In this article, you’ll learn about the essential personal trainer skills to survive in today’s world. If you are a personal trainer, or want to become one, this article is for you.
With the growing numbers of people getting into different fitness careers, it is vital that you put your best foot forward at all times – to stand out. Personal training is not hard to learn, however, it requires some degree of self-discipline and passion.
This can be done in several ways; certifications, work experience, and developing the required hard and soft skills that will make you a unique asset in any organization.
Here, we will discuss the latter with regard to fitness and personal trainers.
These instructors are in charge of guiding people to meet their different fitness goals, and to do this; they need to employ a set of (hard and soft) skills.
So, let’s discuss these skills in detail, shall we?
Hard skills are tangible skills learned through learning and practical experience; highlighted below are the major ones every fitness instructor must have.
Although fitness certifications and degrees are vital, your extensive fitness knowledge and experience are more important. As a fitness trainer, you must have extensive knowledge of human anatomy, nutrition principles, physiology, kinesiology, first aid, AED/CPR, training techniques, movement patterns, and more.
Additionally, this extensive knowledge of how the body works will enable you to successfully recommend the best workout routines and nutritional needs for your clients.
Because the fitness industry is constantly changing, you must stay updated on fitness-related research and trends to ensure that your clients get the latest and best training advice.
You might wonder why you need business skills since you are just a fitness instructor. You need business skills, especially if you run or want to run your own business. Your ability to understand the basics of record keeping, billing, balancing, budgeting, scheduling, and finance laws will enable you to build a successful business.
Many fitness trainers do not focus on this aspect of their business and eventually find themselves overwhelmed. You need to be able to know whether or not you are making a profit. Besides, if fitness training is a business you want to do for a long time, you must plan accordingly by managing your finances.
Like business skills, marketing skills might not be your most obvious choice. But it is, in fact, one of the most important skills to have, especially with the large influx of fitness instructors. You need to know how to advertise your services effectively if you want to attract clients successfully.
Without any form of marketing, no one will be aware of what you do, and your business would’ve already failed before it started. Besides, word of mouth is also a form of marketing.
Some other marketing skills you can utilize are email marketing, traditional marketing techniques, social media marketing, and content marketing.
Technical skills here do not mean learning programming languages – it just means knowing how to use the different systems in your business. This can be in the form of knowing how to use social media for advertising your business or how the scheduling software works.
Also, knowing how to use different applications to stay on track with your clients is critical.
Unlike hard skills, soft skills are personal qualities that are based more on emotional intelligence than knowledge and expertise. However, just like hard skills, those that don’t have these inherent skills can develop them. So, let’s take a look at some of the essential ones.
As a fitness trainer, your communication skills are very critical because you are only as effective as how well you communicate. Your communication will either make or mar your business – poor communication can lead to a negative relationship with existing clients and a bad reputation leading to fewer prospective clients.
Also, your communication skills are a combination of how you communicate via social media, client calls, consultations, workouts, and others.
You need to communicate clearly with your clients during an exercise session to avoid poor exercise form– this can be in the form of demonstrating the exercises and providing verbal guidance along the way. A good fitness instructor needs to be able to explain complex exercise routines in simple terms.
Additionally, active listening is a critical communication skill, as you need to be able to take your clients’ feedback into account and take action.
As a fitness trainer, your communication with your clients does not end in the gym. You need to check in with your clients regularly – this way, they feel catered to.
To be a successful fitness trainer, you need to have a high level of emotional intelligence. This is because you will be working with clients from different works of life with different personalities and worries.
This is why empathy, an important aspect of emotional intelligence, is very vital.
Empathy enables you to put yourself in other people’s shoes, and it can help you know when something is wrong with your clients.
It also allows you to figure out the root cause of why a client is struggling with a workout instead of chalking it up to a lack of motivation.
Besides, because you can breeze through a workout doesn’t mean that your clients will.
If you are a personal trainer, you need to be sensitive to your client’s needs and find a way to adapt your workouts to each individual.
Alternately, fitness trainers with no empathy will lose customers as no one wants to be judged in the one place they want to improve their lifestyle.
Fitness training for most trainers is more than a job; it’s a lifestyle – and it shows.
To be a successful fitness trainer, you must have a demonstrable passion for fitness. It must show in everything you do, from your nutrition to your lifestyle. If you lead a fit and healthy lifestyle, you can easily inspire your clients.
