You just got your certification, and you’re ready to take on the world and become a professional fitness instructor (or so you think).
The reality check is, you’re nowhere close to being ready. You’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg.
Now, it’s time to enter the “other” school: real-life. Along this path, you’ll meet many obstacles.
Here are 6 crucial areas for new personal fitness coaches to focus on while journeying their way into the health and fitness industry.
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1. Create a Powerful Mindset
Why: How do you expect to be able to motivate your clients and the people you work with if you don’t possess the ability to motivate yourself?
You need to build a strong-willed mindset filled with an ample amount of drive, determination, and grit. You need that mindset, especially during tough times, to keep you motivated.
Think about those potential 6:00 AM or even 5:00 AM clients where your level of exhaustion will be tested. Consider those weekends where all you want to do is sleep and relax, but have to write training programs for the following week. Your patience will be tested often.
However, if you can build a mindset that’s prepared for these challenges, you’ll be better suited to tackle each one.
Just remember that no one is ever going to create this mindset for you. You need to do it yourself, and it’s not going to come overnight, either. It takes a consistent daily effort to produce an atmosphere full of passion and drive.
Often I’ll put on one of the many motivational speeches from Eric Thomas in order to keep my fire lit.
Take Action: Find a specific reason for why you do what you do.
This may come in the form of a speech, a book for personal trainers, a quote, a phrase or anything else that you find helpful. Remind yourself of this item every day when you wake up and before you go to sleep.
For example, if this item is a quote than you’ll want to recite the lines to it at least a couple of times per day, so that it will become engrained in your thoughts.
This will help to condition your mind to remain clear and on-task. Now, you not only have a specific daily reminder (i.e., quote), you also have a connection between the reminder and your reason. This attachment between the two will prove to be very helpful regarding building a powerful mindset.
2. Practice Movement Routinely
Why: People cling to what they trust, so if they see you walking the walk (and not only just talking the talk), they’ll be less inclined to question you and what you do. Plus, it’s always good to practice what you preach.
This one should seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised.
You need to exercise on a regular basis, just like your clients do.
No guidelines or regulations here. Just make sure that if you program an exercise or tell a client to perform a certain exercise, that you’re (at the very least) willing to do it yourself. You can’t understand their challenges unless you’ve been in their shoes.
That’s one of the most important parts of this field: understanding the people you work with. You can’t get to that point unless you’ve experienced what they have.
Lead by example and make movement/exercise a priority in your life. Your clients will see this and will act accordingly.
Take Action: Spend at least 5 minutes each day on one new exercise or stretch.
This can be on a new exercise you’ve recently learned from a well-respected coach in the field, or even a stretch that you think may be helpful for you.
Try these new items every day to keep growing and perfecting your craft in the field of human movement and performance.
The great thing about spending only 5 minutes a day on a new exercise or stretch is that it takes up only a small portion of your day, and that you ultimately have two options once you’re finished.
First: if it was helpful to you and you can keep it and apply it again.
Second: if it was unhelpful to you than you can at least say that you were open-minded enough to try it, and you can recall back to that experience.
Use these 5 minutes each day to constantly practice your movement.
3. Build Strong Relationships
Why: The man on the top of mountain didn’t just fall there. He had plenty of help and support along the way.
Be engaging and also engage in others’ ideas and thoughts.
Put yourself out there. Give before you take. Put the phone down sometimes and have a real conversation. You learn more about people this way, and build stronger bonds.
Relationships will come in a variety of forms in life. Just be sure to be respectful and kind to everyone you’re meeting along the way, because you never know how each individual will affect you, positively or negatively.
However, it takes time to build strong relationships, ones that will continually provide support and guidance to you along your path.
You need to look at these relationships, albeit with old friends, new friends, colleagues and clients, just as importantly as the next. It’s important for your own personal growth and development to connect with like-minded people, whether they’re in your field or not.
Everyone is equally important.
