I am a Personal Trainer and proud to be one – Despite the System!

Isn’t it time to redefine the role of a Personal Trainer and really start to maximise fully the potential and commercial impact Personal Training can make?

Personal Trainers excel despite what we might call the ‘system’ not because of it.

The Personal Trainers who excel are the exception not the norm.

Why? Because of the ‘system’ which comprises the following three attributes:

·     Education

·     Work environment

·     Mindset

Let’s start with the education piece – it doesn't work! Memory tests, tick box learning over a 6 week period will never produce a ‘fit for purpose’ Personal Trainer.

Work environment – again the odds are stacked firmly against the Personal Trainer. The rent model, the lack of mentoring and support combine to create desperation to ‘sell’, which usually backfires. Why do Personal Trainers insist on walking up to me in the gym and asking if I would like a free session – this defies the first law of business creation! More of this later.

Finally, Mindset – the majority of Personal Trainers enter the industry for the wrong reasons with a misled expectation that the fitness gravy train will net them loads of money with minimum effort. Many do not understand that they will have to build their own business and have no idea where to start. One of the questions we often ask our mature students is “why should someone trust you?’ this is often met by an embarrassed silence! 

So how can we change this paradigm that leads to a recurring spiral of constant attrition, failed client expectation and a perception that most Personal Trainers do not produce value for money?

Lets start in reverse order – Mindset

Many Personal Trainers enter the fitness industry for the wrong reasons seduced by the bogus expectations set by unscrupulous training providers.  The creation of every successful business in our experience starts with the answer to the following question:

‘What difference do you want to make and who cares?’

Walking up to someone and asking if a club member would like a free session is communicating that the Personal Trainer has their own interest in mind over the client’s interest. In effect, the message is ‘I need your money” not communicating the message ‘this is how I can help you.’

Personal Training can be a supremely fulfilling career when the Personal Trainer’s business commences by focusing on a target client customer with the clear rationale of the needs, desires, concerns and aspirations of that particular target client.

And there are so many potential clients other than those who want to lose weight! Para Olympians, blind people, senior citizens, cyclists, Tough Mudder entrants, adolescents, medieval combat practitioners (yes, they exist!) and especially those who need to exercise but lack the drive and inspiration to do so, to name just a few

Work Environment

People learn in the workplace from others who are more capable than themselves, from mentors and role models who set standards and who drive the dominant work behaviours.  Most Personal Trainers at Clubs are given little or absolutely no support. They are often used as cannon fodder, are an expendable overhead and not regarded as a valuable asset to enhance client membership and drive the culture on the gym floor.

Education

Yes, this is the first step along the slippery slope to the insanity of Personal Trainer attrition in our industry. Produce non fit for purpose Personal Trainers who have learnt nothing that will equip them to build their business, engage professionally with a broad client audience and offer competent consultation on anatomy, movement and inspire client motivation.

Personal Training is not an easy role to fulfil competently, the cycle from client engagement to successful exercise regime outcome demands a broad set of skills – this is why ultimately, it can be one of the most fulfilling careers anyone can fill and change the lives of so many people.

Time to redefine the role, enhance individual capability and strive to ‘make exercise irresistible’ to everyone!