Yesterday, I sent this e-mail to all of my clients; past and present. However, anyone who works out or is on their feet a lot can use this information.
Running your personal training business goes beyond the course book. It's a hands-on process that takes time to learn. As a certified personal trainer the course work teaches you the basics, but it doesn't teach the details that make your business run smoothly or successfully. With all the course studies there are still five useful tips a certified personal trainer can't learn from a book. They must be learned through experience.1. Run your business with good communication
Use every form of communication to keep your clients informed of what's happening. I use everything from Twitter to text messages to e-mail and phone calls. My clients know I'll answer their e-mails and phone calls and not be ignored. I keep files, and updates, and track their sessions even when they don't. Even in a huge Washington D.C. health club my clients feel like they are getting one-on-one special attention; all the time.
With good communication my clients are more inclined to update me on their personal progress, and future cancellations. Since I know of future cancellations I fill those slots with other clients. This helps clients get extra workouts, I don't lose work hours and my clients still have their normal time slots when they come back.
2. Find a specialty certification that works for you
When I became a certified personal trainer I realized how much I wanted to help women during their pregnancies. I also wanted to help them get in shape post partum. For me this was a great specialty niche. When I began work at a facility with 30+ trainers I was the only one certified with a pre- and post natal specialty. Beside book knowledge I had firsthand experience of being a mom and my clients could relate to me.
Luckily, there are specialty certifications to help certified personal trainers grow a clientele that they may not have without it. For example, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) has specialty certifications in fitness nutrition, youth fitness and even weight management.
3. Do something nice for your client
I am a personal trainer because I love what I do, and because a paycheck is beneficial to my family. However; I do not charge clients when they train on their birthdays. I believe a client who comes to the gym in the early hours on their birthday deserves a free session.
There are other ways to do nice things that will not affect your pay check, but this is one I adhere to. It may be a financial loss at the moment, but my clients feel great for getting something free on their special day.
Whether it's a free session, or a random "You're doing great!" card, something simple can perk the mood of your client, and make them want to push harder. However, it's still important to get paid for your hard work. It's one thing to be kind and offer tips, or one free session, but this is still your business and should be run accordingly.
4. Be flexible and customize fitness programs
A fitness program that works for one person does not always work for someone else. Treating everyone with an inflexible, cookie cutter program says you're not putting your client's needs first. Many of my clients have neck and back injuries so I certainly wouldn't train them like a healthy athlete.
Personal trainers who can't change a fitness program on the floor, or worse yet, decides their program is the final say, can injure their client or deter them from coming back.
5. Don't chase the money
One thing I see a lot in personal training is "chasing the money." What does this mean? It means personal trainers take on every client and invest in quantity over quality of services. As trainers, we're paid for the hours we work; however, having a surplus of clients isn't a bonus if you don't run your business effectively.
Double booking, or completely forgetting about clients because you work too many hours should never become a common practice. Poor quality workmanship and bad experiences spread by word of mouth. It won't take too many complaints before losing clients.
Large breasted ladies, with or without implants, should wear great lifting underwire bras. Light, lacy bras are gorgeous, but it's not the best way to fight gravity since there is no support.
Although women have no choice with drooping—it’s going to happen with time—wearing an underwire bra helps prolong sagging.
I tried the Fit for Life nutrition plan by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond for two months. It was the most miserable two months ever. I've been on many nutrition plans because I am a figure competitor, butFit for Life left me starving. Even though the Fit for Life food combining trend is meant to help with food satiation it made my hunger soar.
Fit for Life's food combining method
The Fit for Life's food combining method starts with eating fruits and fresh juices until noon. After, meals are combined so proteins and starchy carbohydrates are separated at meals. For example, I'd never eat a steak and potato together.
I'd have steak with non-starchy carbohydrates instead. The next meal would contain a potato and non-starchy veggies if I still want to eat a potato. A salad is also eaten with each meal. Fruits, especially melons, are never eaten with other foods. Dairy is excluded and fats are minimal.
Fit for life believes food combining allows enzymes to break down foods optimally.
On the brink of starvation
For me, the Fit for Life nutrition plan is very difficult. I believe in some of the principals Harvey recommends, but eating nothing but fruit in the early mornings left me hungry and grouchy. I was so hungry that I felt like my stomach was eating its way out of my body--Think Aliens with Sigourney Weaver.
