A longtime client of mine recently asked me why I became a personal trainer. The question made me realize that the reasons I initially became a trainer are not the same reasons that I remain a personal trainer today.
You finally decided to join the millions of people who sign up for the gym each year. Let's be honest about the motivation surrounding your decision to join. You either joined because you want to or because you have to. What's the difference between the two?
Credentials– But This Doesn’t Necessarily Mean a “Personal Training Certification”. There are MANY Personal Training Certifications that are simply tests available online with no hands-on experience. Make sure the Certification involves actual hands-on training, such as a Diploma Certificate at a school. If their Certification doesn’t have a hands-on element, make sure they have experience shadowing or working with a top tier trainer. A Certification test with no hands-on, as well as no experience… we’d say this is a No-No.
Someone That Practices What They Preach. Your trainer should exemplify health and wellness in their own lifestyle- but this doesn’t mean they have to look like a fitness model! Eating whole foods, taking care of their body & mind, and getting some work-outs in is important.
Someone That Doesn’t Push Supplements On You. While some supplement recommendations can be helpful- most (if not all) are not regulated by the FDA. If your trainer is making money or receiving a discount/commission on something they recommend you take (such as an MLM company)- that is a red flag and something to be weary of.
Professionalism –A session with a trainer is not cheap, and the time they are training you is YOUR time. They should dress the part, show up on time, and take your session seriously.
Performs A Fitness Assessment On You- How would someone write a program for a client individualized for you if they haven’t assessed you? You should have filled out and answered questions from a Health History Questionnaire. Your trainer should have a good understanding on your current diet, typical daily regimen, and your general lifestyle. They should have assessed how you move, if you have any pain or injury, and of course- your goals. If needed, measurements should be taken. Your assessment should be extensive and thoughtful.
Continuing Education- Your trainer should always be learning and perfecting their craft. This is with any industry! Not only is it motivating for a trainer to learn new things, it keeps them current. As the fitness industry grows, there’s more and more information that comes out.
Makes Sure Your Workout Is Helping You Achieve Your Goals – Your workouts should progress with you, be planned ahead of time, and help you achieve your goals. Your workouts shouldn’t always be the same as their other clients, and they shouldn’t be for some cool Instagram content. If you asked your trainer “why are we doing this today”, they should have a clear answer for you.
They Don’t Use Big Words Just to Sound Fancy- Sometimes we will overhear (or see on Instagram) a trainer who will tell you all the muscles you are working, but when listening closely, we realize they aren’t making any sense. Trainers should be able to communicate in layman’s terms to make sense to the client. Just because the trainer knows all the big words, it doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. Make sure you ask for clarity if something doesn’t make sense to you.
By Chris C & Amy R
Flashback: It’s 9:53pm on a Thursday. There’s finally a more than 10-minute lull in my emails, and I try to sneak out of my office to go home for the day. I make it all the way to the hallway near the elevators before that ominous sound of my email alert goes off. “Buh-bum” I dread looking at it, knowing that it’s going to be more comments from my boss telling me to “pls fix” with 20 different action items for me to “complete ASAP” and put on his desk before the 9:00am client meeting the next morning.
Sound familiar to anyone? Well, that was my life four years ago working as a paralegal. Many of my friends have experienced this exact situation while working in the corporate world. Never seeing an end in sight, constantly working, and feeling like you’re not making a difference. I wasn’t happy, and I wanted to gain control of my own life and future. I wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives and actually look forward to going to work instead of dreading it.
Fast forward to today: Right now it’s 9:00pm on Thursday. I’m not at work, instead, I’m in Vermont on vacation enjoying the fall foliage, after having an awesome week full of training my clients. I now own my own personal training business, I have amazing clients that I train during the week and I fully control my schedule, my life and my future. How did I get here? Simple. AAPT.
Leaving a stable career path in the corporate world and going into the fitness industry can be a scary move. Are you going to make enough money to be financially comfortable? Are you going to get a job right away? Will you be able to have a good work-life balance? Those are all the things I thought about before I left my job. I did all the research and planning I could to ensure that the answers to those questions would be “yes” and much more.
AAPT gave me the education that I needed to learn about the body mechanics, training methodology, nutrition and hands on skills to become a great trainer, and they also provided me with the actual real-world knowledge I needed to be a great trainer. For example – AAPT taught me how to properly discuss sensitive fitness goals with potential clients that should be discussed in great care as to not upset or turn off a client. We also learned how to talk about financial or other obstacles you may encounter with new clients in an appropriate and professional manner.
Once I started working at a gym, I saw these issues a lot, and other trainers who did not attend AAPT could not navigate these challenges as easily as I had been taught, and it made me stand out among other trainers, making it much easier to obtain and keep clients. These things happen in the real-world, and you can’t learn that by just reading a book and taking a certificate test!
AAPT is a full-service school. I received physical and knowledge-based training skills, important business skills, and they host a career fair at the end of the semester that I immediately received a job from! AAPT gave me all the tools I needed to embark on my personal training career, and I am forever grateful for the skills I have learned, and the friendships (and networking contacts!) I have made while at AAPT.
By Natalie Shortsleeve
September 26, 2019