15 Tips All Personal Trainers Should Know

  1. Seek Knowledge

It's very important that you obtain a CPT certification (certified personal trainer) through an accredited organization! However, we believe that the CPT is simply a starting point, and that if you want to truly thrive in the personal training field, you need to look beyond the CPT to further your education and experience as a coach, There are hundreds of certifications and workshops out there and it can be overwhelming to choose where to start.

Here are 4 of our favorites to get you going in the right direction!

1. PowerAthlete Methodology 2. FMS 3. USAW 4. CSCS

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2. Assess

It's is important that you use some sort of physical assessment before starting with a client. This will give you a foundation off of which to build your training program. Assess major movement patterns like squat, hinge, lunge, overhead mobility, trunk stability, etc.

3. Program

Write Programs, Not Workouts

A workout is one day of training. A program is a 4-6 week plan made up of 2-4 workouts per week for your client to follow. Instead of writing different workouts each time you train your client, put together a comprehensive program for them to follow and they will see much better results!

4. Sell Yourself

"Sales" is probably one of the last things you thought you would have to do as a personal trainer, but it is an inevitable part of the job! Luckily, though, selling yourself to clients doesn't mean going all car-salesman on them. Selling yourself as a personal trainer is all about showing potential clients what you can do to help them. The best approach is a slow, gradual sale! Start by introducing yourself, remembering their name, getting to know a little more about them and their goals, and offering some free advice to show you actually have their best interest at heart,

Overtime, let them know that you offer personal training and that you'd love to work with them. The biggest thing here is to start by showing you care, and THEN pitch the sale once you've earned their trust!


5. Movement

If you want to help your clients get strong in a functional manner that helps them improve activities of daily living, you're much more likely to have success if you focus on strengthening movement patterns rather than targeting specific muscles. When we talk about training movement patterns, we're referring to the following:

Squat. Hinge. Lunge/Single Leg. Horizontal Push. Angled Push. Vertical Push. Horizontal Pull. Angled Pull. Vertical Pull. Rotation.

6. Muscles

Even though we recommend focusing on movement patterns over muscles, isolation exercises do have their place! If you have a specific area of weakness or an injury you're trying to recover from, you may want to include some specific isolation exercises for that area in the later part of your workout routine (after the main movement pattern training!

7. Cueing

Practice Different Cueing Styles

Everyone learns differently, and therefore you must be able to adapt your coaching and cueing to each individual you're working with. It's important to be able to coach the same exercise in the following three ways: AUDITORY. VISUAL. TACTILE.

8. Toolkit

Expand Your Toolkit It can be easy to get caught up in constantly correcting your clients form, but don't forget to also offer positive reinforcement! Here's an example of how to do so: Sometimes we find a piece of equipment that we really love - it could be kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, sandbags, etc. It's great to find tools that you enjoy, but make sure you don't become a one-trick pony! Expand your toolkit by learning about all the different types of equipment out there, and let your training philosophy guide your programming decisions, not your favorite tool.

9. Lowest Hanging Fruit

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to try and figure out where to start when correcting your client's form. You may see 5 different things you want them to change, but if you start throwing a bunch of corrections at them all at once, they will become overwhelmed and will have a lot of difficulty figuring out how to do what you're asking of them. Instead, choose the thing that is most important for them to fix first. For instance if their back is rounding during a deadlift and they're also a little too far forward with their shoulders and their hips are a little too high, the most important thing to address first would be their back position, since that's the thing that could make the exercise unsafe for them to perform if it continues

10. Language Matters

The words you use have a huge impact on the success of your clients. Try to avoid negative words such as "fix" or "weak" which can make the client feel broken or unfit. Instead of telling someone they have "weak" glutes, tell them that you're going to work together to strengthen their glutes in order to optimize their form. These subtle changes make a huge difference!

11. Goals

It can be really easy to push your own agenda on your clients without you even realizing it! If you're a powerlifter, you may be more likely to push powerlifting on your client, But make sure you listen to them and their goals and take the necessary steps to get them there, even if it's not necessarily the way YOU like to train.

12. Individualization

What works for one may not work for others

Every individual you work with will have their own unique set of circumstances. While one person may have the freedom of a 5-day per week workout regimen, another may only have 1-2 hours per week to commit to exercise. Instead of following a cookie-cutter plan, have different options for different situations so everyone has the chance to succeed

13. Read

Read for one hour each day

β€œRead an hour every day in your chosen field. This works out to about one book per week, fifty books per year, and will guarantee your success.” -Brian Tracey If you want to become a leader in the fitness industry, you have to spend at least some of your spare time reading and learning from those who came before you!

14. Consistency

Consistency Over Intensity

Many of your clients will think that they only had a good workout if they are totally crippled the next day. The problem with this is they're usually too sore to workout for a few days and end up missing days in the gym due to soreness. It's your job to show them the bigger picture, and teach them that in the long run, consistency trumps intensity every time!

15. Process

Focus on the process over the outcome

When speaking with your clients, try to praise them more on the process than the outcome. This means rather than congratulating them for losing weight or gaining muscle, recognize them for their hard work, consistency, and ability to stick with the program. These skill will help them continue to meet their outcome goals, and by encouraging them to keep working hard, they'll have more success overall!