How To Be A Successful Personal Trainer In 2021
[Easy To Implement Advice]
By: Zack Mathews
There are many traits a successful personal trainer possesses that have gotten them to the pinnacle in their business.
When people observe these individuals, they often overlook the traits that are actually the most important to their success.
I’m assuming you are here because you are looking for what it takes to make it in the fitness industry.
I remember researching this topic when I first started trying to see what I needed to do to get better at building my business.
People, including my younger self, often associate a successful personal trainer by their…
- unique and cool exercises they do with their clients
- anatomy knowledge
- ability to speak scientifically
Sure those might play a small role for someone’s success, or a lot if you are the 1% with amazing genetics and have built a following off your body (thanks a lot Instragram), but those are not the pillars that make the everyday personal trainer successful.
There are tons of trainers out there making 6 figures plus and never have to take their shirt off for social media, show their clients doing a one legged squat on a Bosu ball with a kettlebell over their head, or spit out terms that the average person has no idea what it means.
If you want to make it as a personal trainer, focus on these two traits and you will be able to build a strong business for years to come.
Hey, maybe you'll even get a trophy from a client like I did!
The #1 most important trait for becoming a successful personal trainer is likability
It’s so simple, but it’s so true.
From your first interaction in your consultation (by the way, have you read the article on how to perfect your consultations? Click HERE) to seeing a client 2 - 4 hours a week, what do you think is going to get them coming back week after week, month after month?
They enjoy coming and working with you.
If you are not a likable person, that desire to show up every workout with fade over time. Even if you are seeing results, working with someone you don’t like will eventually get to you.
I learned a long time ago that for some clients, the highlight of their day is coming to see me for an hour.
They have stress from work, a crazy home life, and are dealing with this or that.
But when they get to the gym, they know they will see me waiting for them with a big smile ready to hangout and work with them.
That’s the mindset you need to take.
Treat every session believing that your time with them is the highlight of their day.
Being likable will keep your clients coming to you, regardless of results, for much longer than if they didn’t want to be there but knew they paid and had to show up.
So how do you become more likable?
Every session should include you…
- Having a big smile on your face and greeting them with energy and excitement.
- Asking them how things in their life are going. Yes you want to check in on nutrition, workouts, sleep, etc. but also take time to see what’s going on in their life.
- Taking inventory of the things they are telling you. Be an active listener and remember their kid’s and spouse’s names, remember what they are doing this weekend so you can ask about it next week, and remember their hobbies and interests.
- Cheering them through their workout, no matter how small the win. Did they have great form on their shoulder press? Be specific and tell them how good their mobility in their shoulders looked when they had the bar overhead.
- Keep the conversation light and don’t get into topics that can cause controversy. Do they have a view about something you don’t agree with? Cool, let them feel that way, but no need to try and get into an argument about it.
- Ending the session telling them how great they did, with specific examples of things you were impressed with.
Want to take your likability to the next level outside of the gym as well?
A simple text the day before a session telling your client that you are looking forward to their workout, or a text the day after a workout telling them again how great they did on a specific movement goes a long way in your client’s eyes.
Being likable and being the best person I can be for my clients has been the biggest factor in my personal training success.
The #2 most important trait for becoming a successful personal trainer is being a great communicator
Being a great communicator is what will help guide your clients towards their goals.
You can give orders and bark scientific terms all you want, but it won’t resonate with your clients.
It’s important to talk in a way that will make sense to your client and they will absorb what you are saying.
If they are mindlessly taking in what you are saying without understanding it, odds are they won’t last very long with you.
Clients will really start to see results when they understand WHY they are doing something.
Let’s take a look at an example.
If someone is trying to lose weight and you tell them they need to eat X amount of protein daily because protein is important, their adherence to that might not be the best.
On the other hand, if you tell your client that you really want them to lose fat and not muscle which will help give them a better overall look than losing both, and one of the best ways to help do that is if they hit X amount of protein a day so they will hold onto their muscle mass, do you think they would listen more?
You’ve communicated clearly that protein is important to keeping muscle, and gave them a recommendation for what they should be consuming versus just telling them what to do without giving them a WHY.
One of the best ways to learn how to be a better communicator is to talk on your client’s level.
It’s time to ditch the scientific terms and showing off how you know all the muscles in the body.
The “perform scapular retraction while you row the dumbbell” becomes “try and crack a nut between your shoulder blades when you pull the weight”.
“This exercise is working your vactus laterals” becomes “this is working the muscles in your thigh”
When your clients go into their training session understanding what and why they are doing something in the short term, and also know what these sessions are working towards in the long term, you are not only setting them up for success, but also yourself.
Just Do It
You know what the great thing about these two traits are?
Every single one of us can possess these important traits and become a successful personal trainer.
You don’t need to go study a textbook or workout to make your body better.
Just be a good person and work on getting better at communicating with your clients.
Easy as that!
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or reach out to me HERE.