A Guide to Becoming an "A" List Personal Trainer

Personal Training Business Tips from an “A” List Personal Trainer

Written by
October 17, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018
Category: Lifestyle
Tags: Mindset

What is the ultimate dream client for the fitness professional?  If I asked 100 soon to be personal trainers what type of clients would they like to work with, what profile do you think most would consider/desire?  A.) Elderly, B.) Rehabilitation (injured), C.) Athletes, D.) Average Joe and Jane, (E) High Net-Worth (HNW) Individuals?  I am sure you guessed C correctly.  What is it about training any of these clients that makes the fitness professional so excited?  

Athletes are typically already in shape so to the general public their body often screams performance giving the fitness professional a ready-made show trophy.  In reality, the fitness professional has to work 10 times harder to achieve incremental success.

Athletes’ also require a ton of injury prevention, so the fitness professional must take precautionary measures to provide the best sports medicine practices to minimize the chance of injury while maximizing output.  However, unless the athlete has already made it to the big leagues they rarely have the disposable income to hire a personal trainer outside their own training facility.

I am not saying that training athletes is either exciting or not, they just represent another target audience for revenue consideration for your business model.  As a fitness professional for over a decade, I will let you in on a little secret: athletes are not part of my “A” or ideal client profile.  Not because they don’t represent a viable market, but execution against the needs are just not consistent with my desired business approach.

Who is the Best Personal Training Client?

A GUIDE TO BECOMING AN “A” LIST PERSONAL TRAINER

As fitness professionals regardless of our chosen market sector we are naturally passionate about helping others accomplish their fitness and wellness objectives. Why? Because each of us have experienced how training has brought us from either some level of obscurity to prominence.

At minimum we have personally realized the transformation in our own mind and bodies and the natural increase in confidence and self-esteem that comes with the accomplishments. While our stories may be slightly different, we are unified by a common thread, our passion to see someone else achieving their personal goals and objectives. Most can relate that feeling is priceless.

Some of us have a gift for connecting with seniors and as the baby boomers continue to age there is a huge need for that occupation. Others have great sports medicine backgrounds or strong medical institution relationships giving them enhanced access to therapy patients.

Of course there are the great strength coaches who have the lifelong desire to coach athletes only. My passion was to be the most successful trainer I could be, so early in my career I choose D.) Average Joe and Jane.

Personal Trainers Can’t Look Past the Average Joe

The average Joe and Jane are often the fitness professionals’ “bread and butter,” as they represent one of the largest market segments in the health and wellness industry. They have steady jobs/income and affording a personal trainer is often a mere function of prioritizing their discretionary spending.

Joe and Jane are probably out of shape, but remember their younger years of when they didn’t have that beer belly and could fit into skinny jeans and dresses and were often former athletes. Joe and Jane probably have few injuries that limit them from working-out on day one.

Joe and Jane are obviously motivated because they are looking to make changes. Ladies and gentleman this is how I want to find my “A” list clients.

Lastly, there are the high net-worth individuals. These are the movers and shakers. They are the doctors, lawyers, business owners, CEOs, VPs, executives, successful entrepreneurs, and authors, your Hollywood A-listers. They are the ultra-busy, hard-working thought leaders in their respective industry. Despite their often high profile nature they are incredibly focused and disciplined.

They understand hard-work and are often informed buyers and gravitate not only toward high service but ongoing education in all they do. They may often be perceived as high maintenance because they have high standards and seek measured success or return on their investment. Their time is always at a premium and optimizing output is not just nice-to-do but often a requirement and condition for engagement or employment.

Increasing High Profile Training Clients

A GUIDE TO BECOMING AN “A” LIST PERSONAL TRAINERA GUIDE TO BECOMING AN “A” LIST PERSONAL TRAINER

Why would you want to gain high net-worth (HNW) individuals as part of your client portfolio?  The answer is simple: Earn more work less. While the formula sounds simple, the execution can be anything but.  However, by focusing on the success and motivation of the HNW individual it allows you to optimize your time and earning potential without dragging out your daily routines.

This allows outstripping of your personal capacity when trying to manage 15 – 30 clients per day. This allows the fitness professional to accomplish their revenue and personal objectives in less time and enhances their ongoing preparation for servicing their clients.

Let’s Make the List to Become the “A” List Trainer Everybody Wants.

Personal Trainer Tip #1: Invest In Yourself.

Act like the client you desire to serve. If you want to serve professionals you have to look and act professional. When you hit your local gym, studio, cross-fit facility, health club your hair should be done, clean shaven, nice shoes, clothes that fit perfectly, name tag if possible. Avoid talking slang with your clients. Everything from your attire, communication and client engagement should reflect the professional you desire to be and serve. Never stop learning and continue to build your own knowledge base. Your clients come to you for your knowledge and leadership, so expect the same level of service they often provide to their customers.

Personal Trainer Tip #2: Go Above and Beyond Everyone’s Expectations.

Get the absolute best degree you can, research every topic before anyone can have a chance to ask you, greet your clients at the door, walk them out when they are done, call them that night, text them daily, email ideas how to help their goals, remember birthdays, anniversaries, kids names, give them a free session on special days, help them in any way you can. This is not a ploy to be a “kiss ass trainer,” but this is how the Ritz Carlton would treat their guests and so should you.

Personal Trainer Tip #3: Always Be A Step Ahead.

By understanding your client’s needs and goals it allows you to set appropriate milestones to help keep them on track and course correct any negative variances. HNW individuals expect service and results. You must continue to monitor their performance and ensure performance success is always the greatest motivator. Plan for your client’s success through proper periodization, recovery methods, nutrition planning, and of course make sure some days you can get off the plan and adapt to their needs last minute.

Personal Trainer Tip #4: Build Your Team.

Become a great general manager by building a service support network of complementary professionals to feed needs outside their fitness goals. “I have the best sports medicine guy, the ultimate yoga girl, the most amazing massage therapist who will come to your house, the best running store, my mountain bike guru, and if you travel to Miami you have to train here…”

Personal Trainer Tip #5: Be Empathetic Not Sympathetic.

Fitness professionals classically make the mistake of becoming too “buddy-buddy” with their clients. Understand what your clients’ needs are and how to help them achieve their goals, but stay professional. Stay in your lane. While we all desire to develop professional chemistry with our clients understand they have their own social groups and so should you. Don’t confuse being a part of your client’s professional network with being in their social circles.

By maintaining the professional discipline you will often develop enhancements in the personal relationships which are now built on trust not perceived entitlement. With that trust will often come access to their network and additional potential clients, through invitations to events and other functions.

In conclusion, these are simple rules I have followed for over a decade and they have afforded me the pleasure of not only training world class athletes but HNW individuals from politicians, executives, CEOs, attorneys, secret service cadets, top investors, and some of the most independent wealthy A-list celebrities.

It is the same formula that has allowed me to become the exclusive trainer for Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. As fitness professionals target your clientele based on your competitive strengths and then build your road map to success. The best way to enjoy the journey is to follow your own path fueled by a passion for your client’s success. Be Relentless.

Jason VanHeulen
My aspiration in life is to help others achieve an above average lifestyle created through health and wellness of the body, mind and spirit. The Live Relentlessly lifestyle was created through my successes and failures of my career and my life experiences. It is in my life's journey I can teach you how Live Relentlessly. My goal through Live Relentlessly is to help you develop and strengthen your mind, body and spirit. This strengthening will help you increase your fitness level to new heights, increase your confidence, value your body and minds' potential, build healthier relationships, take risks, enjoy the moment and never regret anything that makes you smile. Building this strength will help you Live Relentlessly.
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