To a prospect, how you look as a trainer reflects your business. Think you're too busy to workout? Try these options in-between client sessions.
Jonathan Goodman once said,
“People buy trainers, not training.”
That you’ll be hired based off your reputation, your perception of expertise, and — this comes with the territory — how you look.
But these days you feel lucky to squeeze in a workout once per week.
Your erratic client schedule and all those painfully long hours on your feet leave you so drained that the last thing you want is to spend yet another hour at the gym to work out. In the back of your mind, you wonder if you should be doing something to work out more, but you just don’t have time, you think.
Few industries are purely in the business of “looks.” If you’re a runway model and want gigs, you’d better look like a runway model. Personal training is in the same realm: if you don’t look in shape or have trouble following your own advice, how would that LOOK to prospects?
It’s not shallow. It’s just business.
The reality is, how your clients and you look to a prospect are your business.
You don’t have to spend forever in the gym to stay in shape. You just need to do something that’s easy and fits in your schedule when you’re swamped. In this article I’m going to share with you a few key strategies and workouts for giving your clients the confidence that you walk the walk as much you talk the talk.
These workouts will take less than 30 minutes of your time, and they’re focused on being easy enough to do that you can bust them out in-between client sessions. We created this handy infographic that you can easily bring with you to work so you never have to get derailed again. Check it out:
5 Tips to Make Working Out Easier
Here are five things to think about to help you groove a workout into your day.
1. You’re Not an Olympian
Don’t try to perform a professional athlete-style workout at 10 p.m. on a Monday night when you’ve been up since 6 a.m. Unlike Olympians, you’re not just training, eating, and sleeping. You’ve got a lot of other obligations (like your clients!) to take care of.
Plan your longest and most brutal workout sessions on days when you have the least amount of work and fewest number of clients. That way, you not only have the physical energy but also the mental energy. If you absolutely have to train after such a long day, make it something you don’t need to think too much about, like an arms workout.
2. Have an “I’m Training” Face and a “Can I Help You?” Face
When you’re doing your own workout in the gym you work at, people might come up to you and ask questions. Be too accommodating and there’s no way you can train properly. If you ignore them, it’s not great for business. This is the tradeoff of being sociable versus truly being focused to train.
While you’re training, adopt a “game face” to let clients know that workout time is important. You can even make a custom shirt that says something like, “I’m training now. Can I help you later?” to make things extra clear.
When you’re done training for yourself, switch to your “Can I help you face?” That should be when you are inviting, chirpy, and helpful.
If you get this right, you can be admired for being that trainer who looks like he trains hard, but also compassionate and helpful for giving up his time to interact.
The other day a trainer friend told me that even though he owned his own studio, he found that to get the best performance on his leg days, he had to go to a gym just five minutes down the road to avoid getting distracted. Of course, only if your budget and timescale allow it, two gyms may be ideal. You can perform your lighter, less mentally-taxing sessions in the gym you work at, and save the heavy and intense stuff for another gym where nobody knows you’re a trainer.
3. Never Train With Your Clients
Just don’t, my friend.
Doing so can blur the professional relationship, and it devalues their sessions with you. If a client is paying you for your time, your focus should be entirely on them. You need to be correcting form, counting reps, and offering encouragement, not worrying about your own technique, or figuring out whether you matched last week’s reps.
When your client is training, focus on them. When you’re training, focus on you. But don’t try to do both at the same time.
4. Gotta Be Flexible
I’m not talking about flexibility in your body, although that’s important too. I mean being flexible with your schedule.
One of the best ways to keep yourself accountable to a workout is to schedule the workout in your calendar like you would a client session. Of course, we all know that your schedule will never run 100% smoothly. Be prepared for the unexpected.
Sometimes you may have to rearrange your training times, but don’t stress if this happens. That might mean switching your Smolov squat and bench press workout to a 20-minute leg blast if Dave or Sarah asks to come in an hour earlier so that they can get the kids to school, or beat the rush hour traffic. It doesn’t mean that you turn down any requests that would potentially interfere even just a little with your own training routine.
Like everything, it’s a case of finding a balance. Your gains won’t suffer and your relationship with those clients will only get that much better.
While looking after yourself and keeping your own schedule are critical, look at it as being there for your clients because that’s important, too.
5. Quit Hitting the Pause Button on Your Life
If you’re telling yourself, “I’ll get back into shape when I have time”, you have what John Berardi of Precision Nutrition calls the “pause button mentality.”
It’s the idea that you can “pause” your plans — be it a workout program or diet — and have a fresh start another day. It’s like New Year dieters who tell themselves, “I’ll have this donut and begin my diet again on Monday.” There’s a sense of relief with knowing you can “start over.”
As Berardi points out,
“The pause button mentality only builds the skill of pausing.”
But life has no pause button. Time will still pass. Bills will still pile up. Clients still need to be trained. And you — your fitness may still be lacking because you’ve fallen under the illusion of a “better time” some time in the distant, fantasy-filled future.
This snippet from Berardi’s post should wake you up:
That’s why, when our clients ask to press pause, we usually ask them:
“What will be different when you come back?”
Nine times out of 10, the honest answer is nothing. Nothing will be different.
Life is just…happening. And it’ll happen again in January, or after the baby is born, or after Mom gets better, or at any other arbitrary point you pick.
So stop hitting pause and keep the play button on.
In reality, you should be the last person to be making excuses about finding the time or wherewithal to work out. You can do it.
It doesn’t have to be the best or most perfect workout of your life, but you need to do it for your clients, for your own fitness, and for the future of your business.
Make it happen.
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