Study antiquated exercise concepts, research current exercise information and keep up-to-date with your certifications to stay credible in the personal training field. However, experience on the training floor reinforces your book knowledge. These skills learned after working on the personal training floor can be used for future clients.
Not knowing is not a downfall
Not knowing an answer to a client's question is not a flaw, but pretending to know an answer is. Answer your client if you know the correct answer from both research and experience; however, think twice before answering incorrectly.
There's nothing wrong with saying "I don't know, but I'll research that for you." It takes a few minutes of your time, and gives you knowledge for future questions. It also builds credibility. If you pretend to know the answer only to be found completely wrong, you look foolish and untrustworthy. A client would rather have an informative answer one day later than a completely incorrect answer that moment.
The floors are hard so wear good shoes
I stay after my clients regularly about wearing good shoes, but it's just as important for personal trainers to wear proper shoes on the gym floor. Just as I recommend a client to have a biomechanics foot test done; so should trainers. Since peronsal training is hands-on, we're on our feet for hours at a time. Gym floors are cement slabs with very thin carpet or mat on top of it. It offers no cushion for your joints.
Demonstrate, as well as explain proper form
One of the biggest mistakes I see with personal trainers are they only explain exercises, and do very little demonstrating. Visual instruction is a great tool for exercise; especially for a client that never worked out before.
There should never be a point where you explain the same exercise over and over because you are too lazy to demonstrate. Instead, demonstrate it to them, or do a couple of reps with the clients. It's amazing how much a client perks when you do the movement with them.
Do not train your clients the way you workout
There are exceptions to training clients the way you workout, but for the most part, training your clients the way you workout isn't in their best interest. Each client is different, which means they have different needs. For instance, I wouldn't train a 13-year old, or 70-year old client the way I workout. Both of their abilities and needs are different from mine.
Experiment with your own exercises on personal training clients within limits, but study up on new ways to train your clients. There are many tools available to teach you more exercises and proper form.
Be firm when necessary
I'm not telling anyone to be Jillian Michaels on a regular basis, but there are moments when you should be firm. Don't take any excuses, and make personal training clients work hard.
First time exercisers often say, "I can't." It's actually a lack of confidence and a mental hurdle that holds them back. Push the client so they finish the movement and set. Although you don't necessarily have to be mean; firmness will get your client to try harder and feel accomplished.
Lisa M. White
Copyright ©2011 CPT Lisa M. White™. All rights reserved.