What makes a great personal trainer?
Working as a personal trainer in DC, I have learned a lot about what to do to be a great personal trainer, but more importantly I have learned a lot about what not to do to be a great personal trainer. How have I learned this? Just by just watching others.
Over the 13 years that I have been in the fitness industry, I've seen every type of fitness fad, diet craze, and workout regimen you can imagine. I learned from some of the best trainers in the business, and as I gained more and more experience, I began to see common characteristics in these great trainers. More importantly, I began to notice these characteristics lacking in others.
The first attribute shared by these great trainers is sincerity. A great mentor of mine once told me that every one of your clients should feel that they are your only client. A personal trainer needs to gain their client's trust in order to have a successful working relationship. Being sincere will help you gain that trust. People need to believe that you have their best interest in mind and want to help them achieve their goals.
The second attribute of a great trainer that I observed was that they never wanted to stop learning. You would see them taking a fitness class, reading a nutrition book, or getting another certification. Knowledge breeds confidence. I saw them handle any situation that came their way because they were ready. A great trainer also knows when to say "I don't know". It's important to share your knowledge of exercise and nutrition with your clients, but it's just as important to say when you don't know something. A client will appreciate honesty, and it will actually help to build a trusting relationship.
The third attribute of a great trainer is a passion for fitness. Over the years, I saw trainers who were excited about helping people achieve their goals and would take each session as a challenge. You could see it in their eyes, you could hear it in their voice, but most importantly, you saw it in their clients, both physically and emotionally. Their attitude was infectious. I saw many trainers who treated their clients like just another hour in the day or just another dollar in their pocket, and it was a shame.
Finally, every great trainer doesn't just talk the talk, but also walks the walk. The great trainers that I observed worked out and took care of their bodies. They challenged themselves with new techniques to find new and exciting ways to challenge their clients. They exercised and ate right. They weren't perfect, none of us are, but they kept their focus and stayed on the right path no matter what obstacle stood in their way. They tried to be the best example they could be for their clients.
I think all of these attributes make for a great personal trainer, and I strive to model them in my own practice and work. They not only make for a great personal trainer, but I believe they are also a recipe for a successful personal training business and happy, satisfied clients.
If you are looking for a personal trainer, be sure to look for some of these qualities in the person you choose. You deserve the best.