Why did you decide to become a personal trainer? Was it your love of exercise? The rush you felt when you lifted a new max weight or beat your best time on the track? Maybe it was the thrill of being able to do what you love each day and help others to follow suite. Most likely it was your passion for fitness, and your passion for helping others, combined.
With clients who are dedicated and excited about their workouts, co-workers who share common interests and ideals, and constant access to exercise equipment and health food we have a wonderful and rewarding job.
Unfortunately, we usually end up with a few clients who make it difficult to stay passionate about our work. Some of our clients cancel at the last minute, or show up twenty minutes late. Some seem to expect us to lift the weight for them, on every rep of every set. And some simply want us to wave a magic wand and grant them new bodies on the spot.
While the former type of client fuels our fire, the latter snuff it out. So how do we keep our passion alive?
We take time to evaluate our situation, and make changes where necessary. There is no point in spending hours in the gym waiting for clients who do not show. Make a contract that states the amount of time you will wait before the session is canceled. Set up a prepay system; if the client has already paid for your service they are more likely to utilize it.
Get to know your clients on a non-exercise level. Find out their likes and dislikes, their hobbies and favorite types of music. This is done simply with a short questionnaire, in your introductory conversation, and over a period of time. Use this information to tailor their workouts. For example, if a client is a baseball fan incorporate some baseball drills into their warm up, or have them play catch or run bases as part of their cardio routine.
When your client has fun, you have fun.
Of course, sometimes it is more a matter over time that causes our passion to burn out. We tend to put so much effort into helping and pleasing our clients that we forget about ourselves.
Just as we plan our workouts and menus we need to plan time to relax. If you spend all day in the gym with clients, squeeze in a quick workout for yourself, and then rush home just to eat, sleep and wake up to start all over again, it's no wonder you're burnt out.
As fitness professionals we know that our muscles need adequate time to rest, refuel, and repair. The same goes for our mental and emotional health.
Perhaps this means taking a break from training clients on Saturday mornings, or making sure you are out of the gym by seven each evening. Maybe you need to schedule regular visits to a masseuse or buy tickets to your favorite sporting event or musician. Even spending as little as ten minutes in the sauna or whirlpool after your workout to simply relax and regroup could help.
Passion was what drove us to become fitness professionals, but it is not in endless supply. Take a look at your schedule and habits and then make the necessary changes. The spark of passion is always there, and just a small change can be enough to refuel the fire.
Tom Perkins is a fitness business coach/advisor, radio host, speaker, author and certified personal trainer/fitness nutritionist with more than 30 years in the fitness industry as both a consumer, fitness professional, and business coach/advisor.
Having owned six startups since 1990 Tom provides fitness businesses and professionals with the systems, tools and support they need to get to the next level and beyond, as well as the freedom and income to enjoy a unique quality of life.