I’m going to come straight out and say it. There are some TERRIBLE personal trainers out there. Conversely, there are some AMAZING personal trainers. You just need to look for them in the right places.
This is also true when it comes to accountants, lawyers, financial planners, doctors. It’s no different in the world of personal training. But you need to understand that the personal training industry is unregulated, and this means that anyone can become a trainer.A great personal trainer will be one of the best investments you ever make. A terrible trainer will be a complete waste of money and could potentially damage your relationship with fitness forever.Click To Tweet
Yes, that’s right, anyone and everyone who is willing to take your money can be a personal trainer. It’s a very scary thought.
For those “qualified” trainers, the path to becoming a personal trainer follows a typical timeline:
- Start training. See results.
- Speak to a personal trainer, take a few sessions. Get better results.
- Armed with new knowledge, develop a passion for the fitness industry.
- Start to train friends/family with the new wisdom.
- Decide you want to pursue personal training as a career.
- Qualify as a personal trainer.
Because the fitness industry is unregulated, the range of experience, education, passion, and professionalism of trainers can vary dramatically. Some people enter the industry at sixteen years old. Others start out in their fifties.
There are thousands of personal trainer qualifications to choose from, but the important thing to remember when hiring a personal trainer is that it doesn’t matter which qualification they do. They all do the same thing!
The personal trainer certification is just the start of a professional career. The difference between a good personal trainer and a great personal trainer is their continued passion for the industry. They have a commitment to ongoing further education and self-improvement.
This dedication and passion for improving one’s tradecraft are often what separates the trainers who survive the first eighteen months and those who do not. Personal training in the real world is very different from the theories and textbooks taught at a training school.
A great personal trainer will be one of the best investments you ever make. A terrible trainer will be a complete waste of money and could potentially damage your relationship with fitness forever.
To help ensure that you avoid making any costly mistakes, we’ve compiled our top five list of best practices and qualities you should look for in an online personal trainer.
Decide Exactly What You Want to Achieve
Hiring a personal trainer or online coach is all about you. It’s about putting your needs and requirements first. Many people lose sight of this when deciding to seek the help of a qualified trainer.
You simply cannot choose the right online trainer until you have some idea of what you would like to achieve. This process begins by writing down your ideal goal.
Are you trying to lose 100 lbs? Get below 10% body fat? Become more flexible? Are you looking to do your first triathlon, or are you trying to free yourself from chronic pain? Do you want to become a powerlifter or live a more pain-free athletic lifestyle?
It’s really important to have a clear goal in mind. Skipping this part could lead to the wrong pairing and prove to be a costly and frustrating mistake. You wouldn’t hire a baseball coach to get better at soccer, right? The same applies in the world of physical fitness. You need to choose a trainer or coach that specializes in the area you want to work on.
Once you have established your goal and defined a clear area of expertise, now it’s time to start looking for an online trainer. Every trainer is different. Each one has a specific skill set he/she brings to the table, but now, you’re armed with the mindset to find the right one for you.
By having clear goals and identifying the area of expertise you’re looking for, you are setting yourself up for long-term success.It’s really important to have a clear goal in mind. Skipping this part could lead to a costly and frustrating mistake.Click To Tweet
Establish If They Have a Proven System of Training
Now that you have set up proper expectations about what YOU want, you can start to create a short list of potential candidates. But how do you separate the good from the bad before even picking up the phone?
It’s time to do your research. With a list of potential candidates, scour their websites and dig a little deeper. The first question you need to ask is “What is their proven system of training”?
Look to see if their websites quickly identify the system of training they use. You need to look beyond testimonials and results. This is the fluff that’s great to see, but it doesn’t contain any genuine substance to show you HOW they help people get these results.
Systems and processes play a significant role in getting long-term fitness results. They serve as the trainer’s essential building blocks and support.
Hence, it is necessary for fitness professionals to incorporate them into their businesses. If you struggle to find their unique system of training, it will probably be because they don’t have one. Or maybe they do, but it’s stored in their brains. If that’s the case, then it’s just chaos.Using a systematic approach allows you to meet and exceed expectations.Click To Tweet
Speaking from experience, my system of training was in my head for a long time. It wasn’t until we started to grow the coaching team here at Strength Matters that I discovered we didn’t have a system at all. It was just a theory in my head. In fact, it was more chaos than theory.
Developing the coaching team forced me to develop a system that was written down. It was for all of us to use, follow, and adhere to—a system that would leave nothing to chance.
It was the best thing we ever did. Not only did we come together as a team, but we created a system to fall back on if things weren’t going right. Not only did it improve how the team worked, but it improved our ability to get results. We spoke the same language and continually refined the process.
Our coaching abilities improved, as did our results, and our members began using the same language that we use as coaches. Everyone was working together toward a common goal. Goal setting became clearer and easier for everyone involved.
A fitness training system allows you to grow as an individual. It enhances performance and helps implement strategic planning, creation, and execution.
Using a systematic approach allows you to meet and exceed expectations. It makes it easier to identify your strengths and weaknesses and monitor your progress. Thus, you are aware of what needs improvement and which needs aren’t being met.
Ensuring the efficiency and consistency of results, systems, and processes is essential. It’s why we put such a high value on finding trainers who follow a system.