Build these relationships one day at a time and begin to surround yourself with people who are on the same mission as you are. You want the people you spend the most time with to challenge you in positive ways, to help guide you, and to be there for support. In turn, you’ll provide the same for them.
Take Action: Reach out to learn from someone new each week.
Relax. You’re still going to have enough time in your schedule to work!
It never hurts to reach out and connect with people, because the absolute worst thing that they can say is “no.” Never be afraid of rejection. Keep your head high and keep trying, because what you’ll soon come to realize is that there are a lot of awesome people in this field willing to lend a helping hand.
So, next time you see a great blog post or training video from a professional in our field, do yourself the favor by digging to find their contact information and email them. Go ahead and take that first step.
Reaching out to learn and grow from others will always help toward your goal of building strong relationships.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Why: You’re not a 16-year old high school student anymore who can stay up until 2:00 AM. You need to be active, alert and functioning at a high level, day in and day out.
Go to bed early. Wake up early.
That’s it. It’s really that short and simple.
Now, you’ll obviously want to modify and adjust this based on your specific schedule. However, it will always serve your brain and your body good to get to sleep at a reasonable hour and to wake up early.
You need to be on your feet, refreshed, and prepared every day. You won’t be able to achieve anything productive the next day if you’re going to sleep at 2:00 AM.
Keep in mind, the people you work with on a daily basis will be directly affected by your overall level of health, which definitely includes sleep quality, so do yourself (and your clients) a favor and get some well-needed rest each night.
Take Action: Get to sleep before 11:00 PM every night.
Not only do you need to get to sleep before that time, but you’ll also want to wind down at least an hour in advance to get your mind prepared for rest and relaxation.
5. Accept Change
Why: If you don’t make mistakes, you’ll never be able to learn, develop and grow.
Our field is constantly changing and evolving.
Every day you see something new being discussed or debated. Whether it’s right or wrong, you need to adapt to this new-age way of thinking. It will serve you well to understand that some things (not all) will need to be changed or altered in order for growth to occur.
You need to understand that changing yourself, your ideas, and your thoughts to better serve the people you work with on a daily basis is going to help you grow exponentially. All these minor positive changes will ultimately lead to a greater overall positive change.
Ultimately, these small positive changes will create a domino effect on the greater overall picture. Change is change; it can be good, and it can be bad. It’s up to you to allow positive change to occur, and to do your best to eliminate negative change through learning.
Take Action: Create two mental jars.
The first mental jar in your mind will be where you put each change you encounter on a daily basis that’s helped you develop a more positive outcome. These changes will continue to help you.
The second mental jar in your mind will be where you place all changes that have negatively affected you, and have limited your growth and development. These are still very important for learning, but in a different way.
By dividing the two different forms of change into separate areas in your head, you’ll have a better understanding of how to understand the two different sides, and also be more willing to accept change.
Yes, I am saying that although negative changes do occur in your life, you can still learn from these experiences through understanding how to work from them by turning the negative to a positive.
How can you turn a negative into a positive?
It’s simple, begin to use your powerful mindset that you created from section 1 in the form of optimism, resourcefulness and a stick-to-it type of attitude.
Be determined to learn how these negative changes affected you and also why. This will allow you to view them in a different light, which in turn will provide the opportunity to learn and grow.
6. Remain Consistent
Why: If you want people to keep coming back, than you need to keep a consistently high level of service for them to want to come back to.
Why do people always buy the same make and model of car? It’s because they trust that car and know it has consistently served them well.
You need to provide that same effect for people you work with. You want them to trust your service, trust your way of thinking and philosophies, and you want them to consistently come back.
It’s also important to understand that the entire process isn’t a sprint — it’s a long race that needs to be addressed each day with consistent care and effort.
Take Action: Write down a daily agenda with a list of to-do items for you to complete each day.
Will this process be tedious at first? Undoubtedly. However, it will help you tenfold in the future, because it will hold you accountable with respect to remaining consistent.