August 6, 2018

What are clients looking at before they book you?

Every single time you get a new client you should be asking how they found you.

That is part of your marketing; if they are a great client, maybe there is way to do more of whatever it was that brought them in!  If you keep getting clients that have personalities or needs don’t match your skill or style of training, maybe you are fishing in the wrong pond.

In my experience I find that clients are generally either really impulsive and do very little research before getting a trainer, or they spend quite a lot of time doing research and talking to friends and looking for ‘THE ONE’.

Here’s  couple of tips to help you stand out.

Social Media- Trainers love their social media and it’s a great source of client leads. Use it to your advantage. If you are using your Instagram page for business, keep it for business, same with Facebook and Twitter. They are all tools, so use them as such. Post some great insights on fitness, and some great workout advice,. Let clients see you in action on the gym floor. If you have the skills, maybe throw in some nutrition tips.  Let clients see everything you do and offer.

Give clients something to find with your name on it. 

Be aware of the sum of the total not just the odd great post. If you have a inspiring gym post one day but the next post is you’re throwing-up all those tequila shots in Cancun spring-break-style, you are not really walking your talk. You can have a personal page and and professional page if you want to keep all your party pictures.

If you need to up your Social game, there are tons of resources out there. If you opt to get some help,   just be aware if someone you are paying promises to get your numbers up, really understand who they are targeting and how it benefits you. If your numbers jump but they are all in Iceland, that’s not going to help your day to day business unless you plan to travel.

The great and powerful Google: Have you ever Googled your name? If you haven’t, first of all- What?…. Second of all- Do it now!  Then come back and read the rest of this.

What did you find?

When trying to stand-out, spandex and Army boots in the desert wasn’t my first choice.

Give clients something to find with your name on it.  Hopefully when the look they will find more good posts than those spring break pics!  If you have ever written an article or had a blog post or been written up in the paper or won a bodybuilding show, it’s all there. That’s me to the magazine trying to stand out before social media existed.

You can start a fitness blog, and try to get it noticed or published other places. Now days there is really no need to build a web site, unless you have a well established brand or more to offer. Otherwise save your money.

Oh,  Just a FYI- if you have any priors, or court notifications that are a matter of public record that just may show up as well. But if you have tons of other good stuff out there someone would really have to look to find it.


Recommendations or testimonials :  We all love to base our decisions on others’ advice.  If we trust and respect someone, we trust and respect their recommendations.

Why not ask your existing clients for testimonials?

Other ways clients can get the same sort of stamp of approval is reviews about you on web pages, or other client comments listed on another page. Getting media coverage or getting on some top 10 trainer list will do huge things to your credibility and because so many people see it; it ranks higher.

You:  You are your own best or (worst billboard). Clients are watching your every move, hopefully not in a stalker way, but if you work in a gym that has members in it, chances are potential clients are watching how you conduct your business.

If you are texting while your client is doing planks or not really engaged, chances are they won’t be calling!  Eating a burrito on the gym floor or going out for a smoke-break in gym gear is another fail. Same thing for your own workouts: show them how it’s done. But if you are one of those assholes that leave big sweat marks on the bench without cleaning it up, or let huge weights crash to the floor just to get noticed, unless they are into that sort of thing, you are not the guy or girl they are going to be asking for!  Be the role model, the ideal of fitness they want you to be, but accessible at the same time.

The human mind is an amazing thing.

Don’t forget to floss!

Playing the silent but smart and humble guy is sweet, but it’s not going to help fill in those few slots in your schedule.

We don’t pay attention to anything unless it’s exemplary or dangerous. As a humans we tend to notice flaws before we notice what is right. It’s a survival thing; if it appears ‘normal’ it doesn’t pose a threat, so our mind registers it as safe. Things won’t capture our focus unless something novel  or  exciting enough to actually focus on it.  However if it looks different or wrong we will pick up on it right away. For example if someone has spinach in their teeth, it’s really difficult to notice how pretty their eyes are.

If you consider yourself a professional, stand out in a good way, be a voice. Do your best to set an example and make it easy for clients to find you.  There has never been a time in history where you can be so easily visible and most of it’s all free!

Groom those social media profiles, write that blog, brush your teeth, and stand up tall.

Our reputation does precede us.  How you run your business is how your business will run. The best thing you can do is handle yourself professionally, and feel free to show off a little.

