Andrew Props | 12 May 2016
I have seen it numerous times and will probably continue to see it as long as gyms are still open. New personal trainers come in and think that they are the best thing since sliced bread. They like to think they know everything and that what they say is groundbreaking research in the field of health and fitness. Well, as a personal trainer, you can always get better; no matter how good you think you are.
Learn Something New
You should always be learning something new. There are so many different resources for fitness professionals for this very reason, but they need to be utilized to be of any help. There are so many different schools of thought, from sets and reps to complete program design, but you will be stuck where you are if you don’t go out and do some reading. Read a book, read a research article; it doesn’t really matter what it is (as long as it’s from a reputable source). Just go read because you might learn something. You should always be looking for a way to get better, which includes learning from other, more experienced personal trainers.
I’m not saying to go ask the guy in the cutoff who always has a shaker bottle in his hand what his take on the stretch shortening cycle and plyometrics for a client that wants to increase their vertical. Ask someone who has been around the industry for a while. More than likely they are willing and want to help so gyms don’t become overrun with people who read online forums and think they are Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you look around a bit, you will find a personal trainer with plenty of experience that can help you advance in the industry.
Although, there is a limit to this; you might learn something new but you shouldn’t go and implement it into your program when you have no idea why or how to actually implement it. Don’t put your clients on an eight week Olympic lifting program when you just learned the difference between a dumbbell and a barbell. Stick with what you know, but always try to expand what you know.
Listen to Your Clients
When you are working with a client, you have to listen to them. You might design the perfect program, but this program might not work for them. If they say they can’t do it, or something hurts, listen to them. There are instances where they just need to be pushed, but there are also times when they are physically not capable of doing something. What works for client A won’t necessarily work for client B, and forcing them to do something they can’t or don’t want to do is a good way to lose a client and potentially hurt your reputation at that gym.
Your job is to help the client get to where they want to be, not where you want them to be. Be there for the client, not just for a paycheck. Trust me, they can tell if you are genuinely interested and enjoy what you do, or if you are just going through the motions. You are there to help them.
Sure, you can have conversations with your clients while they are working out, but you can’t be sitting on the bench next to them, hardly paying attention and talking about the latest season of “House of Cards.” You need to be actively paying attention to them because you never know when they are going to start losing their form or not be able to perform a rep. That’s when you have to be able to jump in and correct them. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have conversations with your client. I’m saying that you shouldn’t completely lose focus, go off on a rant and stop paying attention to what they are doing. You have to keep them on track and make sure they are doing what they are supposed to, how they are supposed to and when they are supposed to.
As a personal trainer you have to look the part. Be professional. Why would someone hire you when it doesn’t look like you’ve ever stepped foot in a gym? Or if it looks like your idea of cardio is walking up and down an all you can eat buffet? Stay in shape and look professional while you are at work.
Follow just a few of these tips and you will notice the benefits. Whether it is from client retention or gaining new clients.
About the author: Andrew Props
I graduated from Lynchburg College in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management. I have my Personal Training Certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and have had this credential for over three years. I am also a Level 1 Sports Performance Coach through USA Weightlifting. I played baseball at Lynchburg for two years before injury forced me to ‘retire,’ which is when I found my passion for health and fitness.
While at Lynchburg I completed my internship with the Strength and Conditioning Coach where I worked with numerous sports teams. I worked with men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, baseball and field hockey. The men’s lacrosse team played in the Division III National Championship Game and the field hockey team won their ninth straight Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship.
I have been working at the YMCA for three and a half years as a wellness coach and as a personal trainer for the past two years. Recently I started a group personal training class called, ‘Own The Gym,’ where I actually teach the class how to train.
I am a Sports Performance Coach at Elkin Sports Performance where I work with people in elementary school through college, as well as some adult groups. We do speed and agility training as well as weight training, starting them with the basics and progressing them to Olympic lifts.
I also plan on taking my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association in the coming months.