Whether you are just starting out as a personal trainer or have years of experience in the field, there are a few pitfalls you might encounter on the road to success.
Since trainers devote most of their focus on helping clients improve overall fitness, it’s possible to overlook implementing a few simple tactics that can help boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. While it’s easy to fall into some of these pitfalls, they are all easy to correct. Here is a list of the most common trainer mistakes to avoid.
Lack of Communication
According to the Australian College of Physical Educators, communication is a key skill for personal trainers.
Since a major part of the job is providing motivation to clients, you will need to observe how a client responds to certain forms of communication (e.g. do they respond best to a firm or an upbeat enthusiastic tone) and determine the best way to offer positive reinforcement.
You should also try to present the healthy living and fitness information in an easy-to-digest, friendly manner.
Lack of Record-Keeping
Coach Michael Torres, who offers training advice on the Personal Trainer Development Center website, notes that a frequent trainer mistake is lax record-keeping.
It’s important to maintain documentation on your client’s workouts, general health (blood pressure, heart rate), and performance. This will help you make sure your client is staying healthy and making gains.
Not Obtaining a Medical History
Melissa Paris, founder of Melissa Paris Fitness, told The Huffington Post that trainers often fail to obtain new clients’ medical and injury histories, which are critical for understanding how to proceed with training.
For instance, if you discover your client has heart issues, you’ll know to keep an eye out for signs of distress during exercise. Similarly, if you discover that your client has had a knee or shoulder injury, you can tailor the workout to avoid undue strain on that joint.
Taking a “One Size Fits All” Approach
In addition to tailoring an exercise program to accommodate medical problems, you should also personalise it to address a client’s current fitness level, progress and personal goals.
A lesser conditioned person will need a much easier workout than someone who has been exercising consistently for years. Also, since your clients’ physical capacities will vary, you should keep a close eye on their progress and recommend appropriate regressions and progressions. If a client has some very specific goals, choose an approach that will help him or her achieve the desired results.
Lack of Customer Service
Good customer service can make you stand out from other trainers.
Being involved in your clients’ fitness journeys will make the experience more pleasant and will help to increase their loyalty to you and their fitness program.
Pushing Too Far, Too Fast
Don’t push your clients so far that they won’t want to come back, Paris warns.
If a client wants to stop, you will need to determine if he or she is experiencing pain or discomfort, or just has a distaste for the activity. Remember that clients ultimately call the shots.
Lack of Attention on Your Clients
Clients want to feel that they have your undivided attention, so eliminate any distractions.
Wait until the fitness session is over to check your cell phone and avoid eating in front of clients. Be present and coach your clients through each step.
Going Outside Your Limits
It’s wise to limit your clients to those whose goals and desires fall within your expertise.
If you don’t feel qualified to train a potential client in a special program, refer them to a trainer who has experience and/or certification in that area. Focus on the types of training wherein you excel.
Not Furthering Your Education
The National Federation of Personal Trainers in the U.S. reports that failing to take advantage of continuing education credits is one of the biggest mistakes committed by trainers.
An easy way to increase your success is to take courses that increase your knowledge base. It will also help you stay on top of the latest developments in the fitness world.
What mistakes have you learned from as a personal trainer?