Not only is it important for getting results, but trainers who follow a system have the capacity to reduce your long-term investment into your health. A good system stays with you for life.
To narrow down your list of potential trainers, you must do your research thoroughly. Determine if the trainer follows a proven system for getting results. If they clearly demonstrate this, you are likely to have found a highly professional trainer.
Determine If They Are Professional
By now, your list should be shrinking, and you have identified a number of great trainers. The next step is to determine the professionalism of each candidate.
There is nothing quite like being treated professionally. Unfortunately, the fitness industry has a reputation for lacking a certain level of professionalism that is commonplace in other industries. A professional trainer or coach speaks volumes about their ability to deliver their product or service.
Professionalism in the fitness industry is about the qualities and behaviors a trainer exhibits and the manner in which he/she conducts their business affairs.There is nothing quite like being treated professionally. Unfortunately, the fitness industry has a reputation for lacking a certain level of professionalism that is commonplace in other industries.Click To Tweet
True fitness professionals possess a number of important characteristics that can apply to virtually any type of business.
A professional is neat in appearance. Take your cue from the way they dress.
They should reflect confidence, not cockiness, be polite, and well spoken.
A fitness professional will be counted on to get results. Responding to people promptly and following through on promises in a timely manner demonstrates their reliability.
Professionals strive to become experts in their field, which sets them apart from the rest of the pack. Are they continuing their education by taking courses, attending seminars, and attaining any related professional designations?
Their phone etiquette is an important component of professional behavior.
During email correspondence, is the tone polite but formal? Are there spelling mistakes?
Professionalism isn’t something tangible. It takes many different forms, but it is something to think about before contacting your prospective trainer or coach.
With your list in hand, we recommend speaking to every prospective trainer on the phone. This is very important. By speaking to them over the phone, you can determine their level of professionalism and get a feel for their level of competence.
Treat this like dating. Just like dating, you may meet somebody who’s fantastic online and has all the right credentials. But, when speaking to them, they may not be a right fit for you, and that’s okay.
You’re looking to build a great relationship with your online trainer or coach, and it needs to feel right. We highly encourage you to go with your gut instinct.
Professionalism can speak volumes about the competence of your prospective trainer. Take your time and evaluate all areas of professionalism. We advise speaking to your prospective trainer over the phone before making any final decisions.
Do They Have a Great Reputation?
After narrowing down your list of potential candidates, determining the system each of the trainers employs and establishing the professionalism of each individual, it now comes down to reputation.
Reputation is the sum of all our actions that is reflected by the people around us in the way they treat us or interact with us. It is an indirect result of everything that we do.
It’s not enough to rely on testimonials and reviews posted on a trainer’s website. They can easily be doctored or fabricated, intentionally or not. They’re always going to have a bias.
You need to search beyond websites. Facebook and Google are great starting points for reviews. We’re a big fan of Trustpilot, too. Dig around. Do the research. Take time to read what people are saying about those on your short list. The good and the bad.
A trainer’s reputation will help you determine the right candidate. It is a measure of his or her influence. A trainer who enjoys a good reputation should definitely be preferred over a trainer with no reputation.It’s not enough to rely on testimonials and reviews posted on a trainer’s website. They can easily be doctored or fabricated, intentionally or not. They’re always going to have a bias.Click To Tweet
A good reputation requires consistency of effort and actions with character and grace. However, reputation shouldn’t be correlated with popularity. A person can be extremely popular (Facebook/Instagram), but it might be for all the wrong reasons. In this way, the reputation of a person separates them from the rest and makes them special.
Once you’ve done your initial online findings, go offline. Are you able to speak to past and present clients? What do they have to say? What was their experience? Most people are willing to share good and bad experiences of a company or trainer. You just have to ask.
But whatever you do, don’t mistake reputation with popularity.
Reputation is far more important than popularity. Look beyond Facebook and Instagram. Speak to past and present clients and members.
Commit and Take Action
You’ve got all the information in front of you, you’ve spoken to all the right people, and you’ve determined the trainer who has a proven system, a great reputation, and exudes professionalism.
Now, it’s time to take action. All of the prior discussion doesn’t really matter if you are not committed. When you hire a coach, your results come from your commitment level and the action that you take.
If you can’t commit, then maybe it is not the right time to look for a coach, or maybe you need to evaluate why you can’t commit. Remember that coaching is an investment in you, your health, and your life. Done successfully, it can significantly improve all three areas.
Done poorly, it will cost you time and money, and likely cause stress and additional frustration.Coaching is an investment in you, your health, and your life.Click To Tweet
Every Journey Begins With a Single Step
In every great movie, the hero embarks on a path that promises adventure, challenges, and finally, achievement. Often, the hero finds a guide that takes the hero under their wing and pushes the main character to his or her very limits. Just think, where would Luke be without Yoda? We are the stars of our own movies. And we all need that guide.
When it comes to fitness, a coach can be your personal guide to movie hero-type success, and your secret weapon. There are so many benefits to having a personal coach. I would go so far as to say that coaching is a prerequisite for achievement. Period.
Once you take that first step, you can achieve anything you want. The Strength Matters Steps to Living a Pain-Free Athletic Lifestyle won’t be easy, but they’re guaranteed to work if you follow them. And we’re here to guide you every step of the way. But it’s up to you to get started.
Are you ready?