The following is a guest post by Lee Boyce. Every personal trainer wants to train the best and gain recognition, but can you really make a career out of this? Lee demonstrates how the right client choice can not only sustain your career but also give you the opportunity to keep training the people you want.
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Many among us have a “fight” for that number 1 spot … and it’s only natural to want that.
You did it. You’re at the top of the food chain – the head honcho. Ahh, the accomplishment and feelings of importance.
In my case, the reasoning came down to nothing other than prominence and vanity. I wanted to be the fastest kid in the school. To have the best quality skateboard. To have the highest score in the new video game.
Deep down, a mentality like this could stem from insecurities – and I don’t doubt it. But in the training world, there’s an area where the pursuit for prominence could affect all of us.
Numbers of trainers develop a measure of quick success from having high profile clients. We dream of working with Sidney Crosby or Adrian Peterson, or that kid who’s destined to be a star. Others dream of being a “celebrity trainer” - sure would be cool to prep Christian Bale for his role in The Dark Knight, or Angelina Jolie for Tomb Raider!
While there’s nothing wrong with either of those goals, I can bet your bottom dollar that if you’re reading this, you’ve aspired to do something like the above. The problem is, it seems like the whole idea has overshadowed the reality of it.
Really, what benefit do you receive from training a sports star or celebrity?
There’s the recognition, referrals to other athletes or celebs, prestige, money, and a bunch of free tickets to boot. Who wouldn’t want that?
But if you’re really trying to make a career out of this stuff, then we have to face the reality:
Trainers are everywhere.
Turn the corner on any given downtown street, and there’s a “personal trainer” clad in his or her track suit, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for action.
You’re not alone. But a mental check-up can put you one step ahead of the game.
The Truth about Training Athletes
Not all of us are lucky enough to have a professional athlete under our belt. But aside from that good feeling, what else are we missing where these things are concerned?
1. Most athletes don’t have a lot of money lying around unless they’re fully professional. Even so, most professional athletes have already established who they’d train with from the get–go.
2. Athletes typically work differently during on-season and an off-seasons. This may mean different types of training and coaching during these periods.
Making a reality check would do you good. Ask yourself: If I really want to train sports athletes, what’s the best way to get there?
Knowing that most amateur athletes have limited funds, it’s going to be on you to take one under your wing. This may mean conducting training sessions at a much lower cost than you’re used to; it may even mean pro bono sessions. But it’s a sacrifice you need to be prepared to make in your quest to train many more athletes like him.
Word to the wise: Be picky.
Make sure whoever you decide to give your free time shows promise and dedication to play at a high level.
The Truth About Training Movie Stars and Celebrities
There is none. Be in the right place, at the right time, while the right guy endorses your abilities. That’s usually how it goes.
What I’m really saying
It may be a good idea to consider a cost/benefit analysis when it comes to this issue. Fun clients are, well, fun, but what do you really want out of a personal training career? Do you want personal training to be your career?
For me, the answer is yes. Because of that, it highly influences my “choices” as to which clients I make most efforts to cater to. Face it, Training athletes and well-known people are both pretty awesome. So is training the young, 20-something eager beaver who’s just after strength and hypertrophy.
But we’ve gotta pay the bills. A whole lot comes out of being able to differentiate the importance of trying to target clients who want training assistance, versus targeting clients who need training assistance.
A young guy wants to get big to impress the ladies, and fit in with his buddies (but mostly to impress the ladies). A sports athlete wants to improve his performance in order to get to the next level. A little more of a pressing issue, but let’s face it – he’d still be around if that sport didn’t exist.
Now what about a 48 year old lawyer with 20 extra pounds, tightness in every one of his load-bearing joints, poor posture, and chronic low back pain? Well, I’d humbly say that a guy like this needs training. It’s not an option. Good training will drastically improve the quality of his day-to-day life.
The good news is people like that make up 80 percent of the population – at least where I’m from.
To make a legit living in the fitness industry, go after the people who will benefit the MOST from the your services you offer. It’s not to say the other kinds of people won’t still come your way. Treat that like a “dessert” of sorts.
Athletes, young bucks, and the odd singer are fun to have as clients, but for most of us, it’s going to be an uphill battle if you want to be a (consistent) 6-figure trainer looking mainly for this group.
The typical clientele who “need” training, will typically be a tad older. Age is starting to take its toll on their bodies, and proper training can help diminish the effects. Sure, it may not be as “fun” as the rest of ‘em, but take comfort in the fact that they’ll probably need your services for longer, and probably be at a place in their career where they’re more likely to afford a luxury like training for longer periods of time.
Fact is fact: if you’re in it for the long haul, then think smart.
But you never know, that turtleback, pocket-protecting lawyer client you train may turn out to be the attorney for Kanye West… who mentioned he wanted to get jacked just the other day.
Could be a win-win…
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Lee Boyce is a sought after strength coach based in Toronto, Canada. He’s a contributor to major magazines like Musclemag, Testosterone Nation, Men’s Fitness, and Men’s Health, and has been featured in various blogs and websites like wannabebig.com. Lee Boyce is the fitness expert for First Look morning show on National TV, and also works with clients for preventive care at a busy medical clinic in Toronto. You can view more of his articles and media on his website, www.leeboycetraining.com, and contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to follow him on twitter @coachleeboyce.