MY FIRST YEAR AS A PERSONAL TRAINER
Updated: Apr 8
I can’t quite believe it but somehow it has been almost a year since I decided to take what felt like an enormous leap of faith and go into personal training full time. Where has that year gone? I wrote all about the start of my journey, you can check it out here.
It has really challenged me, in so many ways. Not just about how I feel about working as a freelancer but setting up my own business in an industry which at times still feels so alien to me – it has been hard work. The battle to stay on track and understand who you are in such a young and loud industry is not easy.
When you’re qualifying as a PT you spend a lot of time learning about bones and muscles and the heart. Important stuff. I’d say you maybe use about 30% of that once you start training clients in person. Clients for the most part don’t want to talk about mitochondria.
The fundamentals of this job are far more complex than I ever anticipated. You’re dealing with nutrition, injuries, self-confidence, anxiety, depression, stress, sleep – to name but a few. By no means are any of us qualified to really deal with anything this job throws at us day to day.
If I was to give you my best advice on how to be a good PT I would say you need to be able to do the following things.
Make small talk.
Care about other people.
Park your own insecurities.
Make smart use of your time – both with and without your clients.
Always be open to learning.
Have the patience of a saint.
Treat every session as if it was the first of the day.
BE MORE THAN HOW YOU LOOK
Clients might start training with you after seeing you on the gym floor or flexing on the Gram but they will stay with you for very different reasons. They stay with you because they like you. You can be in great shape but have zero people skills and find building a PT business incredibly difficult.
This is the one big point that nobody really tells you about when you’re wet behind the ears. People are paying to spend an hour in your company. It isn’t enough to just look good and know about lifting weights anymore. You must be able to communicate in a way your clients understand and figure out how best you can help them achieve whatever it is they want. It is very rare to have clients that turn up and just want to exercise for an hour. People want and expect more from their sessions.
EXPECTATION VS REALITY
There is also a balance between what you would like to see your client achieve and what they are willing to do to get anywhere near that goal. Managing expectation is huge as a personal trainer.
People often come with big goals and short time-frames. A lot of the job is trying to get people to understand the commitment a short-term transformation will take and how much longer a sustainable approach will take to see those much-anticipated results. Add in that we live in a massively results and gratification ridden society. It is one heck of an uphill struggle sometimes.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are always new trends and styles of workouts and training taking the internet by storm every week. Somehow it feels like you must be doing it all. When you’re the jack of all trades, you’re the master of none. Remember that.
Pick the people you truly want to help and work with and then understand how they like to move and what works best to get them the results they want. Everything else is just noise.
If you feel like something isn’t working, the movement just doesn’t look right. Don’t be afraid to change things. There is no point doing an exercise that isn’t helping the client. It is important to make notes, take it away and learn from it. The human body is complex and unique, and no two people do one movement the same. The key is to keep it safe.
I can honestly say that changing career has been one of the best decisions I made. It has created a new and challenging path for my life, and I am eternally grateful for all that it brings. This job has also allowed me to confront a lot of my own personal demons. I’m certain that without being faced with my own excuses and issues and body hate day in day out – I would not have grown quite so much as a person.
Here’s the best thing about being a personal trainer.
Yes, our objective is to support and help our clients to grow and change and reach their goals. They change us too. Every milestone, we’re right there with you.
You make us proud.
You teach us that no one size fits and you test us to adapt and learn so that we can do the best job possible.
So, from us PT’s – thank you.
GET IN TOUCH
If you’re considering a personal trainer qualification or have any questions or you’d like to pick the brains of someone who’s lucky enough to call this her job – hit me up firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you and am always happy to support new blood into this growing industry.