One client at a time! Our industry, much like our world, is transforming at an accelerated rate.
The fitness industry, as you know, is relatively unregulated, unorganized, and at times even divided. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this dynamic:
• For better or worse, it is relatively easy to become a personal trainer. Standards for personal training and best practices are not well established.
• There are a lot of experts, organizations, and certifications to learn from; this is great, but can make picking the right educational path overwhelming.
• Because of the first 2 facts, the quality, style, integrity, and knowledge of personal trainers vary wildly, affecting our collective credibility and image among the public.
There are signs of more integration and collaboration, which is great, and we can expect to see the whole industry and fitness profession moving in this direction. There is a greater understanding of the preventative power of a healthy lifestyle, and fitness professionals are at the forefront of expanding this awareness. And the world needs preventative health, the fitness profession, and lifestyle information more than ever!
To help push the fitness industry forward the following professions should come together and collaborate:
• Personal Trainers & Athletic Trainers
• Wellness & Lifestyle Coaches
• Yogis & Massage Therapists
• Group Fitness Instructors & Boot Camp Leaders
Together, we should lead by example, and commit ourselves to meeting the following standards consistently:
1. Constantly increasing our skills and abilities, to create more value and results for our clients.
2. Holding ourselves and our clients to the highest standard.
3. Taking a holistic approach to education that includes consistently increasing our exercise knowledge, interpersonal skills, & business acumen.
4. Comprehensively addressing our client’s health and fitness needs, referring out when necessary, and creating a network of health professionals to support our client’s diverse needs.
5. Utilizing exercise to transform their client’s mind, body and life.
6. Making personal empowerment, self-accountability, and lifestyle change a corner stone of our business model.
In addition, we should also:
1. Collaborate with each other to establish best practices, better integration of knowledge, and push the standards of the fitness industry up.
2. Target specific populations that need our health the most, and work together to find comprehensive solutions (the obese, children, the poor).
3. Create greater communication and integration between fitness professionals and other health professionals (physical therapists, doctors, psychologists, etc.)
4. Transform our cultures understanding of health and disease in relation to fitness and lifestyle, on both a larger scale and one client at a time.
5. Rightfully reclaim (from the medical/pharmaceutical industry) holistic fitness as the best solution for happy, healthy, disease free living.
By committing ourselves to these standards, we know that we can accomplish great things and a higher standard of service for the fitness profession.
Precision, Professionalism, and Skills
Personal Trainer Skills
In order to overcome the stereotype in the minds of people (the rep counting, skimpy spandex outfit wearing, vane personal trainer), we must uphold ourselves to a high standard and be precise!
When will we be as respected as, say, a surgeon? When we wield our tools (exercise programs and our words) as precisely as a surgeon wields the scalpel.
So how do we become that precise? By increasing our knowledge and skills!
We all know how important education is for our industries credibility, our client’s success, and our career stability. Our client’s come to us looking for leadership; but our job as leaders is to create more leaders, not followers.
The following is an incomplete list of knowledge and skills broken down into 3 categories. Feel free to make some suggestions in the comments and I will add them in. You don’t have to master everything! In fact, that is impossible.
You want to focus on the things you are passionate about and good at, but you need to be aware of and accomplished in the other skills so that you are well rounded. Most gaps in your knowledge can be covered by developing a network of health professionals.
A) Exercise Science
4. Program Design
B) Interpersonal Skills
1. Communication Skills
2. Customer Service Skills
3. Psychological/Motivational Skills
4. Leadership Skills
C) Business Skills
1. Marketing Skills
2. Organizational Skills & Systems
3. Sales Skills
4. Professionalism & Policy
5. Entrepreneurial Skills
And if we are going to provide the most value to our clients, we must be passionate about learning and dedicate ourselves to the study of many topics.
“Those who love wisdom must investigate many things.” Heraclitus
Many trainers are uncomfortable with the final skill set, developing business skills, self-promotion, and sales. But these are the very tools that will allow us to help more people, and if we don’t reach them, other average or below average trainers will be getting their message in front of them.
• Providing them with misinformation.
• Creating a cycle of dependence.
• Perpetuating those fitness myths that will just not go away!
So we are in the business of not only empowering our clients and getting them in shape, but also in the business of mass education. And by raising the public’s understanding, they will be better able to make decisions about exercise, and be a lot less likely to train with bad trainers. By raising the bar and pushing the standards up, we can redefine what it means to be a fitness professional:-)
If you are having trouble developing your business skills (sales, self-promotion, marketing, etc), you should check out our “Personal Training Business Software” and join the cut the line list so you can be the first to use it when it comes out.
You may not agree with everything above, and that is totally cool. Not every fitness business should be the same and I would love to hear what you think of these standards and if there is anything you think that is missing.
Leave me some questions in the comments and I will get right back to you. SHOW ME YOU ARE ALIVE!