With everything we have had to deal with in group ex over the last 15 months, it’s no wonder lots of instructors are adding personal training to their skill set. It can be used to target the same people who come to our classes, it can be done online or in-person with minimal hassle and has probably been the one part of the fitness industry that has stayed relatively consistent in recent months. It also gives our body a rest… which is handy when we do what we do.
PT compliments group exercise pretty well. I use it to add on an extra layer of technique, form & training to my weight-lifting clients. Helping your ‘average’ woman, with all the pressures of life, to love her body via the mode of picking up heavy stuff is my niche. But it wasn’t always.
When I first started personal training 10 years ago, I made a lot of mistakes. Mistakes that led me to leave it completely and only focus on group exercise. I only came back to it about 3 years ago because I realised I was doing myself a disservice by passing my weightlifting clients on to someone else. Someone who was fantastic at their job but who had a different method and end game for my clients than I would have preferred, and whilst I admired their skill, I knew I could get my clients to where they wanted to be.
This time around I was strict with myself. I made decisions on how things were going to be, and I followed them. It made me uncomfortable & nervous at first, but I stuck to my guns, and now, I have found a love for personal training that is just as intense as the way I feel about my group ex classes. I love it because this time around it is a direct reflection of my values both as a person and as a business owner.
Here are my top tips for getting it right from day one, straight from someone who didn't have anyone to ask if they were making the right choice. Every PT is different but these have made such a difference to me and allowed me to be invested and to enjoy every session fully without worrying about every awkward conversation I might need to have at the end.
1. If you are brand new, it’s common practice to offer discounted sessions so you can get experience, results and recommendations without having any social proof. It’s a good idea. Personal training is an investment for most people, they want to know you are awesome before they hand over large amounts of money. The key with this is to make sure you communicate the end date of the discounted sessions, that way no one can get the hump with you when your ‘practicing’ comes to an end and your prices go up.
2. Write a template contract containing terms & conditions including your cancellation policy, your invoice terms and anything else you need them to know. Get it e-signed and store it yourself as well as somewhere your client has easy access. Know your T&Cs and decide in your head, the type of circumstances where you might allow your client to roll over the session. You are communicating the value of your session, when you feel undervalued it will erode your confidence & your enjoyment. Some of the responsibility for that lies with you to set the standard for what you expect.
3. If you’ve been teaching a while, you will have developed a niche of some kind whether you realise it or not. It could be something obvious like pre/post-natal women, strength athletes, older clients. But it could be something you can’t quite put into words. Think about who you want to train and where you want to take them, this will show you how to word your marketing copy…. And who to say yes to. Which brings me on to my next point.