August 6, 2018

Have you ever struggled to really connect with a client?

Chances are, even if you are known for being ‘the last 5lb’ guy, the one that really helps clients get to their goal weight, that’s only part of why they are training with you?

We are all emotional beings and our motivation for action is often complex.  There are the surface goals which we are great at recognizing and realizing for clients, but how good are you at helping them realize their unspoken goals? Truly great trainers can really bring out the best in people because they help them find the best parts of themselves. It’s helping them become better inside and outside. If you can do that, you have loyal clients for life that will sing your praises all day long.

My clients’ wives and husbands often joke that I’m cheaper than a therapist.  I’m not saying that we sit down and talk about our feelings sort of thing, that’s not it at all. Type A’s just don’t do that.  It’s just that as trainers we see such a broad slice of the human condition across different populations which give us a chance to gain some unique insight. Good trainers are able to apply that knowledge to get results. Every client is unique, so what motivates one person will invariably be different in another.

….as trainers we see such a broad slice of the human condition across different populations which give us a chance to gain some unique insight.

If you do everything by the training book, every exercise, every diet tip, but you can’t listen or aren’t there for them emotionally, or able to steer the client into positive action, you likely aren’t going to get the results or keep them around for very long.

We are all more than what appears on the surface.

If a goal is image-based they could be wrestling with some insecurities, searching for some value within themselves that they have attached to their outside image.

Sure that 6 pack is a great goal, but what is that saying about them? I need to feel validated, I want to be appreciated for my hard work, I want to find love, all those things they unconsciously attach to reaching that goal.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you can support the verbalized goals, and the unconscious needs you will both win.



Just a couple of examples so you get what I’m talking about, but it’s way more complex in real life.

If you have a client that is having problems with weight and is constantly beating themselves up about their lack of will power or always focusing on how fat they are, pointing out they they are making poor choices and not losing weight isn’t going to help them. If you can steer them to looking to what is good in their life, and celebrate the good choices you are are helping them change their thought patterns. Positive reinforcement begets more positive behavior. Talk about what they enjoy, find out what makes them light up and move them towards more of that, and away from negative self-talk. If it’s a pattern they repeat over and over, asking how they think they can solve those problems can switch their thoughts form a
poor-me mind set and over to problem solving mode.

If you have a client that is always late, unprepared, under slept, under fed, find out more about their lives. Is it stress? Are they overworked, how can you offer some ways to simplify their life. Are they depressed? How can you make their day just a little brighter, maybe they just need a little genuine exchange?  Or to be noticed. If they get a haircut, let them know you noticed, and how sharp it looks.   I’m not saying be fake or insincere, just be part of their conversation, show them you care. If you aren’t comfortable with the complements, tell them a joke or a funny story to shift the mood.

If they show up angry, you don’t need to know why, just let them know you noticed they are struggling today, so let’s work on that with some exercise that lets them vent off a little aggression. I have a couple of exercises in my repertoire I affectionately call anger management.

We don’t really want to unpack any one’s bags but our own, we aren’t qualified to deal with that, and frankly we don’t really want to take that on. This is all unspoken action. But if you pay attention to body language, like how they walk into the gym, or how they stand; and listen to what they say and how they say it. You’ll find out more than you need to know to help inspire and motivate them to feel stronger and more able.  Even if it’s only 6o minutes at a time.
In the process just might just learn a little bit about yourself!





August 5, 2018

So you finally decided to hire a personal trainer.

Congrats! Here’s a little idea of what to expect in you first personal training session, and a little insight into what’s really going on in a trainer’s mind. (Or should be at least.)

Wondering how it’s going to go down?  Have you ever been on a blind date? It’s kinda like that, but much much less likely you are going to get laid.   But it is a time of discovery for both of you. After all, if we are going to be sharing the same air and we may be physically touching you,  so we both need to find out what our comfort level together is.

As a trainer when I’m meeting a client for the first time I’m always a little nervous, talk a little too fast, but mostly I’m trying to really assess what you actually need as well and determine if your goals are realistic, and  as trying to  figure out a way to do both.

A lot depends on how you got connected in the first place. If it’s a referral from a close friend of yours, then it’s much easier to just relax and listen because you have an idea of who that trainer already is. Your friend has a relationship with the trainer already so there is a trust already established, and you have likely heard all the good stuff they can do and even seen the results in your friend.

