Being a personal trainer is an incredibly rewarding decision, and there are many benefits (as well as some negatives – 6 am starts being one of them). One of the first things that new personal trainers get excited about is tax write-offs. Most trainers immediately think of all the money that they will save now that they can buy running shoes and write them off as tax expenses.
Of course, it’s not nearly as easy as that. Firstly, you still have to pay for these items and to do that you need to be earning enough to justify that decision. Secondly, you’ll probably want to declare a high income when searching for properties to rent/buy. Having a business income of £1,000 per year because you’ve spent £20,000 on running shoes, courses, and fancy equipment may not feel like such a smart idea when you’re sitting in the bank asking for a mortgage.
A sensible approach is to only buy fitness products that you feel will improve your service, and therefore increase your income. Once you’ve built up a successful business you can start looking at spending a fortune on fancy running shoes and lycra!
There is a lot of debate in the fitness community about whether weight lifting belts are necessary or not. Many trainers tend to side with the safety-first approach. Regardless of how you feel about it though, there are going to be clients who feel a lot safer wearing them. This means that you should carry two-three belts in your bag. A small, a medium, and a large.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on the belt, but the more you spend – the longer it will last you. Try not to overuse them though, weight lifting belts work well when performing very heavy lifts. They should not be used for sub-maximal lifting.
Thanks to fitness experts such as Bret Contreras, glute exercises are becoming very fashionable. Which is great because glute specific exercises such as the glute bridge and barbell hip thrust can help improve your physique and improve strength. Sadly, the barbell hip thrust is almost impossible to perform without a foam pad covering the bar.
If you want your clients to perform this exercise (and you absolutely should) then you will need to provide a pad for them to use. Some gyms do stock them, but they’re usually being used – or have pretty much fallen apart.
Be careful with this product, please make sure that your gym allows the use of it first. There’s nothing worse than someone covering a gym in chalk without asking the staff first. Luckily, most gyms are now absolutely fine with the use of chalk and liquid chalk. It can massively improve grip and prevent the bar from slipping during exercises such as heavy deadlifts, barbell front squats, and Olympic Weightlifting movements.
Improving your grip (artificially) will help to improve your form and allow you to increase the weight used. This can help your clients to hit a personal best and build bigger muscles. As with the weightlifting belts, you don’t want to overuse chalk. It’s for maximal lifts only. Also, clean up your chalk after using it!
The foam roller is another hotly debated fitness product, a lot of benefits have been attached to it that science has yet to prove. They can’t improve flexibility, they can’t prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and they won’t necessarily improve athletic performance. But some benefits have been proven. Foam rolling can reduce muscle stiffness and may help with recovery.
But foam rolling also has a psychological benefit for your clients. If they arrive early for a session, you can get them to spend five minutes on the foam roller – reducing muscle stiffness from a previous session. You can also get them to spend a little time at the end of the session using it, which will help them to relax after a tough session. A perfect time to talk to them about future sessions and get them to leave in a happy and relaxed state of mind.
The ab wheel is an excellent addition to any abdominal workout and has been shown to activate your abs more than almost any other direct abdominal exercise. Most gyms do not stock ab wheels and teaching your client to use them properly will help your client – while also making you look like a badass trainer.
Each item will help your clients deferentially and will help you to be prepared for any client’s needs. Keep them all in a gym bag, alongside a pack of hairbands (a must for anyone with female clients or male clients with long hair), a few protein bars (in case of client feeling faint emergencies), and a towel/disinfectant spray that you can use when there’s only one bench left and its covered in sweat).
All of this equipment will help you stand out from the crowd as a trainer who cares about his clients and invests in them too. None of them is crucial to your business, but each one can help improve it. Don’t forget that there are other ways to invest in your business too, check out our course on circuit training. An excellent investment that will help you grow as a trainer and will also help you make more money for running shoes!