Dynamic Personal Training can seem like an ideal career – it’s fulfilling, flexible, and lucrative. But it’s also hard work.
Trainers often scour the gym floor and local parks for new clients. They conduct fitness assessments and recommend exercise regimens based on that information. They may also help clients manage chronic health conditions or recover from injuries.
Goal setting is a key component of personal training. It allows a client to establish a clear path towards their fitness journey and provides the necessary structure to keep them motivated throughout the process.
However, when a personal trainer sets their client’s goals, they need to make sure that those goals are appropriate for the individual and that they fit within the context of their current lifestyle. A common mistake is to set overly ambitious goals that are not aligned with the client’s values and higher purpose, which often leads to disappointment when those goals are not achieved.
Creating SMART goals is a great way to ensure that you are setting relevant and realistic goals for your clients. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
The measurable part of the SMART goal is particularly important. A client will not be able to track their progress if they don’t know how to measure it. This can be as simple as tracking body weight and measurements or as complex as setting a certain number of reps per exercise.
It’s also important that the measurable aspect of the goal is relevant to the person and their goals. For example, a client who wants to run a marathon will not be able to get there without building up their endurance, so an appropriate measurable goal for them would be to increase their maximum running distance.
Finally, the attainable part of the SMART goal is vital. If a goal is too far out of reach for the client then it will be extremely difficult to remain motivated and they may give up. A good personal trainer will assess the goals of their clients regularly and will be able to change them if they are not realistic for the individual.
When it comes to setting goals for your own personal fitness, try to focus on things that you are interested in and feel excited about – not something that your peers or friends are doing. This will help to maintain your motivation and ensure that you are working on your own personal best rather than trying to beat someone else’s score.
A personal trainer’s main goal for motivating clients should be to establish a connection. This can be done through questions to learn more about their goals, offering trial sessions or bundles of sessions, creating a welcoming environment, and hosting fitness workshops or events. Providing incentives to clients such as discounted sessions, merchandise (t-shirts, water bottles), feature spotlights on social media, achievement badges in fitness apps or other gym community features can also be effective.
Whether they’re training to lose weight, increase their core strength or run a marathon, each client will have different motivations for getting into the gym and pushing themselves physically. A good trainer will understand each client’s underlying motivation and provide the right type of support to keep them on track.
Some of these motivations are intrinsic, which means that a person is motivated to perform an activity because it gives them pleasure or satisfaction. An example of this is running a race because it’s something they enjoy doing or reaching a new personal best in the gym. Other reasons that people exercise include the health benefits, to feel better about themselves, or to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Personal trainers can help their clients with their intrinsic motivation by providing clear goals and allowing them to choose how they want to achieve those goals. This will fuel a sense of mastery and autonomy, which are two basic psychological needs that can increase overall motivation. Depending on the stage of change, a personal trainer can also use the transtheoretical model of behaviour change to guide their approach to motivating a client.
However, there are still many other factors that affect motivation, including a lack of time and stress or fatigue. A good trainer will recognise these issues and provide strategies to overcome them, such as ensuring that short-term goals are realistic and achievable. They can also inspire their clients by helping them notice the tangible benefits of exercise, such as climbing stairs without getting winded or having more energy to play with their kids. This can further boost motivation and encourage continued efforts to reach their long-term goals.
When it comes to exercise, a personalized approach is the key to success. Personal trainers can help set realistic goals, create a workout plan, and provide structure and support to help clients meet their fitness objectives. They can also make sure that clients are following workouts that are appropriate for their individual physical limitations and abilities.
For example, a trainer can help a client choose the most effective exercises to achieve their goal of losing weight, sculpting muscles or increasing endurance by looking at factors like past injuries, current lifestyle habits, and fitness and health goals. They can also ensure that the client is executing each exercise correctly, avoiding injury or unnecessary discomfort.
Using the latest technologies, trainers can customize workouts and track progress for their clients, giving them the motivation to keep pushing forward. Digital fitness platforms have embraced personalization in the form of curated workout plans that can deliver on-demand workouts based on each user’s unique needs. Many of these services are leveraging advances in AI, including generative algorithms that can process raw data—whether it’s all of the articles on the internet about the best ways to build strength, daily fitness habits from a database of users, or a customer’s genetic predispositions—and generate recommendations that feel as though they were personally created by a real human being.
A quality personal trainer will have a mix of education, professional certifications and on-the-job experience. They will be familiar with exercise science, anatomy and physiology, sports conditioning, injury rehabilitation and training methods. They should also be able to listen attentively and understand that every client is on a different fitness journey with their own specific goals.
While many people think that hiring a personal trainer is costly, researching the options and some flexibility on your part can often help you find a service that fits within your budget. It is important to remember that when you are investing in a personal training program, you are not just paying for a trainer—you’re also buying in to hope and the promise of a healthier, more fulfilling life.
If a client is not losing weight or seeing the strength gains they had hoped for, it may be that they are not incorporating proper rest and recovery into their workout routine. Exercising, especially strength training, causes microtears in muscles that need time to repair themselves so they can grow stronger. Insufficient rest and recovery can result in a suppressed immune system, increased risk of injury, and a lack of energy. Personal trainers work with clients to develop fitness programs that include appropriate periods of rest and recovery.
Most personal trainers have a combination of college education, professional certification, and on-the-job training before working independently. Many have earned a degree in exercise science or kinesiology, where they learn about human movement and the effects of exercise on health and wellness. They also take courses in anatomy and physiology, sports psychology, and nutrition. A bachelor’s degree typically includes extensive elective requirements, which allow trainers to pick up skills that will support their career paths.
Regardless of the type of degree program, many personal trainers are certified through reputable fitness organizations, such as the American Council on Exercise or the National Strength and Conditioning Association. These credentials prepare trainers to provide safe, effective exercises that maximize results for a wide range of individuals and fitness levels. Many trainers are also CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) certified, which can save a life in the event of cardiac arrest.
Some personal trainers offer online-based services, which can be a great option for people who need to schedule sessions around their busy lives and are looking for a more cost-effective alternative to in-person training. Many online-based programs also offer a flexible training schedule, which can help clients stick with their goals even when life gets in the way.
In addition to being highly knowledgeable in exercise and fitness, successful personal trainers are supportive and enthusiastic champions of physical fitness. They encourage their clients and motivate them to push themselves harder in their workouts. They also educate their clients on proper technique and form, which can reduce the risk of injury.