On the other hand, if you don’t lead a fit lifestyle, the number of people who believe in your skills or service will be very limited.
Passionate trainers are very driven to achieve their goals – meaning that they will work harder to get results from their clients. Clients want results more than anything and will seek the help of an enthusiastic trainer over a dispassionate one.
Additionally, passionate trainers will be more likely to keep track of industry trends and research, ensuring their clients get the best service.
Being a fitness trainer requires organizing the schedules and appointments of your different clients, determining realistic goals for each of them, creating nutrition programs, designing exercise plans, and others.
You can only achieve these tasks and more success by being organized. When you are organized, the probability of being overbooked or under-booked will be reduced, ensuring maximum efficiency.
Also, organization skills ensure you keep all your clients happy without jeopardizing your personal schedule.
This personal trainer skill encompasses everything from self-motivation to self-development and self-promotion. Self-development is an essential self-management skill as it is very easy to get too comfortable with routine and stop constantly developing yourself. When this happens, your fitness training service will also suffer because your workouts will get repetitive and boring – leading to fewer clients.
You need to develop yourself and add more skills to your repertoire constantly – this is the only way to remain successful. The fitness industry is constantly changing, and anyone that doesn’t evolve with it will be left behind and forgotten. However, it isn’t always easy to get up every day and develop oneself – this is where self-motivation comes in.
Self-motivation is a vital inherent skill as it enables you to get up and push through every day.
10. Leadership Skills
Leadership skills are very important pt skills and that’s why they are very common among successful personal trainers. This is because part of the fitness trainer job involves leading your clients through their fitness journeys and successfully getting results. As a fitness trainer, your clients look up to you to lead and motivate them through their workouts.
Besides, you need to develop your leadership skills, as clients are more likely to go with a strong leader with multiple fitness successes.
11. People Skills
As proven by the previous skills, being a fitness instructor takes more than multiple sessions in the gym. People skills are an important aspect of being a fitness instructor because you need to be able to engage and manage your clients effectively. Your people skills may just be why a prospective client seeks your service, and you need all the skills needed to stand out in this competitive industry.
Additionally, a friendly and approachable instructor is likelier to get more signups than an unfriendly or intimidating one.
You also need to know the difference between talking to a client and a friend, ensuring you don’t cross any boundaries. Another skill you need to have is the ability to be discreet.
Even though there might be no client-trainer confidentiality clause, do not talk about your clients with others – this does more bad than good to your reputation.
Even though routines are good, your clients may get bored doing the same sets of workouts over and over again. One way to keep the motivation is by being creative with the routines. This way, your clients can work out other parts of their bodies while staying motivated.
Also, your fitness routines do not always have too rigid – you can include fun workouts into your routine to keep your clients engaged and excited for what next you’ll introduce.
13. Motivation Skills
Motivation skills are vital, as you need to be able to motivate your clients to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, and this is no easy feat. As a fitness trainer, you need to be able to see the potential in your different clients to be able to motivate them to reach it. You must be completely invested in your client’s success as a good personal trainer.
One way to motivate your clients is by combining positive reinforcement and constant encouragement to develop your client’s confidence—leading to results. Another way you can do this is by doing the workout routines with them rather than verbally giving cues.
The way you motivate your clients is all down to you.
One thing you need to remember as a fitness trainer is that your clients will not always listen to your advice. Even those with clear intentions to improve their fitness may stumble a few times. You need to be patient with your clients during these times rather than shaming them for their mistakes.
Besides, if you shame them, you might break their morale and turn them completely off working out.
Being patient with your clients will develop their confidence and encourage them to get back to working towards their goals.
Another aspect where patience comes in is when you need to introduce it to your clients that want fast results. You must educate them that it takes time to develop a sustainable exercise routine successfully.
As a fitness trainer, you must be flexible and adaptable to many things, especially your time. Sometimes, your personal training clients may need your services early in the morning or late at night, and you need to be available for them.
Flexibility is essential if you are running your own business, as this feature will endear more clients to your business.
There are other fitness skills that you can develop, like drive, accountability, compassion, commitment, stress management, and positivity.
These skills, just like the others discussed, can be developed – so you don’t have to worry if you don’t have these skills.
As a fitness trainer, you must remember that your clients are your major marketing source –so ensure you build up your soft and hard fitness skills.