Reading through some of the threads on here has got me SERIOUSLY worried! At the end of the month I’m starting a course so I can become a personal trainer. It seems that many people on here are rubbishing trainers at every available opportunity.
In all fairness, some examples I’ve read about the terrible advice given etc have given PTs a bad reputation; and with good reason! I’ve wanted to train as an instructor for years and now I finally have the opportunity to, I’m terrified that I’m going to be under constant scrutiny in the gym.
In my opinion, I think I know what I’m doing, but so does everyone else; everyone likes to think that they know best; it’s human nature after all! One of my main worries is that people will look down on me; I probably wouldn’t want to take advice from a 5’4, fairly weak 19 year old girl either (let alone PAY HER to train me!); however much knowledge she had. Is this a general idea people have, or is it just me being overly paranoid and over-analysing things?[/quote]
Wow! There’s so many things to point out.
First, let’s clear this, PGA - the whole salesperson aspect of a personal trainer’s job may or may not exist. It depends on the facility. Where I work (and I believe where TrainerInDC has commented on as well) the sales staff do this all for us. A client simply walks in, asks for a personal trainer, they are asked which goal category they fit in as far as past training experiences (level - beginnger, intermediate, advanced) and what type of program they’re looking for (fat loss, lean mass gain, combo, etc). That gives the sales people an idea of who best is suited for this client and their needs.
Gymbunnie, just dismiss the naysayers. I’ve posted on this subject recently a couple of times. The basics:
You don’t get rich being a PT; doesn’t mean you’ll be poor, just expect that income grows with dedication and time
You work messed up hours (you work when people don’t); yes, you can work whichever hours you choose as long as you realize that just means a great reduction in the amount of clients you’ll get
The job is attitude, a very positive, never faultering attitude towards and FOR your client.
Knowledge is something you get from experimenting on yourself first. You can’t simply see a picture of an exercise or a video and then try to teach your client such a move. Experiment with various exercises and workout programs yourself. I feel it’s irresponsible to advise someone on something you yourself have not grasped the basics and some tips on.
The books and courses that PT’s take are mostly void of this content.
About the people that hire personal trainers (in general; there are always exceptions):
You said you think you know what you’re doing; but that everyone else does too. Not true or they wouldn’t be hiring you. Whether you keep a client or not is based on whether you can teach the client a program which means their needs (fun, exciting, challenging) and gets them results. First step - tell them to erase for the time they’re with you, everything they know. They are to follow you and your program.
You generally will get beginner level clients. Being a woman, you’ll get mostly women at least until some of the men start seeing your around “their place” often training others. Men for some stupid reason can’t take advice all to well from a woman when it comes to training. Muscles are muscles people.
Beginner clients (types; regardless of goal):
Clueless - never weight trained, heard it’s good, know they should do it, don’t know where to start, don’t want to hurt themselves. Don’t hurt them, give them steady results and they’ll be happy.
Frustrated - a little weight training experience but never achieved results expected. You bet your ass they’re going to want results for the $30-70 they’re paying you. If you can’t deliver quick results, they’ll dump you and blame you up and down for they never achieving results (not good for your future business in that gym). The impatient kind fall in this group.
Lonely - some don’t care to workout alone, require external motivation, just like to chat while working out as to avoid boredom, want someone to be proud of their accomplishments (because they’re husbands no longer care), etc. You’re that person. Some of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve met fall in this group.
Young (<20), Older, Pregnant, or Injured - Looking for information about their specific situation and different kinds of programs need be built for these populations; again, know your stuff.
Busy and/or Lazy - Know there’s information out there but don’t have the time or care to get it for themselves. These are the type of people who pay the neighbor’s kid $15 to mow their lawn. They don’t want to have to think about it. They want to give you their cash in exchange for instruction to achieve an end result (generally asthetic). This is mostly where you play drill sergant.
Decisive - have already decided on a specific program they wish to follow but are not sure of some of the details, perhaps some of the exercise execution. These are one of my favorite groups. They’re willingness to take in information is incredible. But you better know a wide variety of exercises and how to execute them!
Intermediate clients (types; regardless of goal):
Again, Frustrated/Disheartened - have tried various methods (usually half heartedly) and are tired of wasting their time, money and efforts.
Knowledgable, Want to Advance - These are also some of my favorite kinds. They know quite a bit. Perhaps more than you and me. But they know that you know something they don’t. And they want that knowledge. You won’t keep these clients; you’ve got them for 1 week - 2 months tops. They soak every tidbit out of you and move on. This is where you show off, and the word of mouth happens quite a bit.
Taking Up Someone’s Advice - These people are usually referred to you. Friends, family or collegues of these types of clients have worked with you and have got results in past. They’ve recommeded you and here this person is now. Show them what you’re made of.
Advanced clients (types):
I won’t make this detailed because you won’t see these clients for a quite a while, if ever.
People at this level have in general trained for more than 10 years CONSISTANTLY. They have small, specific goals in mind (symmetry imbalances for example) or challenges they wish to conquer (winning an upcoming contest).
These types of people seek out coaches with 15 years of experience (like some of the T-Nation article writers).
- I’m the first to admit this list is not the be all, end all of clientelle. Just an off the top of my head sort of list.
Now, Gymbunnie, if these types of people sound like the kind you want to spend a great many hours of your time with and you feel you will absolutely LOVE your job - DO IT!
Forget what anyone else says. Your friends, fam, etc may balk at you but screw them!
Even if you step into it and hate it, try another avenue of personal training (bootcamps for example which are stupid hot here). There are so many different methods and ways to PT.
And, most importantly…if you can’t sit up straight and stop calling yourself a “fairly weak, 5’4”, 19 year old girl" you’ll never make it in this industry.
My ex is 5’1" and didn’t know ANYTHING about weight training 3 years ago. She is clearly genetically gifted in building muscle, but over that time frame has built a great body and has learned a great deal. I introduced her to the iron and she inspires the hell out of me now.
So she’s going to become a PT soon too (as a part-time job). She’ll do fantastic things for people.
Age, height, sex, and strength levels carry FAR LESS importance than ATTITUDE and KNOWING YOUR SHIT!
If I can help anymore, PM me.