When you are advising clients who are interested in finding a personal trainer, what is the first question you ask them to think about? “What is it that the client wants to achieve through working with a personal trainer? Often times, clients assume the trainer is responsible for the success of their training sessions, when in reality that responsibility rests on the shoulders of the client.”
– Michelle Johnson, Group Fitness Instructor, Guadalupe Regional Wellness Center, Seguin, Texas
What makes a good personal trainer?
A trainer should be education based. He or she should be willing to teach a client how to achieve goals both inside and outside of the gym. A trainer should be confident enough in his or her skill set to share their intellectual knowledge with each client, allowing the client to become an independent exerciser.
A trainer should be prepared. Each training session should be planned and prioritized prior to the client walking in the door. Sessions should be well organized with both a goal and a purpose. Each session should build upon the previous session. A trainer should never stand in the weight room looking at all of the equipment thinking, “uuummmm, what should we do next?”
A trainer should teach each client how to set both short and long-term goals. If the client hasn’t been educated on how to set goals then what is the purpose of their time in the gym? Remember these goals should be personal, so the client must be the one to set the goals. The trainer is there to assist the client in reaching these personal fitness goals, not to determine the goals for the client.
A trainer should look the part. This doesn’t mean that a personal trainer needs to have the body of a god, but he or she should be concerned with the inner and outer health of his or her body.
A trainer should dress the part. Whatever the style of clothing, a trainer should dress professionally. A trainer’s attire should be sharp and fashionable, but first and foremost appropriate for modeling proper
A trainer should walk with a sense of purpose. Meandering from place to place, station to station exudes an attitude of apathy. Trainers can’t expect clients to have a sense if urgency they don’t.
A trainer should be on time. Being on time when one is a personal trainer means being 15 minutes or so earlier than the client. A client shouldn’t have to wait for the trainer to show up for a session. Things happen, it’s true, but if being early is already a part of a trainer’s schedule, even life’s little bumps won’t delay a training session.
A trainer should read. Trainers should educate themselves on the most up to date, evidence based exercise science. This knowledge will separate them from trainers that are still presenting training sessions based on what they did when they were performing athletes.
A trainer should network. Trainers should join a professional organization and participate in forums discussing their profession. Experience only comes with time. Learning from those that have been in the profession for a while gives a trainer an edge.
Trainers should educate. Most clients don’t have deep pockets. So, that means clients will be leaving eventually be leaving their personal trainers. It is a trainer’s responsiblity to educate the client on how to train properly on their own. The client will walk taller and exude more confidence because the trainer showed them how to prepare, plan and execute an exercise plan. With that sort of personal training, the client just might come back for more session or better yet, refer a new client.
A trainer should inspire. The inspiration to stay healthy, to exercise, and to want to continue with a fitness regimen should come from the personal trainer. A trainer should be the one that a client looks to for motivation, inspiration and support.
A trainer should make a difference. Trainers have an opportunity every day to educate and inspire. This should be done professionally and with a sense of purpose. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to improve someone else’s life; a trainer should handle that privileged with care.
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