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To continue pt 1 of this post, let’s jump in with what happens in the life cycle before people even think of becoming part of your clan of clientele:

The WiiFit is just one of your competitors in the Personal Training/Fitness market

Things a person tries/considers before they even think about getting a personal trainer:

  • buy an infomercial product
  • try an exercise/nutritional program that a friend did
  • pick up a fitness/health book or two from the local store
  • do some research on the internet
  • ask some friends what do
  • ask a personal trainer at a party (one of my favorites is talking about nutrition over dessert and wine!)
  • start attending group gatherings that focus on nutrition or exercise
  • work out with a friend
  • sign up for a membership at a local gym
  • go jogging/walking with a couple of friends

You may not yet realize it, but your potential future co-workers are not making your quest to change the above pre-conceptions any easier. Think for a moment about a picture of a personal trainer.

French guy... drinking Wine? No way!

What images ran through your head when thinking about Personal Trainers? What you see as a personal trainer might be very different than what others see.

You are a stereotype until you prove otherwise

Thats you, Mister or Miss Personal Trainer.

Think of the standard assumptions people make about this occupation.

Ever seen ‘Celebrity Fit Club’? Bravo’s TV Show ‘Workout’? ‘Worlds Biggest Loser’?

Those are just a few of the stereotypes you will have to overcome.

The potential negatives of using a Personal Trainer:

  • The greatest financial investment for no guaranteed results
  • Might mean pain such that I cannot walk tomorrow
  • Chance of public embarrassment with everyone staring
  • Admitting that we cannot do this without professional help
  • The last option – if this doesn’t work, chances are nothing will

The negative perception of the personal trainer by the public:

  • the pretty boy/girl of the gym
  • boisterous
  • self-centered
  • as loud and and brash as they want to be
  • the person that you curse the next day when your entire body breaks down into rigor mortise
  • able to bring regular people to vomit/tears/tears as they vomit
  • during a session is more occupied with the other pretty boys/girls in the gym than their client

And so having reviewed those odds, it would seem it is a miracle that the person is willing to be seen talking with a Personal Trainer at all!!!

If the person is able to overcome their fear and reservations of all of the above, then then are at last ready to tentatively step up to the plate. But your battle to make someone feel comfortable and accepted under your expert tutelage is far from over.

Probably not the guy who coined the phrase 'Hugs not drugs'

The fear of the unknown

There is a good chance that your client is afraid of what people will think of them working with a trainer.

They are afraid that other people/co-workers will stare. Judge. Sneer. Doing a session with a personal trainer is the same as placing a large neon sign on their head that says ‘look at me! I am the dummy that doesn’t know how to workout like the rest of you guys.”

The timeless crossroad

As a personal trainer, you might not even realize the amazing amount of power you wield.

Having read this, You now understand the journey this person took to get to you.

You now have an idea of the courage they had to swallow and the cash they had to dish out to spend time with you and your expertise.

A good trainer has the potential to achieve the following:

  • Change someones attitude to fitness
  • Change someones attitude to life
  • Change the way their family/co-workers/new people they meet see them
  • Change the direction in such a way that even after they stop training with you they may continue on a path that could lead to amazing hikes, game winning shots and a self-respect and lust for life that might not have previously been possible.

You can have all of the blame and a small piece of the glory. Sometimes your client wont even see the change in their life that you create. But know that when they meet you, their life is at a crossroads. You have a change to create immediate and longlasting change that could change the lives of people you will never meet simply by them being an inspiration to others.

You can be a Superhero

You can make the world a better, healthier place. One person at a time.

In fact, you might be able to stop someone from going down a path that could lead to them dying ten years earlier from a lifestyle related disease.

You could gift someone ten quality years of life.

You could save someones life.

What could be more important than that?

So, having read pt 1 and pt 2 of becoming a Personal Trainer, if you still are keen to get started as a trainer, then go get certified.

But only if you are ready for that responsibility. Only if you understand the power to change that your client will place delicately and squarely on your shoulders.

Above all, only become a trainer if you are willing to treat every client with reverence and gratitude. For although you didn’t see it, they came a long way to get to you.

Be the trainer that respects them.

Be the trainer that shows them how.

Be the trainer that changes them forever.

Jamie Atlas

PS I run Personal Trainer development courses periodically. If you are interested in being part of the next course, click here to view my contact details and ask me more

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  • Jay Jul 28, 2008 Reply

    Thanks for this 2-part article, Jamie. I found your blog from Rocco’s blog. As I enter this industry, perspectives from those who have been there before me are very helpful! And it also helps that your outlook on fitness is similar to mine. I’ll be back often!

  • I certify personal trainers and these are some good points. The best advice I could give someone who is thinking about this field is to act professional, always put the needs of the client first, stay educated and view yourself as a member of the health care system -because that’s what you are! The best way to achieve success in this business is by knowing more than your competition. Doing these things will help defend yourself against the stereotypes and preconceived notions that some have about what we do.
    Joe Cannon, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
    My website

  • Jason Jul 29, 2008 Reply

    Very well written post. And very true. I am just starting out in the Personal Training field and so far here are the perceptions of Personal Trainers I have heard from potential clients: “my last personal trainer just tried to hit on me the whole time” and “my last personal trainer worked me out so hard I couldn’t walk the next day so I stopped working out, total drill sergeant”

    I second Joe Cannon’s comments, if all PTs would be professional and put the needs of the client’s above everything else, PTs would have a much better reputation.

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