Coach Adam Bogar
1. Take Time To Learn
One of the biggest assets that have put me where I am is taking the time to intern and lean at the beginning of my career. During college, I set out for an intern spot that made no money, early hours, and put me at the bottom of totem pole.
This was a valuable position, and look back everyday to being thankful for even being offered the position. Instead of looking at it being a low-wage, long hour job, I can say it was an education learning for coach’s that are in positions I wanted to be!
2. Your Client Is #1
Mr. Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds had it right from the beginning: Take care of your customer, and the business will take care of itself. In our field, the client is our customer and we are offering a service to our clients. Whether it is weight loss, sports performance, or rehabilitation, your goal is your clients goal, and your duty to get them results in a safe and effective manner.
From day #1, when we started Dynamic Training & Rehabilitation, we focused on our clients needs. At the begining we had a poor website, crummy logo, and home made business cards. Yet, our business was thriving. We spent are time working and creating a name that revolved around results.
3. Setting Goals, Taking Action, and Moving Forward!
When it comes to our clients we are always preaching about goal setting and taking action to achieve a desired result in the fitness studio. Yet, when it comes to ourselves and our career, many trainers and coach’s don’t have their own goals or action plan.
A turning point in my career came from a business owner in a separate industry than fitness. He made me sit down and mapp out what I wanted to achieve and what I was going to do to achieve a certain goal. It came down to daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Everything mapped out. From money, courses, and owning a facility, I had everything planned out where I wanted to go, and how i was going to get there!
Everyday before I step foot out of my house, I review what I need to get down for that day and week to achieve my goals for the month and year.
For every trainer and coach, I strongly recommenced to know where you want to go, and how you are going to get their, and take action daily!