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Personal Trainers Teaching Success!

Although it is not my intention to discuss the difference between work, movement and exercise in this article people tend to confuse the first two as engaging in fitness.

People make excuses NOT to move. A mother telling her son to come outside, run down the stairs and close the garage door so she doesn't have to get out of the vehicle and take a few steps to shut the garage herself is but one of many common excuses people make NOT to move. Although it is not my intention to discuss the difference between work, movement and exercise in this article people tend to confuse the first two as engaging in fitness.

People are fatter and less fit than they were 15 years ago in America because they move less and eat more because of convenience and overabundance. Personal trainers, fitness experts and athletic competitors are all representatives of human movement at its best to initiate change. What makes them similar is that they all have a plan or routine that keeps them moving, feeling good, changing and forever ALIVE.

The Five Pillars

Personal trainers must possess these five (5) pillars to teach success. These are: personal experience, education, practical exercise knowledge, fitness passion and a mark of confidence.

1. Having a degree in exercise science or related field (although beneficial) and certified with a national fitness organization (required) does not guarantee the trainer is credible or will be successful.

However, being committed to human movement and exercise is to possess this education and the responsibility to share it with others using normal everyday language, which can enable the personal trainer to become a reliable and credible source for professional information that is readily usable. Talk about referrals by word of mouth!

2. The personal trainer must possess the personal experience by having something to show or demonstrate regarding the interest in making fitness happen in his or her life.

3. The personal trainer must possess basic exercise knowledge in nutrition, cardiovascular fitness and weight training by teaching or administering macronutrient ratios, target heart rate or training zone, body fat test analysis, and weight training fundamentals.

4. The motivational drive that inspires the personal trainer to exercise and reach over and above his or her goal(s) and to help the client the same is to possess personal fitness passion. Ask the trainer his or her training goals for the year. If the trainer possesses no passion or does not have any fitness goals for the year re-think about hiring him or her to help you. Question his or her motivation behind for being a personal trainer. After all, it's your investment and your time!

5. The personal trainer must possess confidence in his or her own abilities marked by any personal or professional accomplishments in the fitness industry, which can help solidify his or her credentials such as athletic competitions, contributing training and nutrition articles for magazines or .com's, his or her own .com website, authoring a book, professional associations with fitness organizations, etc.

The Six Service Steps

To be a successful personal trainer follow these unfailing six (6) service steps:

1. Be empathetic when evaluating members or clients personal fitness. Give them what they NEED but at the same time give them what they WANT so they feel comfortable with you and your prescription for their fitness. You will WIN their trust and the chance of succeeding in their fitness goals will be enhanced.

2. While conducting your fitness consultation and if your club or personal trainer's insurance concedes strongly advise a body fat analysis test NOT TO DETERMINE how fit or fat the member or client is (If they are over-fat they probably already know that!

They don't need a professional to remind them!), but to determine at least minimum protein intake, that is, if they are not under the supervision or care of a licensed nutritionalist or registered dietician.

Or you can provide a recommended calorie goal and review each profile ratio from the chart in Figure 1.1 the member or client falls into based on customary eating habits. From that do the math accordingly and provide their grams in protein, carbs and fat! See my article Diet by the Numbers to assist you in doing the math.

Figure 1.1

Profile Protein Carbohydrate Fat
1 15% # 75% 10%
2 20% 60% 20%
3 * 20% 55% 25%
4 20% 55% 25%
5 25% ^ 45% 30%

    * Profile 3 is the average profile type. Profile 1 is an individual who prefers to    ingest mostly carbohydrates. Profile 5 is typical of a person who prefers    meats and fats than carbohydrates.
    Try to stay within 5% of ideal percentages.
    ^ It is recommended not to exceed 30% protein from total calories.

3. From your fitness consultation you should know how fit or unfit the member or client is, what kind of fitness program they need (and want), how long it will take them until they grasp your recommended training program and how committed or consistent they will be to themselves.

All this will give you an idea of how many personal training sessions they should invest in and how many days a week they need to work with you - not to make money for yourself but to help them with exercise consistency and having fun doing it until they are able to move on by themselves without your help!

4. Keep your client exercise routine EASY and SIMPLE to follow. Most exercise routines you create should be a well-rounded basic beginner, intermediate or even advanced routine to follow, but tailored to suit their wants. Remember, as a professional trainer your job is to teach movement and to keep this movement embedded in their lifestyle!

Teaching basic compound movements like the chest press or arm curls is a necessity! Do not teach what you recently learned from your latest certification class or an unnecessary exercise that is not worth doing to impress your pretentious knowledge. The member or client will judge you based on HOW WELL you have helped them, not how much you know or think you know.

5. Make the client's training program personalized, neat and organized so it can be EASILY followed. Many trainers rely on their club's exercise routine format or pencil in their own routine on college ruled paper and give that to their clients. It only ends up looking messy and confusing. Some trainers seemingly make up their own names for exercises to impress their clients but it only makes it more confusing to follow even for the new trainer when the client of the former trainer has questions on it!

6. Inform your client how many sessions it will take to get through the whole training program and how many sessions you recommend to grasp the training program to insure they will stay committed! The worse that can happen is that they will say "No" but recommending what they need (number of sessions, number of sessions per week, etc) is the best you can expect from yourself as a personal trainer. In my Mindful Athleticism article I talk about this type of member or client:

"Well-meaning fitness enthusiasts wanting to become fit when in fact they do not is because they: (i) Lack personal passion, (ii) Accept to be guided by reason other than their own, and (iii) Refuse an unfailing plan that is most appropriate for them."

Forming new and healthier habits are difficult for most people. So don't hold it against them if they decide not to accept your help. It is unfortunate people do not realize a personal trainer's challenge and gratification is changing and saving lives!

Copyright © 2002 Randy M. Herring