Here we are. The last installment of my 20 Tips series. Since the RPS meet a few weeks ago, I have been crazy busy with the holidays and getting some new clients going so I haven’t been able to get on here as much as I would have liked. With that said, I want to finish up this series with a few other things you young guns may not have thought of. If you didn’t catch the first 15 tips, check them out here https://bnurn53.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/20-tips-for-the-rookie-trainer-part-1/, https://bnurn53.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/20-tips-for-the-rookie-trainer-part-ii/, and https://bnurn53.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/20-tips-for-the-rookie-trainer-part-iii/. Without further adue…
16) Get a quality gym bag
Here’s a little tid bit no one ever told me. Working in a commercial gym, you, inevitably, will not have access to every piece of equipment you will need for most training sessions. For example, my facility has a single half rack, $60 bars, no bumpers, little to no bands, a minimum number of SMR tools etc. As you progress through your career you will most certainly add to your collection of little toys and gizmos and you need a place to keep them so they are readily available for every session. When I first started, I brought my York OLY training bar, my collection of bumpers, bands, lax balls, rollers etc. and left them at the gym. While the bar and bumpers would be tough to walk out of the gym with, everything else was gone by the second week. I have, as you will, come to realize that most general fitness enthusiasts possess little respect. There is a lack of respect for the facility, the equipment, other gym goers and for the path that every person in the facility shares. Therefore, shit goes missing! The only way to prevent this, unfortunately, is to invest in a high quality, big ‘ol bag. The bigger the better. I have gone through three bags thus far because I stuff 3 pairs of shoes, bands, balls, PVC, sticks, extra clothes, chalk, straps, assessment tools, a clipboard and even glucose tabs in and carry it everywhere I go. Instead of hoping for an Elitefts band sale to come every 4 weeks because your bands went missing, invest the $70+ and save yourself money and aggravation in the long run.
17)Get current clients to commit to frequency
I figured this one out by myself, and it has literally kept me afloat during the slow times…and you will have slow times. As I have said before, you have to take every client that comes your way in the beginning. The average client trains 1-2 times per week for 60 minutes with a few actually committing to three. Four is almost unheard of except for in the super wealthy. Keep in mind that personal coaching 3x a week will eventually come to close to $1,000 per month. Depending on what options your facility offers in terms of packaging and duration, you can be left with multiple clients committing to one 30 minute session per week. From experience, this will drain you like you cannot believe. The effort that goes into your commitment to this client is, in my opinion, not worth the $15 or so you will get paid per session. Many clients will insist that they are not ready for an hour or 2-3 days per week. You know this is not true and you need to reassure them that proper progressions will be utilized. Unfortunately, most people think they are signing up for 60 minutes of ass whooping burpees and box jumps. If that is your idea of a training session for any client let alone someone you are just starting out with, I’m not sure how you read this far into this series. Typically, your focus will be on getting in front of as many people as possible and signing them on for whatever you can get out of them. I offer that there is a better way. As I always preach quality over quantity, think of this in terms of your time and effort with your clients. Is it easier to get 3 current clients, who are already sold on your experience, training two 30 minute sessions a week to commit to two 60 minute sessions a week (double your current income from these sessions) or find 3 new clients to commit to two 30 minute sessions to double your income. The answer is simple, hopefully. As you become more comfortable in your business, I would suggest steering clear of those dead set on training half hours, one time per week or both. These individuals will normally not see the results they want and probably won’t stick around for long because of it. Remember, your clients are walking billboards for your product. Of course some individuals genuinely cannot afford to commit to more than they are currently training and that is fine. If you have people training half hours, see if they will move to hours. If you have people training one or two times per week, see if they would like to try three for increased results. You can always come back if they don’t think its working out. Often times, I’ll pick a month with a client (maybe right before summer or something) where they may want to kick it up into high gear and add a session per week just that month. The options are endless, as long as its right for you and your clients. Get creative when it comes to increasing your revenue.
18) Don’t hate on other Trainers
We all go through it. We spend so much time during our undergrad researching and learning that we tend to be full of ourselves when we are released into the real world. In the real world of fitness, you will see some of the most unimaginable things being done to clients, egregious things. Do not fret! We know that we offer a better product (if you are reading this, I guarantee that you do) and as such, our first instinct is to compare our product to our counterparts. Lets be honest, this is almost always in a negative light. While it may seem like a smart business plan, and may work as a selling point for some potential clients, most will just dismiss it as mean. Instead, shape your clients’ path for them. Deflect any questions like “Well I saw this trainer doing this…what do you think?” Explain in detail how your philosophy is best practice and let them decide for themselves. If you really offer a better experience, they will probably hate on other trainers before you ever get the chance to. Furthermore, you will be spending inordinate amounts of time with other coaches at the gym. Hating on them behind their backs is a surefire way to put yourself on the outs. At the end of the day, you have to realize that not every coach is on your path. While it may be unfathomable to most of us that some may not want to be the best coach possible, some are just there to make some extra money, keep people happy, and hopefully not hurt anyone. Except it, worry about yourself, stick to your own path and clients will flock to you.
19) Invest in yourself
If you truly want to provide the best possible experience for your clients, you must be willing to first invest in yourself. I hold true to my words when I say that the greatest thing my undergrad at Cortland taught me, was to seek knowledge elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, the knowledge and experience I gained from my Professors and peers during my last few years at Cortland is invaluable as it provided the very base for which my current knowledge is continually built upon. I am also completely confident that I would not be doing what I am doing now if it were not for my experience there. That being said, the learning has only begun after graduation. Take every single opportunity to learn from the best. Be prepared to invest in books, PDFs, seminars and the like. Contact coaches who you emulate to see if you can shadow or get a lift in. At the very least you will have made an awesome contact. There is literally NO value to spending a weekend among the best. As soon as you can feed yourself on a regular basis (and if you build your business effectively it will be almost immediately), travel, travel and travel again. My immediate recommendation would be to learn more about the things you know little about. They teach nothing about marketing, selling, change psychology, time management etc. during your undergrad. Your knowledge means nothing if it does not reach those you hope to help. Start with selling! The ability to sell your awesome product will literally be the difference between you sinking or sailing the high seas like a boss. Please take the hit to the wallet, I guarantee you will not regret it.
20) Make mistakes
I know I said these were in no order, but I saved this one for last for a reason. As new coaches, all we want is to meet all the right people, say the right things, sell the perfect package, create the perfect program, train every session without a hitch, help people lose 40# of fat, all while saving the world one squat at a time (at least that’s what I wanted to do). I’m here to tell you to chill out. You will meet people who just don’t like you know matter what you say. You will inevitably offend someone who does like you. You will miss opportunities to close on packages. You will spend an hour programming just to have it ripped to shreds by someone coming in ten minutes late. You will make mistakes…you MUST make mistakes. Look forward to them, learn from them and do better the next time. The coaching profession can be one of the most stressful career choices if you let it be. Throw yourself into the fire, try different techniques and strategies, see what works and discard what doesn’t. Roll with the punches knowing that you will learn infinantly more your first year screwing up with dozens of people than you ever did in four years of college. “Never stop learning to coach, never stop coaching to learn”.
Like I said, I really didn’t expect to expound on these tips as much as I did but I guess it couldn’t have hurt. I hope you new coaches got at least one useful thing from this series. There are plenty of other little tips that I did not touch on. If you have anything you would like to add, please go ahead and leave it in the comments. Thanks for putting up with my shit!