Working as an ACE certified personal trainer has brought me into contact with people from all walks of life. Every workday is different and every client is an individual with specific needs and concerns. I’ve trained men, women, teenagers, post-rehabilitation adults and the elderly.
I’ve worked in the fitness industry for ten years and I’ve noticed many trainers have the education and knowledge but lack the “personal” part of personal training. A client’s experience is highly dependent on their relationship with their trainer. While it is a business relationship, it’s definitely a personal relationship too. To that end, I learn about my clients and their interests. I ask about their careers, families and hobbies. From session to session, I ask follow-up questions about things discussed in our previous meeting. The fact that I remember these things and ask about them lets my clients know that I am truly interested in who they are.
When I first meet with a client, I ask many questions about what they want to get out of their sessions. Does she want to learn about exercise physiology and biomechanics? Does he prefer to chat about topics other than exercise to make working out more enjoyable? Does she want to know how many repetitions are left or does she prefer to work until I tell her to stop? We also set goals and determine a course of action together.
In the beginning of my career, I worked in a gym facility catering to women. Being onsite enabled me to see up to eight clients in a day. I often had breaks between clients and used those periods to eat or work out. Our sessions were 55 minutes long and I used the last five minutes for stretching unless the client requested otherwise. I completed any paperwork or notes immediately afterward so as not to forget anything.
For the past seven years, I’ve worked with private clients in their homes or occasionally mine. Because of travel time, I can’t see nearly as many clients as I previously did but the pay is better and it’s easier to develop rapport with new clients because we’re on their “turf.” Clients also tend to be more forthright about difficult topics in private environments. I also enjoy being able to set my own hours and work with clients who are a good fit.
Although the intent of every session is to give the client a good workout, sometimes things take a more serious turn and they disclose things that factor into a dislike of exercise or issues affecting self-esteem. I’ve learned that I need to prepare for just about anything.
I don’t schedule more than three to four sessions per day and I limit myself to specific geographical boundaries because I could easily spend an entire day driving if I didn’t.
How much pre-session prep I do is dependent upon what equipment we’re using. I have a standard bag of tricks that accompanies me to every session but I also have a wide selection of equipment I can bring. I’ve stocked my home gym with transportable items such as a Step 360, BOSU ball and an adjustable kettlebell. I do need to schedule my departure time, make sure there’s gas in my car and keep it in good working order since it serves as a mobile gym/office.Working as an independent personal trainer gives me the freedom and flexibility to cater to client needs and preferences as well as my own. Personal training is an incredibly rewarding career and the best part about it is that I’m always learning something new!