Recently, the nation lost a Supreme Court Justice, one Ruth Bader Ginsburg. After 27 years on the court, she passed away last month. This attracted a lot of media attention, and she was the first woman in history to have the honor of having her body lie in state at the Capitol.
One of the more touching displays offered was by Justice Ginsburg’s Personal Trainer of twenty years, Bryant Johnson. He stood in respectful silence, and then commemorated her memory with an intimate display: he got down and knocked out a few pushups.
Personal Trainers Change Lives
As Justice Ginsburg got older, she, like many Americans, chose to turn to a fitness professional to stay in as good of shape as she was able. But the kicker is this — she hired Johnson in her late 60s, and stuck with him for two decades.
The connections you create can be just as impactful.
There are several lessons that we can all take from this relationship, and use them to help develop ourselves into better trainers.
Meet People Where They’re At
This is an old adage, but one that never changes with time. Remember that most often, the people who need you most aren’t the best at working out, and simply are looking for a friendly person to offer accountability and ensure that they are working out in a healthy and safe manner.
They probably aren’t looking for some insane workout or to jump off a cliff. There are some people who will be this way, though, so it’s important to be flexible.
In your initial consultation, you should be doing what salespeople and lawyers call “discovery".” Discovery is a period of time where you learn as much about a situation as possible. In context of Personal Trainers, this means getting to know what’s important to your clients.
Don’t just assume they want to lose weight or want six-pack abs. Whereas this will likely be something that some prospects bring up, some people are just looking for a way to feel better about themselves.
Take the time to learn what your prospective client wants out of their training. This will save you tons of grief down the line.
Invest in The Relationship
This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money or time. This could be something so small as an occasional text to check in with them, even beyond their training.
Sending messages is a great step, but to make them effective, you will want to actually get to know them. This doesn’t mean that you have to hang out and become best friends, just try to remember a few key things that are important to them. Do they have a significant other and/or children? What do they do for a living? Finding ways to be more personable will help you to forge those deeper relationships that go beyond sets and reps.
And, again, it doesn’t take much! Be encouraging, be positive, and show your clients that you genuinely care about their total well-being, not simply their workouts and meal plans.
Plan For The Plan to Change
The first month of training a client should be all about figuring out where your client is physically. The Fitness Assessment will help, but that will only tell you so much.
Pay attention to what they like and what they dislike. Then, try to figure out why. Most people don’t like to struggle with something, but in fitness, struggling is necessary to improve. For instance, a client might hate side lunges because they have never worked that particular plane of movement. In this instance, it’s going to be uncomfortable for a while, so ease them into what they don’t like.
If they really dislike the exercise, you can sometimes find other ones that will help in targeting the under-developed muscles that make the movement difficult. Or, it might be necessary to stop using weights and incorporate more stretching into the plane of movement in order to develop mobility before working the muscle group.
You should absolutely walk into your sessions with a plan. Just expect that plan to change on Day 1.
Work on Your Own Personal Growth All The Time
People never stop growing. Just like an athlete can always push themselves a little bit further physically in every workout, we should be working to grow with the same mentality.
There should be an alarm bell that goes off if someone says “I’m good the way I am and don’t need to grow.” The truth is that all of us, no matter our situation, can always push further.
This could mean developing your mindfulness, professional development, or personal relationships. How you work on yourself in your own life will dramatically impact your day to day as a Personal Trainer. Everything in life is connected.
By working on yourself, you also set a positive example for your clients. Let them know what your own personal struggles are, and show them that you maintain a positive attitude while doing it.
If you show them a determined mind, they will know that their confidence in you is well placed. Trust is hard to earn, but easy to lose. By focusing on your own personal growth, you will develop better relationships with your clients, and allow you to maximize the positive impact that you will have in their world.