The Witcher's Code (But For Personal Trainers)- Golden Rules To Make You An Awesome Coach
-Be able to progress or regress any exercise you give to a client.
- Always be learning
- Always be coaching
- When in doubt, refer out
- Keep things as simple as possible/avoid over-coaching
- Always be early, not on time
- Don't forget about your current clients!
- Try to be the best part of your clients' day!
- DO NO HARM TO INTELLIGENT BEINGS
There are over 13,000 registered Personal Trainers in the UK and there will be a staggering 330000 PT jobs in America by 2026, which is a stat that utterly melts my brain.
To stand out from the crowd a Personal Trainer needs a code to follow, like the dreamy Geralt of Rivia follows his Witcher code while pretending not to have emotions, but definitely having emotions.
By following this code, you'll be more professional, you'll have a jaw like Henry Cavill (ok, maybe not) and your sessions will more entertaining than something very entertaining or you'll be more effective in navigating the streets of Novigrad, I'm not sure how far I can stretch this Witcher thing.
"Be able to progress or regress any movement you give to a client"
To be a great Witcher, you need to be able to slay any monster someone is willing to pay to be rid of. As a Personal Trainer you need to be able to change ANY movement to make it either easier, harder or pain-free.
Basically it helps for both PT and Witcher to be ADAPTABLE AS FUCK.
Here are some common exercises I'll regularly change in a session:
All the exercises
"Always Be Learning"
You can always be a better coach/witcher.
Unless a drowner kills you.
The more education you have, the better.
There are thousands of courses, workshops, ebooks, articles, videos, podcasts and a whole host of other things you can learn from. There is so much stuff it's basically impossible not to be overwhelmed.
Just start taking in information. It doesn't matter where your research begins as long as you are actively trying to keep learning. Everything will begin to fall into place the more you pursue learning for the fun of it. Eventually, you'll realize you'll never know it all, but will keep pushing for more knowledge anyway!
If I had to recommend one place to start research I would recommend delving into effective communication and coaching skills.
1) How To Win Friends And Influence By Dale Carnegie
2) Conscious Coaching By Brett Bartholomew
3) Any other book about effective coaching
To be a great Witcher, you need to be able to slay any monster someone is willing to pay to be rid of. As a Personal Trainer, you need to be able to change ANY movement to make it either easier, harder or pain-free.
I'm a big believer that if you have good coaching/communication skills, you can learn the rest as you go, assuming you aren't doing anyone any harm.
"Always Be Coaching"
Adapted from the sales adage "always be closing" when you are in your gym, coach-mode should be fully engaged.
If you have a gap between clients, don't go home. Help someone on the gym floor by adjusting someone's technique or suggest a different exercise they might enjoy.
If you practice doing this, eventually you'll get a Geralt-like Witcher sense for those in need of assistance.
When the sensors are tingling, be sure to help whoever it is by just being awesome in general.
Commonly, this might just be helping someone clearly brand-new in a gym environment to adjust or find a piece of equipment.
Once you've helped someone, simply tell them that you are one of the trainers in the building and if they ever need help, always feel welcome to ask you for assistance.
"When In Doubt, Refer Out"
I have to remain vigilant that I don't step out of my scope of practice as a Trainer, just as a Witcher needs to be on the look-out for a disgruntled villager to lob a brick in his face.
If someone is in pain and I can't change an exercise to something which takes them out of the pain they need a referral to a doctor, a physio or another medical practitioner.
If you are a new PT, the idea of referring out is scary, but as a PT you aren't there to solve ALL clients' problems. When a client is in pain, bring in help. Pain is a red flag and if you aren't qualified to deal with it then you may do more harm than good.
It's a good idea to make contact with any good physios, doctors, sports therapists and other specialists in your area so when you do need to refer out, you know exactly who you are referring to.
Even The White Wolf needs a squad. Even if he does spend 96.78787% trying to find half of them.
"Keep things as simple as possible/Avoid Overcoaching"
When an inexperienced coach tries to teach someone a movement they will commonly try to change everything at once. Geralt can only handle casting one spell at a time. People can only tend to handle one coaching cue at a time.
Keep your coaching as simple and minimal as possible.
Using plain, simple language is usually the most effective way to make coaching cues stick.
When you find a cue (or spell to cast) that works for/on someone, note it down somewhere for later.
Build your library of cues. It will improve you as a coach.
"Always Be Early, Not On Time"
I run into dilemmas all the time. Situations where it's hard to judge, hard to know what's right, make a decision. This is not one of them. You disgust me. And deserve to die.
Above is how everyone feels when dealing with late people. Don't decide to be late.
Most Personal Trainers spend time being self-employed. I am self-employed and if I arrive late to a session, that is my day ruined as if I'm late to one session, I will be late to numerous sessions as they are often back-to-back. If you are late and have numerous sessions in a row you can either A) cut one session short and do a disservice to one person or B) be a little late to everyone's session and slightly disservice everyone that day or C) don't be late!
Be early, 15 minutes early if possible. Be excellent at this.
"Don't forget about your current clients!"
Just as a Witcher shouldn't forget about the monsters he has currently agreed to kill lest someone else kills them (or is killed by them) a PT must always remember his or her current clients lest they go elsewhere or have a subpar experience of your services!
For everything you do to find new clients, you should be doing numerous things for your current clients. To use myself as an example, I have around 40 clients most of the time. Most of my time is spent writing programs, researching the issues they are having and going through sessions, notes and generally worrying about each of them.
Check their sessions, talk to them, help them or send them an article. Show your value, show you care. This is how you create a secure business that can last the test of time.
"Be The Best Part Of Your Clients Day"
Life can suck, especially if your kind of soulmate can turn you inside out just by muttering an incantation.
I work from the assumption that my client has had a terrible day, and the only chance of rescuing something from it is me giving them an amazing gym session.
If every PT delivered an amazing experience to every client, it would change the industry and Personal Trainers would have a better reputation in general. Be part of that change!
DO NO HARM
'I kill monsters for money. Beasts which endanger people. Horrors conjured up by spells and sorceries cast by the likes of you. Not people.'
Geralt of Rivia
Just as a doctor or nurse swears the Hippocratic oath to do no harm, a PT should swear this to themselves.
Even Geralt won't do harm under many circumstances.
Don't hurt people. Don't push through the pain and guess that everything will be ok. Don't make people throw-up intentionally. Don't give people sessions to make them incredibly sore or unable to walk the next day.
DO NO HARM
DO NO HARM
DO NO HARM.
This will mean that you aren't a dick. It should mean you won't be sued and it shows you care about your clients.
If you are intentionally harming your clients, politely stop it, and get to work on earning some redemption!
By Chris Kershaw
The Heavy Metal Strength Coach