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Supporting Your Clientele

One of the most important parts of being a personal trainer is making your clients feel comfortable with you, so you can establish trust. Your clients need to trust you with their fitness goals, and they need to feel comfortable telling you when they are struggling or have a slip up in their fitness and diet regimen. They also need to trust that you know what you’re doing and feel that they’re getting the most out of their money.

Start by answering all of their questions and explaining to them, in a simple, easy to understand language, the science of their training--the benefits of different exercises. To be effective coaches, we have to focus on educating our clients.

Begin your training with a new client with easier workouts that are easier to recover from. This way, you’ll avoid making your clients too sore, and training can be done at a higher frequency. As you make progress, increase the difficultly of the workouts. Begin your training by focusing on movement quality, lifting skill, and strength. Once these fundamentals are established, you can move onto harder and more productive training.

Make sure that you listen to your clients’ wants and needs. What is their end goal? As personal trainers, we see everyone from an overweight middle aged person who hasn’t worked out in years, who is just trying to regain some health, to a healthy young person simply trying to maintain their fitness. For the most part, many men want to gain muscle, while females prefer to focus on their core and glutes. As personal trainers, it’s up to us to delve beyond these stereotypes and find out exactly what each client is striving for.

It’s important that you and your client both understand to accept short-term setbacks as part of the learning process. Mistakes and experiments are an essential part of long-term skill development. 

Focus on external goals, rather than internal goals. While proper technique is important, it’s more important to ensure that your client isn’t going to injure him or herself. They will develop the proper technique over time. Reframe how you describe the true goal of a movement. For instance, instead of describing the exact way to perform a squat, tell your client to sit in an invisible chair and stand up. Change internal cues to external ones. Instead of saying “squeeze your shoulder blades together,” say something like, “hold an imaginary softball between your shoulders.” This helps your clients remember proper movements when they workout on their own.

Finally and most importantly, never let a client say “I can’t.” Show them examples of people similar to them (same age, gender, etc.) who broke the barrier and achieved what your client doesn’t think he or she is capable of. When they say they “can’t” do something, tell them to rephrase what they’ve said, using phrases like “I’m working on it” or “I’m improving.” Remind them that no one ever does anything perfect from the first go and that all progress takes time. As a personal trainer, you need to also be a coach and cheerleader. Being supportive of your client should be your number one goal.

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