How to Be a Successful Personal Trainer

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Ask 100 trainers and you’ll get 100 different answers on how to be a successful personal trainer. What does it take to be a successful personal trainer? I believe it comes down to a small, yet very simple list. Here’s my list of five variables that will help you become a great trainer:

1- SHOW UP

As a new trainer, be prepared to Show Up early, and leave late. We take the unwritten oath that we train when are clients aren’t at work- 5am-7am and 5pm-8pm. A key factor in Showing Up is SHOWING UP ON TIME. In the military the saying goes, “if you are not 15 minutes early, then you are 5 minutes late.” This applies to everything in life. ALWAYS BE ON TIME. I hate people who are late, HATE. It has to do with the respect factor. Hands down, my least favorite students have ALWAYS been the ones who are late. Every time someone is late, I imagine the scene from Dumb and Dumber when he punches the sushi chef in the chest and rips out his heart. Shut up with your excuses, JUST BE ON TIME.

2- WORK HARD

As the country boy Chase Rice says, “Head Down, Eyes Up.” What is it with this shitty work ethic today? If you keep your head down, work hard, and keep your eyes on the prize, you’ll become successful in whatever you’re passionate about.  We need to stop quantifying awesomeness by telling people, “If you want to be a great trainer, you need to work 10-hour days.” Or the infamous, “In order to be an expert in your field, you need to amass 10,000 hours.” Sorry to burst your bubble, but there isn’t a magical hour that’ll pass and then WALLAH, you’re awesome. You need to SHOW UP, work your ass off and keep your eyes on your goals.

Somedays you may work 4-hours, while others, it’s 18- SO IS LIFE. Work hard, be proud and strive toward your goal. I’m not going to tell you to wake up at 4 am like I do; you need to find out what time works for you! (Check out Cal Newport’s book, “Deep Work.”)

At commercial gyms, your ass better be there when the doors open (usually 5am.) Grab a cup of Joe (bring one for your boss too) and be present with a big ‘ol smile. You need to be the most inviting person in the room. If you’re a buff dude or have a ton of tattoos, your smile and energy needs to be even higher. A gym is a scary place, so if your biceps are the size of the average LA dude’s legs, you need to smile your ass off so you don’t intimidate everyone.

Your next step is to be seen training ALL THE TIME. Develop your skills by training anyone and everyone. Until your book of business is full, you need to be training all the time, e.g., coworkers, family members, friends, baristas at Starbucks, bar tenders. If you’re that ass clown who’s always sitting around, or re-racking weights, people are going to think you’re a maintenance worker, not a trainer.

Walk up to inviting people and ask them if they’d like a free workout today? Creativity calms all nerves; so ask someone what’s the capitol of California? When they correctly reply (hopefully), congratulate them with a high-five while explaining they’ve just won a free personal training session that begins right NOW.

Let me reiterate, you need to consistently Show Up early and WORK HARD to be successful. Funny how those two factors are the keys to most successes in life. Be prepared to do this for a couple years. Until you’re completely confident in training any BODY, you need experience.

3- LOOK THE PART

Luscious locks, Check. Biceps larger than mountains, Check. Beard like Zeus, Check. Do you need to look like Country Thor to be the best personal trainer? No. BUT, if you want to be a successful trainer, you definitely need to look like you practice the part. Would you go to a dentist with jacked up teeth? NO WAY. Why would you train with someone who looks like they need a personal trainer? It’s a superficial world, get over it.

I’m sorry, but I’ve never had a client come to me asking to improve his or her personality. People want to have bigger asses, ripped abs, defined arms, and to look amazing naked. You have the opportunity to be a walking advertisement for potential clients, the least you can do is look the part of a fit pro.

4- KNOW THE PART

WITH THAT BEING SAID, our industry is inundated with vacuous trainers who look the part but have no clue how the human body works. In my opinion, knowing the part (kinesiology, bio-mechanics, nutrition etc,) is more important than looking the part. The average personal trainer gets certified via a weekend course, or even online, and considers themselves a professional- kiss my ass! If you can’t name AT LEAST 14 muscles around the shoulder joint, 30 muscles around the hip, and begin an initial workout with a thorough assessment, you deserve to be prosecuted! SERIOUSLY. There’s no governing body in personal training, where is Gym Cop when you need him?

5- TALK THE PART

If you can’t show the value of personal training, aka sales, then you won’t make it in this field. We have the best product in the world that prevents cancer, builds confidence, increases sex drive, and helps us look amazing naked- it’s called lifting heavy shit properly.

If you can’t convey the value of your product to your clients, you’re worthless as a rock. You will have your NEO moment when you fire your first client, and when your clients start showering you with gifts. You know how many bottles of whiskey, country concert tickets, bikes, and Texas Longhorn gear I’ve received from clients? When you show a client that they can achieve anything, you’re priceless. This all comes back to experience. You need to train your ass off, continue learning, helping as many people as you safely can, and you’ll soon understand the value in your services.

In order to be the best of the best in the personal training industry, you need to (in no particular order): SHOW UP, WORK HARD, LOOK THE PART, KNOW THE PART, and BE ABLE TO TALK THE PART.

There are a lot of people who could benefit from the ascribed person above. You owe it to yourself to start setting the norm for personal trainers by becoming that individual who has these five variables.

So, what’s holding you back? LET’R RIP! Take chances. No regrets. POSITIVE F&^%$#@ Mindset.