If I Were a Personal Trainer Again. . .
A couple of months ago, I had a few thoughts about what I would do differently if I were a personal trainer or fitness studio owner again.
*I don't want to do that. I have no desire or plan to be a trainer again.
These thoughts are based on what I've learned about growth, fitness, aging (your thirties are different than when I was a trainer in my twenties), life balance, etc.
In no particular order:
I would focus on giving workouts that are an experience. I would make them fun, good workouts. I think that when I was a trainer, I gave people what I thought was the perfect workout, but there was not an element of fun, games, and what makes this interesting. I was all about efficiency and effectiveness. I would have tried to find ways to make it an experience. Now, when I workout, I think about what makes it fun and effective. If I don't enjoy it, then I won't do it.
I would inject my personality. Out of fear, I was not myself. I was very calm and straight-laced. I think clients would have preferred me to be a little more myself.
I would refer fat loss clients to nutritionists or Weight Watchers for nutrition. Fat-loss has so many factors, but one of them is nutrition. That was not my expertise. Nutrition also requires accountability. I don't want to be someone's accountability partner for food. Let a nutritionist or Weight Watchers group do that. I would help with training. We would all be more successful.
I would give clients what they want even if it isn't what I want. I wanted the maximum results from my efforts. I didn't care what I felt like. Clients, though, have desires for fun, soreness, variety, etc. I once trained my boss's boss. He wanted to evaluate my work and asked for a strength workout. He evaluated me, though, based on the heart rate tracking of his watch. He wanted to be in a certain heart rate zone for the workout. If I had known that, I could have done that. I should have found out what he really wanted. That goes for every client.
I would give clients homework. I didn't give homework because I was afraid they wouldn't do it. I also believed that you can lose weight without cardio if you do the perfect workouts--true, but not realistic for every person. Cardio or other homework can be helpful, effective, and fun. Homework could be stretching, cardio, or strength circuits.
I would build a community and tribe that enjoys being together. Since I left training, I have learned the importance of relationships and belonging. I would have tried to bring an element of belonging.
I would not be afraid of money. Asking for money was always the scariest part of training. I was afraid people couldn't afford training--mainly because I couldn't. I have learned the most adults with a gym membership spend 100's of dollars each month on other discretionary items like eating out, experiences, and clothing. I wouldn't be afraid to ask people to invest their money in a fun place to belong that benefits how they look, move, and feel.
I would partner for nutrition with Weight Watchers. No diet is perfect, but WW has tracking and accountability. Both of those are critical for fat loss. I would point my clients there if their goal is fat loss.
I would do classes. I'm not opposed to personal sessions. Since everyone needs the same basic 5-6 movements, you can have fun and do that in a group setting instead. There is a reason that group classes are more popular than personal sessions.
I would be humble about what I know and can do. I wanted clients so badly that I thought I had to be everything to every client. I did nutrition coaching, assessments, session planning, training, etc. Some of those things should be given to other people to do on their own or do with a nutritionist.
I would do 80% perfect workouts. I think that doing great workouts that are fun and safe is more important than doing perfect workouts that are boring or unsafe.
I would encourage people to make 150 workouts their goal. I think that good workouts done over a longer period of time will have more and better results than a 90 day plan. Just get in 150 workouts.
I would be honest about how much weight you can lose and keep off. Losing 15 lbs a year is a realistic but challenging goal for most people. Most people's goals were bigger than 15 lbs, but it is hard to lose more than that in one year and keep it off.
I would train obese clients using machines and resistance bands so they can train safely while referring them out on nutrition. Carrying extra bodyweight makes you really strong, so a challenge is figuring out how to challenge them without risking injury. Machines aren't my favorite, but they allow people to challenge themselves without injury.