Traits of a Successful Personal Trainer

Personality plays a large role in whether or not a trainer is successful. People will start, and continue to work, with someone they enjoy being around. While you must also have the knowledge and skills to accompany these traits, it's true that a little personality goes a long way.

Leadership

Leadership is the ability to guide, direct, or influence people. A personal trainer must be able to lead clients in the direction they need to go and instill in them the desire to follow. The trainer's goal is to influence the client to change his harmful behaviors, many of which are lifelong, so he can be healthier and feel better. This is a great challenge and is virtually impossible for the trainer who coddles instead of leads.

Discipline

Living a healthy lifestyle requires a great deal of discipline. In today's world, there are fast food restaurants on literally every corner, and when a person does choose to avoid fast food chains and go into a real restaurant, the portion sizes are two to four times larger than they should be.

The fact is, people work too much, eat too much, and spend too much time sitting in their cars and at their desks. Temptation is everywhere, and people are rarely encouraged to make good, healthy choices.

If you expect your clients to commit to being healthy, you must show them how to do it by your own example. You need to get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly. You must live what you preach, not only to gain your clients' respect, but to demonstrate that it can be done.

Alert

Being aware of your personality strengths and weaknesses is crucial to your success. Everyone has flaws, but working on your weaknesses will assist you in gaining and retaining clients. It's helpful to talk to people you've worked for and with in an effort to learn more about your specific strengths and weaknesses.

Empathy

As a trainer, you are asking people to do some very difficult things. They are trying to break ingrained habits, and fit workouts into already full days. They may feel overwhelmed, embarrassed, or discouraged. It's important to let your clients know that you understand where they're coming from.

You must be able to help people move outside of their comfort zone in a firm yet compassionate manner. Being condescending will only make a client feel more discouraged, and they'll be less likely to continue to work with you. They may even give up on fitness altogether.

Professionalism

Personal trainers have evolved from gym rats into fitness professionals. You may also have other professional people as your clients. Your clients are spending their valuable time and significant amounts of money to meet with you. For these reasons, it is important to present yourself in a professional manner. This means dressing appropriately, arriving on time for your appointments, and treating your clients and coworkers with respect.

Another aspect of being professional involves making your policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs) clear from the beginning. Put them in writing and require a signature from your clients.

Essential

Having your clients sign written policies for situations such as tardiness or no-shows will reduce confusion and possible conflict. Clients should be clear on what to expect if they miss an appointment or cancel at the last minute. Discussing these situations beforehand will also show your clients that you are prepared and professional.

Creativity

While it would be easy to take your routines from a book using a one-size-fits-all attitude, this isn't what personal training is about. Your job is to help your clients reach their potential by developing and implementing exciting routines and programs tailored to them as individuals. What motivates one person will not necessarily motivate another.

People also differ greatly in the types of workouts they enjoy and can fit into their schedules. Therefore, you must use your creativity and imagination to keep each client interested and on the right path with diet and exercise. Your most difficult task won't be encouraging good routines, it will be developing creative methods to keep your clients motivated, interested, and focused to achieve their goals. You'll use your creativity in every aspect of your business.

Social Skills

Successful personal trainers tend to be extroverts. An outgoing personality will help you obtain and retain clients. Few people want to spend an hour working out with someone with whom they cannot have a conversation.

It's helpful to learn about what your client does for a living and their hobbies. As time passes and you build trust and rapport, she may divulge more personal information that will help you better assist her in meeting her goals. In addition, the more she enjoys your company, the more she'll look forward to your sessions, and refer you to other people.

Ask open-ended questions to promote conversation. Open-ended questions are those that prompt more than a simple yes or no response, such as, “What do you feel is your biggest deterrent to exercise?” The more open-ended questions you ask, the easier it will be to get your clients talking and discover what makes them tick.

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