If you are connected through a gym then you only the information the sales manager gave you, and you have to decide if you will take them on their word or draw your own conclusions.

If you met thru the trainers’ website or thru an app, then you only have as much information as you had available at the time.

So like all first dates, it starts off slow… If the trainer wants to move you into the sweaty parts right away, and that’s not what you had in mind, you are going to feel a little uncomfortable.

Every trainer has a different way of starting out, but when I have a cold client, (one from an outside source) I usually offer a free consultation, or at the very least a phone call before we actually get to the workout part. I need to meet you to know what it is that you actually need. Trainers may have an intake protocol that includes general health and diet questionnaire,  that covers any health or injury concerns that we have to take into account. As well as finding out why you are there, what are your goals, why are you seeking a personal trainer?

Intake forms helps us design your program and track your progress.

Depending on your goals, trainers may do measurements, body fat analysis, gait analysis and probably  some movement screens to see how your body is moving and functioning.

We will discuss the business part. How do you want this to work?  Once a week, twice a week? How we are structuring our sessions?   How you are paying? Different package offerings etc.


So first workout- Any trainer worth their salt won’t be giving you the toughest workout of your life just after they meet you.  That’s a recipe for disaster. The worst thing that could ever happen to me is for a client to get injured on my watch. Do no harm should be foremost in a trainer’s mind.


I’m not gonna lie, we are judging you.

I don’t mean that in a negative way but as a trainer we want you to get the most out of our time together; our reputation depends on it.  We are not just assessing your physical state, but your emotional one as well.

First workouts like first dates usually progress with a little sharing and testing boundaries. After my initial assessment I will have an idea of what you will need to get to your goals, but we have to take you out for a spin to see how things work. Giving you the hardest workout of your life might be what you say you want, but if you can’t walk for 5 days after, it’s just going to impede our progress.

Personally I like to go through all the movements I had initially anticipated for your training moving forward.  The weights will be lighter and I will be studying you intensely for your reactions to the challenges I give you. The best plan on paper can fall apart quickly if you aren’t yet up to the challenges your trainer had initially laid out. From there I can figure out how to micro-progress exercises to get you the best results while avoiding any injuries.

It’s all about stability when we assess your movements.

While you are executing the movements we prescribed, we are looking for imbalances in your body, what’s working and what isn’t. Most clients aren’t aware they have certain postures, or move a certain way. We shouldn’t be putting a load on a body  if it can’t safely stabilize it, that’s how people get injured. Not everyone can or should be doing the same workout. So don’t be comparing yourself to others.




Not everyone can or should be doing the same workout. So don’t be comparing yourself to others.

We are also considering your emotional state, how present are you? Can you focus? Are you actually understanding the exercise? How can we cue you better to explain what movement we want you to do safely?  How do you take in information, what’s your retention like?

About half way thru the first workout I generally have a sense of how you need to be lead. Do you need more encouragement, do you need things explained in a different way, do you perform better if I demonstrate or can you pick up cues from watching yourself in the mirror?  How much rest do you need? In a sense, what makes you tic?

Really great personal trainers have a great source of empathy. We are all emotional beings. There are lots of reasons people seek out personal trainers.  I mean, reasons you maybe haven’t even identified to yourself.  We understand the unspoken cues clients give us. You might say “I just need to lose weight” but maybe what you really are seeking is friend, to feel confident, or to feel supported. If I meet a client in a negative state of mind I think, what can I do to change that so that you leave feeling better after your workout?

I know it sounds a little courtesan-ish, but when a trainer gets a sense of what type of person you are on that day, we can tailor the workouts to get the most out of you. We become the person you need us to be for that hour.

Lets just aim for like and take it from there…

I’m not saying it’s going to be a love fest the first day out, I mean, we only get 60 minutes to do all of that, and there is a whole lot of getting-to-know-you that has to happen to get you maximum results.  Like any worthwhile relationship it takes a little time and a little work on both the client and the trainers behalf.  As a client you will get the most out of your time if you are open and honest, present and available to do the work you’ve agreed to do in our capable hands.  But if you don’t have all that on that specific day, that’s ok, with a great trainer, you will still get exactly what you need.