After cross-referencing Harvey's book with The Food Combining/Blood Type Diet Solution by Dina Khader, M.S.R.D., I realized this program isn't the best for me. Khader specifically states, "Also, athletes who burn their calories rapidly would lose too much weight being strict food combiners." In my case, I wasn't losing weight, but gaining because I didn't eat enough calories to sustain my hunger from hard workouts. This caused me to binge by noon or 1:00 p.m.
Another problem I ran into is Fit or Life was created by a vegetarian. I care less that Harvey is a vegetarian, but I'm a meat eater, and found that I was even hungrier because I reduced my protein significantly. Unlike some bodybuilders, I don't believe in eating massive amounts of protein, but Fit for Life only recommends one protein meal per day.
I can't blame it all on food combining
Food combining is not conducive to my work schedule. The meals are made with whole foods so I don't have time to eat between personal training clients. I train seven clients back-to-back which means eating a salad, veggies and a starchy carbohydrate isn't happening. This is why I binged. Even after modifying the program, as Dr. Khader suggested, I realized it still was not enough food to sustain my needs.
However, if I worked in an office, sat at a desk and lived a sedentary life Fit for Life's food combining would work for me.
Bodybuilders and fitness athletes have the liberty of using their own music for posing and fitness routines. However, most natural organizations allow everyone competing to bring their own music, too. Although your music is your choice choose your music wisely. It sets the tone of your posing routine or stage walk. Your music dictates speed and personality on stage; as well as confidence. Unfortunately, it can also cause disqualifications.
The tempo of the music can dictate speed
In essence, most people walk/move fast to fast music. Females doing stage walks to fast, upbeat music usually walk with the music's tempo and forget to slow down and take their time on stage. There's nothing wrong with upbeat, fun music, but walking across the stage like a speeding bullet is not the look you want to establish.
Bodybuilders who choose music that is too fast do the same while posing. They pose too quickly, which makes it difficult for judges to see the posing and musculature on stage. Poses should be precise and crisp to enhance muscles, not detract from them because you're trying to keep up with music.
Here's example: Alien Ant Farm's version of "Smooth Criminal" is great, but can you keep up with it? Or, will you look like you're having a seizure instead?
[Click here for video "Smooth Criminal"]
Music brings out personality
Music is very personal, and a song that fits your personality accentuates it. A song that makes you feel good can make you feel great on stage. If the song is debatable, and you're not sure it fits your personality, choose a new song. There are millions of songs to choose from so don't feel obligated to a top 10 list.
If the music does not add to your confidence; it's time to ditch it, also.
Don't get disqualified over music
Just as music can create a great backdrop for a posing routine it can be the basis for disqualification. Music with profanity is inappropriate for the stage. Many competitors have families with young children in the crowd, and they don't want their kids to hear profanity. In fact, many adults don't care for profane music so stay away from it. It certainly won't help you in the long run.
Think twice before using certain songs
Some songs just seem out of place on stage. The posing may be just right, but the song doesn't fit in with its surrounding. For example, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" has been used on stage countless times, but it always seems out of place. If the music makes you feel out of place find another one.
New Year's Day has come and passed but hopefully you are following through with your New Year's fitness resolutions. However, if you're not sure how to get started on your New Year's fitness resolutions it's time use the available fitness tools at your disposal. What fitness tools are available?
Yesterday, while packing to leave work, a woman approached me and said, “You train my friend _____, and she looks fantastic. I saw her the other night and I could see all the changes,” pointing to her arms and shoulders. The compliment was flattering as a personal trainer, but I had to be honest with her. “I’d love to take all the credit, but I have to give credit where credit is due. I can only take credit for two hours a week; after that it’s her.” We continued the conversation for another moment and she was off to her workout, and I was out the door.
On occasion I speak to people who want to get in shape, but they think a work out must be for a full hour. They also assume that short stints of exercise are not as beneficial. However, exercise is a matter of minutes, and any exercise is better than no exercise. It's important to follow exercise guidelines to lose weight and get in shape, but learn to break the rules to exercise especially if you don't have time to work out. Not sure how to fit in your workout? Think of the phrase "divide and conquer."
Photo credit: Bare Necessities
When I train female clients, I tell them that I do not want to see an ounce of bounce during high intensity workouts. In other words; wear a good sports bra.
Some of my clients are very well endowed (up to K), while others are smaller. Regardless of size, it's important to "tame the beast" and keep bounce to a minimum. Because of this, I have been on the hunt for sports bras that minimize bounce, and have been able to find some that may be of interest to women who exercise.
Below you'll see three bra brands that got the thumbs-up from my clients, and me, who swear by the bras we wear.