Samantha Parker’s Top 5 Tools for Personal Trainers
Fitness guru and IFG ambassador, Samantha Parker, shared with us her top 5 tips for personal trainers to keep in their tool box during their career.
"I have been in the fitness world for 16 years working as a certified personal trainer and yoga therapist. I've seen all kinds of fitness gizmos and gadgets, books on fad diets, pills and garments that clients have admitted to taking, doing and are on the floor in the back of their closets in a pile barely used and taking up space that could be occupied by new workout clothes or a new set of golf clubs.
Fortunately, the number of Americans wanting to reach their fitness and health goals are still on the rise and are still buying the newest and improved gizmos, gadgets, books and garments. But for personal trainers, the cost of all of these new tools can add up extremely fast. It can be a bit confusing as to what tools we should have in our tool box to help our clients reach success as well as should we be using the tools the clients are requesting to work with? What should you have in your tool box as a personal trainer to help you succeed as well as helping your clients reach success?"
Here are the top 5 simple tools to keep in your tool box that will help you continue in your success, as well your client’s success.
1. Be flexible and think outside the box
I am a certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) as well as a personal trainer and yoga helps us to be flexible not just physically, but emotionally and mentally.
We need to remember that our clients will have good days and bad, and that life happens. The gym’s AC may be out that day, the equipment that you were planning on using is out of order or being used, or the client may be having a rough day because they stubbed their toe last night and can barely put any pressure on their foot. So leg day is now out of the question.
Being able to come up with new and different ways of training and thinking outside the box will not only help you to still provide 5-star quality training, but also keep the interest of the client. Take them to the park, or outside. Simplify and slow down the movements, tell jokes or if you know they are going back to school, or studying for something at work, quiz them about it without them realizing you’re quizzing them during their session.
This not only helps with their neuroplasticity, which is the way our brains are able to adapt to our every changing world, but it will aide in them remembering the information better, possibly leading to a good grade. They’ll do great on their next test and will think you are the most awesome trainer ever!
2. Have Fun while Personal Training!
I know. Even having a job you love sometimes can get a bit mundane. Most jobs are not going to be fun every day.
But let’s face it - no one likes to receive a service, if the individual providing that service seems to be in a bad mood. Look, I know we are all human. We all have our good days and our bad. And if you look back on your really good days, you may make the connection that your clients seemed to be more energized, had a better workout and couldn’t wait to see you again, even though you just kicked up the notch on their workout.
So, if you find yourself in a bad mood, think of yourself having fun, or if you enjoy burpees do 30 of them before you see your clients. During the client’s session, crack a joke, do a physical activity that is fun, like heading outside and going to a nearby park. Get on the teeter-totters for a minute then drop and do 4 minutes of burpees, push-ups and dips. Why? Its physical and FUN! And who doesn’t like a good joke?
3. Know your strengths and weaknesses
The ego is a constant struggle and does not like us to be wrong, weak or embarrassed. We don’t like to admit that we are not perfect and do not have all the answers. Yet knowing what your weaknesses are turns into a strength.
Well, if you don’t know the answer or the best way to help a client, do not give them a bogus answer! A client may Google it and find out you are a fraud. This could potentially lead you to lose that client, possible future referrals. word could get out you don't know what you're doing- ruining your credibility.
Also, the possibility of you potentially injuring someone and being sued because you did not know your limits, increase. Personal trainers should always carry personal training insurance for this reason, just in case.
Knowing and acknowledging your weaknesses can benefit you. If a client comes to you with an issue you really are unsure of the best way to help, but know of a trainer who can, point that client in their direction. Get to know the fellow trainers in your area and help each other.
While we all need to pay our bills and eat our protein, we will not be the right trainer for everyone. Working together can benefit not just the trainers, but the clients, too. When we have a better idea of what we need to work on to better ourselves, this is when we can grow and learn.If you are unaware of it, the fitness industry is constantly changing and so is the science behind physical performance.
To be a great trainer, we need to constantly be learning and educating ourselves on how to provide our clients with exceptional service.
4. Continuing Education
Of the most important tools a good trainer should have is the thirst for knowledge.
We are required to have CEs to keep our numerous personal training certificates up to date, but make it fun- in taking classes, training's, and continuing education in things you find interesting and potentially beneficial to your clients.
As individuals, our interests vary and we tend to gravitate towards ideas and activities that spark a flame in us. When we embrace our differences and our passions, this uniqueness helps us to stand out from the crowd. When someone has true passion, and is knowledgeable of this passion, clients who will benefit from your services will gravitate towards you.
You won’t have to work so hard in gaining new clients and in keeping your existing ones.
5. Be authentic and true to who you are
Were you surprised that I didn’t mention a measuring tape or the newest fitness tool or techie gadget throughout this entire article?
As I mentioned, I have been in the fitness industry for over 16 years and I can tell you the best tool that you can have in your tool box is being your true authentic self and letting that shine.
Do NOT be afraid of it and let go of the self-doubt.
I cannot stress this enough. While you may think this is common sense, many of us think that we need to be like the fitness trainers we see on TV, or who have thousands or millions of subscribers on YouTube. They have a large following because they are good at what they do, their reliability and their delivery. But that is because they are being their authentic selves.
I think most of us, myself included, when we first started personal training found it a bit tricky in how to market ourselves, getting clients, then maintaining them and finding our rhythm. The successful trainers are the ones who are “what you see is what you get”. And the reason why this works is that the clients the trainer will be working with more than likely, their clients found them. The clients who need you will be able to seek you out from seeing your passion, and your authentic self. You will draw the clients that will benefit from your knowledge because these clients will be drawn to your personality, style and techniques.
If these tools all seem to be a bit more to do with your personality and customer service skills, you would be correct.
The fitness world constantly has new methods, gadgets, pills and gizmos that will help people lose weight and seemingly achieve their goals. But those are inanimate objects that are not able to provide the human component of emotional and mental interaction that every soul on this earth craves.
Personality is the most valuable tool for any successful trainer can have. You can have degrees, and certificates for days, the newest tech gear, but if you are not able to relate, listen and provide good customer service to your clients, they will not come back because they will not find value in you or your services.
They will not care how much you know until they know that you care.