What is currently happening in our fitness society is an ongoing challenge among personal trainers for acquiring as much new information as they can acquire. Their objective is clearly to keep their knowledge as up to date and as thorough as possible through scientific researches and continuing education courses.
Why update their knowledge? Most of them do it for attracting more clients and raising their income. But unfortunately a significant number of trainers don't know the minimum requirements for working efficiently with their clients and forego small details which should be followed if they want to provide them with the best services and earn a good reputation. Adapting these tips is a good way to improve and to attract more clients.
The Behavior Of A Personal Trainer...
A personal trainer must be present in the gym a good ten minutes ahead of time for the following reasons:
- Reviewing the program.
- Preparing the materials.
- Arranging substitutes for some exercises if some machines were out of order or occupied for long periods.
A personal trainer must assure that his clients obtain the right warm-up before getting to resistance training. During this interval, communication plays a crucial role and serves to detect if the client had an injury during the past days or hours following the last session 1. Also, you can find out if he is suffering from fatigue. This will avoid problems or injuries that could appear during or after the session.
Make sure that he is mentally prepared for the session and try to find his degree of motivation through many questions you can ask for example:
- "Do you carry a positive mind-set into your training sessions and performances?" 2
- "Today we will learn a new beneficial technique/system, are you ready to do it?"
If he is not motivated you must create the essential good mood and stimulation to make the session a successful and fruitful one.
There are many methods for motivating him including verbal encouragement:
- "Today your muscles look healthier than the day of your last session!"
- "Your lifting technique or movement execution has improved!"
- "Look at yourself how you were performing before, and how you are now!"
Discuss with him the program for the current session including short term goals, body parts being worked, techniques, and intensity.
Ask him what he ate before coming and at what time, so if he suffers of low energy levels during the session, you will bring him back to his nutrition plan and teach him the importance of what to eat before and after training with the proper timing.
During the session, simplify or make your explanation brief to avoid confusion or waste of time and annoyance. Do not expect from your client to do the exercise 100 percent correctly from the first time. Simply make sure that he is performing safely, and little by little he will be able to perform perfectly.
If it is the first time that the client comes, do not force him to breath correctly, in other words inhale on the eccentric portion of the movement and exhale on the exertion part; simply tell him to do so and make sure that he is inhaling and exhaling in every exercise. Soon he will do it unconsciously. So give him a chance to make it a habit and not a matter to always think about. Don't be afraid from Valsalva maneuver; it takes effect only if he holds his breath or doesn't breathe at all. 3
If your client feels tired and you think that your program may lead him to overtraining, simply increase his resting time or change the routine to an easier one; inversely, if he feels very energetic decrease resting time. If you want to be a leader in this business, DON'T CAUSE AN INJURY to your client. If you want to increase the volume and load of training, do it wisely.
If your client dislikes an exercise, don't obligate him to do it, instead move quickly to an identical movement but with another device or equipment.
Make your client avoid distractions with other members trying to build social relationships, this could increase rest time and ruin the program and goals.
Spotting must be practiced regularly by the trainer to gain experience in it because it is something that needs professional touch particularly with heavy weights. When your client holds a certain weight, make sure that he is controlling the grip and has a proper hold. Fix its position if needed. Also encourage him when lifting heavy weights, help with forced repetitions and certainly don't be distracted within this whole process.
After the session, make sure that you stretch his muscles, and give him a relaxation technique or provide him with an alternative, such as Jacuzzi. And for sure do not forget to tell him to eat and rest well in order to recover for his next sessions.
Don't forget to ask him about his impression before leaving. Also encourage him by saying: "You did well today!", "You muscles look much better after workout!"...
My last word to all personal trainers who will be using these tips is to stay close to small details that distinguish you from uncertified and unprofessional trainers who are found in all areas trying to infiltrate this business, and who lower the esteem of this profession in regards of some people. Remember, we, as personal trainers should strive to maintain and project an impeccable image of proficient and successful professionals, for both our own benefit as well as that of the industry.
- Frederick Hatfield, Ph.D., Fitness: the complete guide, International Sports sciences Association, 2001.
- In Pursuit of Excellence, How to win in sport and life through mental training, Terry Orlick, Ph.D., Human Kinetics, 2000.
- Steven Fleck, Ph.D., William Kraemer, Ph.D., Designing Resistance Training Programs, Second Edition, Human Kinetics, 1997.
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