Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Characteristics of a Great Trainer::::::::::Article By Bryen:::::::::::

Many times in our professional careers we as trainers get caught up on a lot of things.  Getting people to classes. Building your client listing. Thinking about new endeavors and new blog posts.  Being competitive with other gyms and being leaders in your own market.  But....have you noticed something? None of that is about the client.  None of that is actually HELPING your client achieve their goals.  Isn't that why we went into fitness? To help other people achieve their goals?

When we look at ourselves it is common practice to realize that we are not doing a good job of servicing our clients.  We get so caught up in the rat race of being better than every other gym/boot camp/yoga studio/training studio that we don't focus on how to make our clients better. Shouldn't we focus on that versus "what everyone else is doing." If you are doing these things, you will be successful.  Because I am not a hater and I don't hate any other fitness professional, even though it is one of the most RUTHLESS industries in the world.  I will share with you some of the things I have seen along the way that will help you as a fitness professional that cross all disciplines.

5.  Realizes Clients fitness level, limitations, and abilities.

-How do you know where to take your client if you don't know what their starting point is? Do your assessment of their overall health.  Don't "pre-determine" what they can or can't do.  Have exercises ready for them, but more importantly on your first session with them have alternate exercises...BOTH ways...whether progressing them or regressing them on fear of injury.

4. Creates An Enjoyable (stress-free) Fitness Training and Learning Environment

-Who wants to train in a stressful environment...show of hands....??? I didn't think so.  Now this is dependent upon your class and your clients.  I used to work at a gym locally and there were guys that threw the weights and grunted the entire time.  The client that I was training at the time was a small housewife just trying to be in better shape.  I could tell that she was uncomfortable with the guys YELLING so i made a joke that one of the guys had asthma to make her laugh a little bit.  Then when it was unbearable I took weights with me to another part of the gym to substitute the workout.  It wasn't on "my" agenda to train there, but I could tell it would make the client more comfortable...which will make her more focused...which will make her more motivated.  This is important.

3. Acknowledges Clients gains and triumphs

-My life is pretty much an open book to my clients.  They have access to me almost 24 hours a day.  Nothing makes me feel better than a text a 11:00pm on a Saturday saying "Bryen thank you for helping me get into these jeans I used to wear in college"....or "I haven't been this size since before I had my baby".....it's kind of like the old saying of if you love someone you show it instead of just saying it.  Tag them in a Facebook post telling you how proud you are of them.  Tweet out that you want to be like them when you grow up.  This not only adds a little bit to your personality as a trainer, but this shows your dominance in the industry amongst your peers and potential clients.  This is about your client...not about yourself...but others take notice. Which brings me to my next point....

2.  Demonstrates Sincere Care and Support

-Do you actually "care" about your clients? What did they do today?....What do they do on Wednesdays? Do you know that they went to a bike rally this past weekend? Do you know that this weekend is their Bachelorette party so they may be susceptible to cheating on their diets for their wedding? Do you know that this is the busy season of their job, so you need to take extra care of them? Do you even KNOW what their wedding date is? Don't you think that may help you train them? The answer...is....YES.  If I paid a trainer to have me ready for a photo shoot and I gave him/her the date of the photo shoot...that's part of my goal...so dammit I expect them to know what my goal is. This bubbles up to the final determinant and characteristic of being a good trainer.

1. Motivates Clients to attain goals

-This includes helping clients to overcome barriers.  What are barriers? Barriers can be ANYTHING.  Lack of energy, lack of time, poor health, self consciousness about appearance and/or self worth.  with elderly clients it could be the fear of falling doing an exercise and hurting themselves.  But it is YOUR JOB as their trainer, as their friend, and as their consultant to MAKE THOSE BARRIERS GO AWAY.  This is the most important thing because as trainers we all know that getting people out of their comfort zone is the easiest and BEST way to change their body. But changing habits is a hard thing, and therein lies the conundrum of fitness.

Bad trainers say "well that's just how they are and it's not going to change"...GOOD trainers say "what is the root cause for this behavior.  Why do they not want to use dumbbells"--EXAMPLE: A common "thing" of female clients (not to lump you guys in a solitary bucket) is "I don't want to get bulky"....not understanding that it is impossible for a woman to get bulky unless she is taking steroids or some serious Human Growth Hormones (HGH aka the Barry Bonds Diet). So how do you overcome this?

Trick...the hell...out of her.  Give her examples of some celebrities and ask her who/what she wants to look like.  Kim K/Sofia Vergara/Cameron Diaz, and then when she says "yes I want to look like them"...then you say "ok well they use weights....7 days a week...so that's not bulky right"...That is how you get to the root cause and the "aha" moment happens with your clients.  But if you didn't take the time or care to figure out where their head was at with that detail you wouldn't be able to get that breakthrough.

I have motivated my clients in so many different ways.  Sending them photos of their wedding dresses, doing their diets with them, Getting rid of their "I don't have time" barrier by helping them find a personal chef to make healthy food for them...going to their house and throwing out all of the bad food in their house...are just some of the examples.  Did it help me out...no not really....was there a competitive advantage I gained from it...nope...Did I charge them extra for it because it was "outside of my normal services"...no.  You know why? Because just as I expect my clients to have a "whatever it takes" attitude.  I expect to hold myself to that same  regard.  So if it takes me dieting with you.  I'll do it.  If it takes me ransacking your house..I'll do it....the emphasis is and always should be on your client and not your own successes.  Focusing on your client will make other potential clients focus on you.

-Over and Out-


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