10 Things the Best Trainers Have in Common
- DAN NORTH
The internet is flooded with articles on crappy personal trainers. And rightfully so, because there’s a lot of crap out there.
But, what makes a great trainer?
The trainer whose clients all get jaw-dropping results. The trainer whose always got a packed schedule. The trainer who seems to just get it.
Success leaves clues. And from my experience, the best personal trainers use a combination of the following to build wildly successful careers.
1. THEY FOCUS ON HELPING.
The initial consultation is your first interaction with your (potential) client.
While the novice trainer focuses on selling and showing off how much they think they know, the great trainer focuses on listening and learning as much as possible about their clients.
They listen to their clients and talk with them, instead of talking at them and reminding them how much their squat sucks.
2. THEY TRULY CARE.
When a trainer doesn’t give a rat’s ass about their clients, it’s hard not to notice. They’re probably scrolling through their phone, hammering back their lunch, or gazing up at the TV while their client tries not to pass out doing burpees.
If you don’t care about your clients, you shouldn’t be a trainer. Just like if you don’t care about numbers, you shouldn’t be an accountant.
If you treat your client with the same amount of care you would want your mom or friend or significant other’s trainer to have, you’ll be well on your way to a building a thriving career.
3. THEY HAVE A WHITE BELT MENTALITY.
The best trainers in the world are curious and in a constant state of learning. They know what they don’t know, and they thrive on that.
They don’t see their lack of knowledge as a weakness, they see it as an opportunity to grow and get better.
The best trainers say, “I don’t know” and then find the answer.
The novice trainer makes up an answer because they’re afraid their clients will label them as uneducated.
The opposite is true. By saying, “I don’t know”, you’re establishing trust. The next time your client asks a question and you know the answer, they’ll be confident it’s the right one.
4. THEY KNOW A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT AND A LOT ABOUT A LITTLE.
Personal trainers wear a lot of hats. We often juggle between being a coach, a therapist, and an emotional punching bag.
Whether it’s programming, nutrition, or exercise technique…the list of skills you need to be a great trainer is endless.
Great trainers understand this and have plenty of tools in their toolkit. They know just enough about everything to help their clients with most of their issues.
But they also know a lot about at least one thing, something that they specialize in.
5. THEY HAVE PASSION AND TAKE PRIDE IN THEIR WORK
Passion is the fuel that keeps the engine going when the going gets tough.
The best trainers and coaches in the world have an undeniable, burning passion for training.
6. THEY SPEAK ON THEIR CLIENTS’ LEVEL.
You’re constantly exposed to new information on a daily basis as a trainer. Way more information than your clients are exposed to.
Some trainers forget this. Instead of “dumbing things down”, they use a bunch of big words and fancy trainer-lingo to look smart in front of their clients.
Here’s the thing…you’re not impressing anyone. You’re just boring the hell out of your client. And if they don’t know what you’re talking about, they’ll go to a trainer they can actually understand.
7. THEY PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH.
They say your body is your business card as a trainer, and I think that’s a bit of double-edged sword.
If you’re basing a trainer’s qualifications solely on their body, then there’s plenty of Instagram models that would be great for you. But if you’re reading this article, you probably know there’s more to being a great coach than taking great selfies.
While it’s obviously important for your trainer to be in shape, it’s important to understand your definition of “in shape” might mean something completely different than theirs.
A strongman competitor hardly meets the body requirements of a figure skater, yet both are in great shape respectively.
A great trainer’s actions are in correlation with their training philosophy. They follow their own advice and understand that in order to lead their clients, they have to lead by example.
8. THEY CONSISTENTLY DELIVER.
Whether you eat McDonald’s or not, there’s something to be said about the reputation they’ve built. You can be anywhere in the world and when you see those golden arches, it brings a sense of comfort. You know exactly what you’re going to get every time you go, because whether or not you like it, McDonald’s is consistent.
The best trainers consistently deliver to their clients. They’re always early, they always respond to questions, they always send out programs on time.
They bring a sense of knowing and comfort to their clients’ training experience because of their relentless consistency.
9. THEY HAVE A PLAN.
Whenever you see a trainer without something written down or a tablet of some sort for programming, you know they’re pulling shit out of their ass.
What’s worse? This kind of behaviour has been normalized.
Rather than having a plan, these trainers equate sweating and heavy breathing to a successful session.
The best coaches understand the importance of programming and that each individual workout is a building block to the bigger picture.
They only deviate from the plan if necessary and use their experience to find a solution on the spot if something comes up unexpectedly.
10. THEY ASSESS.
If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing.
When should you assess? Every session. Every set. Every rep.
The moment your client walks through the door is when the assessment begins. How they walk, how they sit, and how they’re talking are just a few indications of where they’re at.
Assessing is an ongoing practice that the best trainers use on a daily basis with their clients.