Personal trainers are a dime a dozen these days and if you aren’t taking the proper steps to separate yourself from the pack, now is the time to start. Being a personal trainer goes way beyond simply telling our clients what exercises to do. Showing our clients that we care about them, and their results, will put you ahead of the rest of the trainers out there who stare at the television sets while their client performs exercises with form that will make you cringe. Build a solid client-trainer relationship with these 4 tips.
Plan and Record Client Workouts Ahead of Time
Nothing sends a red flag to a client like a trainer who is obviously unprepared to take them through a workout. If you did not put any thought into what your clients will be doing for the day, it will be apparent as you wander around the gym trying to come up with exercises, sets, repetitions, and weight on the fly. Not only will this lead to an ineffective workout, but your client will feel like you do not care enough about their results to put in the time and effort to design a well-thought out routine for them.
Creating a workout does not have to be a time-consuming thing. Have templates ready that fit with your client’s goals and plug in exercises that are suitable for their individual need and ability level. It also helps to note alternative exercises so that the flow of the workout is not interrupted because a piece of equipment you were hoping for is unavailable.
Track Client Progress
Having a workout ready for your clients ahead of time will not only make you look prepared and professional, but it will also serve as a means to track client progress. Fill in sets, reps, and weight used for each exercise so that you can review them for the next workout, ensuring that proper adjustments are made to keep your client progressing. This is especially helpful if you have a large client base. It will be near impossible for you to remember the specifics of every exercise, of every workout, for every client. I like to keep a spiral notebook for each client where I record all of their workouts. Then, the next time I plan for them to perform exercise X, all I have to do is flip back to the last workout that contained that exercise and decide if adjustments need to be made.
Tracking client progress will also take the shape of assessing measurements and body composition. It is important to keep notes on these measurements so that your client has a concrete visual of the progress they are making. If you do not record these results, you and your client will have a difficult time being certain if progress is being made or not. Consistency will also be important with tracking measurements. If you are going to do weekly measurements, monthly measurements, bi-weekly, etc. make sure to stick with that schedule.
Be Involved With Your Client’s Workout
If you are going to train clients, you need to constantly be involved in your client’s workouts. This means observing their form and providing cues when necessary, providing motivation, and assessing and making changes within the workout as needed. Too often trainers will sit on equipment and stare off into space (or worse yet, look at their cell phone) while their clients are performing an exercise. You MUST attend to your clients at all times. After all, it’s what they are paying you for. Even if a client seems to be doing well on their own, you still need to ensure that they are focused and performing exercises correctly. If something should happen to them while you aren’t paying attention—well—let’s just say you don’t want to deal with the repercussions of client neglect.
Another simple way you can be involved in your client’s workouts is to make it a point to “be on their level.” What I mean by this is if your client is doing a floor-based exercise, you are down there as well to monitor and encourage them. If you are constantly standing above your clients, you will give them a sense of inferiority and you might as well just put your foot up on their back while they sweat it out over a set of abdominal planks. Now, this does not mean you have to be belly-down on the floor and in their face, but kneeling down will be enough to let your client know that you are there with them. This will also make it easier to communicate technique cues with your client as you will be more within their range of hearing.
In addition to providing your clients with the tools necessary to achieve their fitness goals, it never hurts to go above and beyond what our job description says – remember your client’s birthday, ask them how their kids are doing, send them a Christmas card – all of these little things will show them that you care about them beyond what they are paying you for.
Now, I’m not saying you have to dive into their life and try to learn all of their deepest, darkest secrets. Just being aware of general things they are up to and stuff they like to do will be enough. I guarantee your client would be more than happy to tell you all about that big trip they recently took (during some down time, perhaps while they warm up or stretch, of course!). These little things, along with your excellent service and commitment to their health and fitness, will build a strong client-trainer relationship that will almost guarantee client retention.
While we want to make it a point to plan and track our clients’ workouts and progress, appropriately motivate them, and give them a little more than expected, none of this will work if you do not genuinely care for your clients. Do not do these things with the hopes of guaranteed income from client retention. If you are not true in what you say and do, they will sense it and you will not have any clients to retain!