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10 Steps to Becoming a Great Personal Trainer

One of the most critical mistakes newbie personal trainers make is thinking that it’s going to be a walk in the park – that once they have the necessary certification, throngs of clients will be lining up for their esteemed services.

Unfortunately, with so many fitness coaches and personal trainers out there – some already well-established and a lot more struggling – you really have to bring your A-game if you want to survive.

Here are 10 steps you have to follow if you want to be considered among the best of the best.

1. Focus on Your Client

You may have your fitness idol to thank for inspiring you to fulfil your dream of becoming a personal trainer. However, you need to understand that you’re doing this not for them but for your clients. Your clients and their referrals will be the ones who help you establish and build your fitness and personal training business. This also means that the fitness programs you design should be done for your clients and your clients only – no peacocking or showing off.

2. Seek Guidance

While you may be designing programs for your clients, it also pays to keep drawing inspiration from the masters of fitness. Ask for mentorship and learn everything you can about the ins and outs of managing your entire business.

3. Show Integrity in What You Say and Do

If you are into health and fitness, then you should be able to back it up. If you want your clients to be eating healthy, then you should be eating healthy as well. If you want them to be disciplined and focused in their fitness goals, then you should be able to show the same level of commitment and dedication you expect from them. There is nothing more frustrating than having someone tell you what you need to do yet they themselves fail miserably at doing it. You have to walk the walk.

4. Strive for Your Goals

Be clear about your own goals. Write them down and make a plan for how to get there within a specific period of time. For example, since you’re just beginning, you’ll have to work your butt off at gaining clients. This means you have to seriously consider how you can spread the word about your services to as many individuals as you possibly can.

5. Capitalise on Your Strengths

Knowing your strengths can help you define the kind of personal trainer or fitness coach you want to be. Do you see yourself as naturally charismatic? A natural-born leader? Can you make very interesting videos complete with a great selection of music? Are you an excellent marketer? Do you know load of information about sports nutrition? How about your ability to strike up a conversation? Some of these may be considered soft skills but they do matter a lot in the long run.

6. Coach “Influencers”

One of the best ways to really make it to the top of the chain is to get connected with at least one very influential client, someone with a large base of followers or who has an impeccable reputation. If you can net one of these people and are able to establish a healthy professional relationship with him or her, the association will almost always be enough to guarantee you a slot with the big players in the industry.

7. Strive to Deliver More than Expected

Always under-promise and over-deliver, and never ever promise something that you cannot achieve. To do so, you will have to really work closely with your client in the development of his fitness goals. This is very important, as you are effectively teaching your client to have realistic aspirations and empowering them to be in full control of their fitness regimen.

8. Coach Friends for Free

What better way to get known than to coach your friends for free? If they honestly believe that you’re doing a great job at personal training, they’ll do your word-of-mouth marketing for you. If they get their friends involved, give them a discount or perhaps a small freebie for trying your service, and everyone’s happy!

9. Continue Evolving

Never stop learning. If you want to dominate your craft, you have to constantly up your game and create a unique brand of fitness coaching that your clients know you for. This is only possible if you keep on pushing yourself to become better every single time.

The best way to keep improving is by continuing your professional education. You’ll have done fitness instructor courses and your Level 3 Personal Trainer Certificate already, but there are many ways to specialise, whether it’s by teaching kettlebells, focusing on those with lower back pain, or moving into sports massage. This could be the USP that makes your business take off.

10. Care for Your Clients

The whole idea of personal training and fitness coaching is for you to make a significant impact on the lives of your clients. You need to show them that you’re more motivated by the opportunity to help them lead healthier and happier lives. When they realize that you’re after their welfare and not just their money, they will open up and begin trusting you. This is the foundation of great personal training and fitness coaching.

If you follow these steps, you’ll have a fighting chance at becoming a great personal trainer. It takes time to reach the top, but never forget that it’ll be worth it.

Paul Stainthorpe Signature

About Paul Stainthorpe

Running has been part of my life since 2011. While growing up I hated running and would do anything to avoid it at school. Give me a ball and a racket any day. It’s funny how some things change. I run for good. In 2012 I ran the 12 Days of Christmas for the Percy Hedley Foundation. In 2013 I attempted (with friend Lee Nyland), the 12 parkruns of Christmas for the Tiny Lives Trust.


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