Eric Cressey said this on instagram recently:
"Want to instantly separate yourself from the pack? Show up when you're supposed to show up, and follow the plan. It's really that simple."
He was just talking about athletes and it got me thinking about how to set yourself apart from any other trainer when you are a coach trying to be successful in an industry full of approximately 18 billion other trainers.
I know that exceeds the world population by around 10 billion but I digress.
I came to the conclusion that in order to be 'better' or 'not fired' compared to most other PT's the secret is to:
HAVE YOUR SESSIONS AND PLANS DONE WHEN YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE DONE THEM
SHOW UP WHEN YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO SHOW UP.
It shouldn't be like this.
The bar shouldn't be this low.
I have heard so many trainers apologizing for being late and I've seen so many coaches getting fired because they aren't getting their plans out on time.
Coach V pointed out is even more insane because these are often the coaches who tell their clients they need to follow a plan.
IT'S OFTEN WHY CLIENTS ACTUALLY SIGN UP.
FOR A PLAN TO FOLLOW.
YOU HAD ONE JOB!!!
But if they don't have a plan to follow your clients aren't going to be able to do anything and are going to be stuck at square one all over again!
And no, I've not always followed these simple rules. I started my career with the best of intentions, got lazy for a few sessions and a fellow trainer took me to the side and gave me a good talking to.
Since then I have been on time to 99.99% of my sessions and my business has grown because of it.
Yes you might be hilarious and successful at lifting yourself but if you want to be remembered and have a great reputation as a coach you can't devalue your clients time enough to be late for sessions.
It shows you don't care.
If you are late to at least 1 session a week you don't care enough about your clients or you aren't good enough at managing your time.
Learn to care about your clients. Learn to manage your time.
If you are a late kind of person work out what makes you late and change it. In fact, just change your attitude around. A late kind of person is just someone who is stuck in habits that make them late.
Change your habits!
Be better than that.
Make the entire industry better.
To set myself apart from the majority shouldn't just take meeting a deadline and turning up to a session in good time to greet them. But that is normally the reason why someone comes to me from another trainer.
To set myself from the pack it SHOULD take some of the following:
Better programming based on individual needs
Better communication skills and empathy
Better consultation processes
A more polished social media presence
A great ability to train groups of people
Being a great leader
Being astute at applying scientific studies to training
Admitting when they are wrong
Quality of movement screen
An ability to make changes to a programme quickly when they are needed
A great ability to make people feel at ease on the gym floor and then being able to motivate them to push themselves to the next level
Not injuring clients
Having a better referral network
These are the layers we build on top of just being on time and keeping our word.
The list could go on forever. However all you or I need to do to be better (and less fired) than the rest is turn up and have your work done when you are meant to.
This is great news for anyone who is just qualified as a coach because the bar is so low to start with.
I am begging my fellow PROFESSIONALS to make Personal Training PROFESSIONAL.
My good friend and fellow PT Andy Edwards said it right when he said:
"Imagine if it was unusual for accountants to file tax returns on time!"
Until Personal Trainers are required to have either a degree or more rigorous rules for continued learning and trading standards the bar of professionalism will be pretty low.
So we need to raise the bar ourselves.
It was said by Will Durant, not Aristotle! (Thanks to Caelan Huntress for this knowledge!)
Hence why most people have a nightmarish story about trainers making us all look bad.
Being on time and having plans done should be a given that you build layers on top of.
Being on time shouldn't be a profound lesson.
Getting programmes to your clients on time shouldn't be out of the ordinary.
It should go without fucking saying.
Here's How To Be The Best Of The Best
Always be a work in progress. Never think you are the finished article which means you should always have the attitude that you can do something a bit better. You should be able to admit when you are wrong and you should always try to do no harm.
Getting High Quality Programmes Done
Training programmes for anyone should be based off sensible movement screens (or just watching people move), medical questionnaires and an interview with the client if you are working with them on a 1-1 or group basis.
Consultations are an absolute must if you are to get on the same page as a client (and help you know that you aren't going to kill them.)
If you just start training someone without knowing anything about them too much risk is present to be able to do no harm.
You can't know everything about someone but you need to make sure your clients are safe otherwise you are 1) a terrible human and 2) a terrible PT.
A PT should be constantly getting better at communicating with their clients by analyzing how they could perform better in each interaction.
Do you say 'errrrm' every 2.4 seconds?
Are sessions always awkward?
Do your clients enjoy sessions?
Do your clients ever say you behave inappropriately?
Do you over-coach people and make them feel insecure and 'bad'?
Do your clients trust you?
These and more are all questions you have to ask yourself THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER.
You need to gradually learn to say 'erm' less and sound sure of yourself by catching yourself saying these things and eliminating it from your speech. This will help your confidence and your ability to make sales.
You have to learn how to continually educate or entertain or pass the time in an interesting way if you want your client to have the best possible experience each time they come to your sessions.
Being on time isn't enough. Being on time with your shit done is just the start of being the best.
Having better results isn't just about body fat lost or kilos added to the barbell however that is important.
Having someone consistently train for 10 years and look EXACTLY THE SAME is a huge result if they would have gotten fat, ill and weak without you in those 10 years.
Making a client feel secure and able to train themselves in the gym for the rest of their life rather than being afraid of the gym is an incredible result.
No matter what results you are chasing, chase them better than any other PT you know.
The Consultation Process
How good is your consultation process?
Do your consultations result in sales?
Do they result in both you and more importantly your potential client leaving feeling comfortable?
Do they take place in an environment where people are willing to share information?
Many PT's don't have a consultation process where they sit down and discuss a clients goals.
....I don't have a clue how they go about training anyone with any kind of person but it's true. No information is taken down, no measurements, no catch-ups, nothing.
Don't be one of those coaches who has a bad consultation set up.
Make sure you have a questionnaire you can run through with people.
Learn to explore the answers people give you. Sometimes you might only get through a couple of questions in 60 minutes but as long as you can get to what someone wants to achieve you can plan around that and any movement screening/watching them move things that you do and amaze them with your skills from there.
Don't know what questions to include?
Here's a link to one of the consultation forms I use
Social Media Presence
We should be judged on the quality of our social media content. I try to provide quality information that can be used both by coaches and regular folk in order to build a reputation of knowledge and helpfulness.
For all I know I come across as a total arse but the following I am building is high quality which brings in leads and ultimately makes me money for working with people I want to work with.
Don't put anything out there you wouldn't want to consume yourself.
Be proud of your content.
Consistently post and have better content than the trainer next to you!
From my instagram:
This is a subject which we could keep going forever on.
It's time for all Personal Trainer's to take the standard of the industry up. To change the industry first we need to change ourselves and be the best we can be.
Start your career by turning up and getting done what you've said you are going to do when you've said you'll do it then build the layers from there until you are busy.
The busier you are the better you'll be.
Don't just be slightly better than the people around you. Be the example that FORCES others to be better just to try and keep up with you.
Chris is a Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, writer, man of small stature and reader of The Discworld Series with a decade in the industry.
He trains everyone from beginners to high level athletes. His favourite clients are people getting into the gym for the first time because they can make the biggest changes in their lives.
You can reach me through the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
My Instagram is Chris_Kershaw_Strength.
Thank you for reading!