9 Fixable Mistakes Personal Trainers Make

Personal Training

9 Fixable Mistakes Personal Trainers Make

Whether you are just starting out as a personal trainer or have years of experience in the field, there are many potential pitfalls you could encounter along the way to success.

In the course of working hard to help clients improve their fitness, it’s possible to overlook a few things that could 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 mistakes to avoid.

1. Failure to Obtain a Medical History

Melissa Paris, founder of Melissa Paris Fitness, relays to The Huffington Post that trainers often neglect to obtain a medical history of health conditions and injuries for their clients.

It’s important to be aware of these issues before the training begins. For instance, if you discover your client has had heart incidents, you’ll know to keep an eagle eye on him or her and watch for signs of distress. In addition, if you find out he or she has a knee or shoulder injury, you can tailor the workout to avoid undue strain on that joint.

2. Lax Record-Keeping

Coach Michael Torres shares with the Personal Trainer Development Center that a frequent mistake is lax record-keeping.

Maintain documentation on your client’s blood pressure, number of repetitions of each exercise and general responses - this will help you keep track of gains.

3. One-Size-Fits-All Programs

Aside from adjusting an exercise program to accommodate medical problems, you will also want to individualize it to address a client’s fitness level, progress and personal goals.

A dyed-in-the-wool couch potato will need a much easier workout than that of a jogger. Also, since your clients’ physical capacities will vary, you will need to monitor 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.

4. Pushing a Client Too Far, Too Fast

Don’t push 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 in discomfort or just has a distaste for the activity. Remember that clients ultimately call the shots.

5. Poor Communication

According to the Australian College of Physical Educators, communication is a key skill for personal trainers.

Part of the job is to motivate your clients to be consistent with their workouts, so you will need to observe their personality traits and see how they respond. Positive reinforcement is also necessary to build clients’ drive and confidence and some will need extra encouragement to keep going.

You should also be able to provide education about healthy lifestyles and present the information in an easy-to-digest, friendly manner.

6. Unfocused Attention on Your Clients

Clients want to feel that they have your undivided attention, so eliminate anything that would distract you.

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.

7. Not Staying Within 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.

8. A Lack of Customer Service

Good customer service can make you stand out from other trainers in your area.

Be very involved with your clients and go the distance to make their fitness journey as pleasant as possible. Above all, respect their time by not being late for appointments.

9. Opting Out of Continuing Education

The National Federation of Personal Trainers reports that one of the biggest personal trainer mistakes is not taking advantage of continuing education.

One way to maximize your success is to stay up to date on the latest techniques by taking courses that increase your knowledge base. It will also help you stay on top of the latest developments in the fitness world.

Every personal trainer has made a mistake and later learned from it. In your opinion, what are the most important pitfalls to dodge?