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The Forgotten Side Of Personal Training

The IFPA is a long-established training provider, always striving to deliver the best in fitness education. Our team is constantly working to improve what we offer to our students and certified trainers. Every individual that is involved in developing training and education, is directly involved in the fitness industry. As a result of our background in Personal Training and experience in the field, we understand how important it is to have the knowledge, skills and abilities in order to be the best you can be for your clients.

We strongly believe Personal Training is more about the practical application of the gathered theoretical knowledge, than an academic exercise. Therefore, we’re designing our courses to be the most practical they can be, while maintaining the needed theoretical knowledge that is essential for safe and effective training.

Today, we want to shed light on a different side of Personal Training. It is often overlooked by trainers and is truly one of the most important aspects to being among the best in the field…And we want you to best the best in your field. Feel free to comment or contact us anytime you like and we’ll be happy to help.

First, you must understand Personal Training is about people. It’s “Personal” Training for a reason. People reach out to us, because they can’t do it on their own. It’s not easy to approach a complete stranger to ask for help. It is even harder if the individual is lacking in self-confidence and is insecure in who they are. Most of our clients fit this profile.

Our clients need us to be there for them, listen to them and make things easier, not harder. Personal Training has a lot to do with empathy and even more with communication skills.

If we are unable to communicate properly, using the right words with the right “voice tools” at the right time, it will make our work less effective.

We’re working with human beings, emotions, difficult situations and problems that go way beyond the typical “professional” relationship we have with our clients. The more time we spend with them, the closer we get, and the relationship evolves to something like a close friendship. This is something we believe is urgent for producing results and is often severely lacking in most trainers.

Developing this relationship means we have built trust between us and our clients. Our clients frequently fill us in on what is happening in their lives, they tell us their deepest concerns, problems they have, everything they can’t really tell anyone else. We become the first in line when they have an issue and need us for support.

Most clients already know what they should be doing to reach their goals. They just aren’t doing it. What they need is guidance, someone that will take them by the hand and walk them through the process, as a partner or copilot navigating them through the stormy weather. Knowing why we do what we do is essential. Just handing out cookie cutter programs won’t do the job, we have to be the support they need.

Use these tips to become a better trainer for your clients.

  • Be compassionate and know where they are coming from

We won’t be able to understand everything our clients are experiencing and going through, because we are not them. What we can do is understand where they are coming from and I don’t mean their home address.

Understand what they are feeling. For instance, they might not feel comfortable with how they look and are maybe even embarrassed about it.

Empathy! We’ve all been through some hard times and we’ve all needed someone on our side.

Compassion! They should not be alone and we’re here to help them.

  • Active listening

Something that we could all profit from in every aspect of our lives. Not just being there and listening, but making a conscious effort to hear what your client (or anyone that is speaking to you) is saying and understanding the complete message that is being communicated.

Active listening means reading between the lines and getting more out of our conversations. Be sure to pay attention to verbal and nonverbal communication like body language and gestures. People communicate more on a nonverbal level than with words alone. This give us a deeper insight in what someone is trying to convey.

  • Guide them rather then come up with solutions for them

We tend to work better with our ideas than someone else’s. Our job as coaches is to ask questions that will lead our clients towards the solution, instead of providing the solution itself. It’s called motivational interviewing. This is a very important concept and it is important to understand the basics of motivational interviewing to be a better coach and trainer. Dawn Clifford & Laura Curtis have written a very good book on this topic, especially for our industry.

  • One step at a time

Leo Babauta is the author of an amazing book “The Power of Less,” which explains how to change behaviors successfully for the long term. He discovered we can achieve our goals faster and more effectively by focusing on only one step at a time. It is urgent to filter what really matters and eliminate the clutter.

Let me close this with something we all know, and at the same time, only a few of us truly practice: “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”

In a world where everything seems to be instant, we forget the harsh reality that nothing happens in a short period of time. Our clients will expect some kind of a magic elixir, or fairy dust to sprinkle on them and the next morning, when they wake up, everything will be as they wish. Your clients need to understand up front, that’s not how this works. The truth is, the only way to have success is through commitment, time, investment, hard work…all the things we usually tend to avoid.

What we DO KNOW, is that it’s WORTH IT!

The long-term health benefits, the good feeling we develop about ourselves, the happiness on our faces when we accomplish something and renewed energy we gain for the things we enjoy the most, are some points to be aware of when talking to our clients. We want them to not only achieve results, but see them living a better quality of life.

Let us know how we can help you out as a trainer, a client or simply as a fitness enthusiast. Contact us and we’ll do our best to assist you.

IFPA TEAM