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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:43 pm 
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I'm 37, but I spent a lot of time with older people growing up, and was actually inspired to get healthy by a seniors' yoga class I accidentally went to- and ended up going to weekly- years ago :) I think I'm fairly approachable, gym-wise, at least from what people have told me, that could be part of it?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:28 pm 
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I also have never been, nor hired a professional trainer. But I have trained in many commercial gyms. When I am in the US (4 months every 2 years) I travel almost full-time, and I find places to train wherever I am, usually in commercial gyms. I see the trainers, sometimes overhear them with their clients. One thing that I would never want to do, if I were a trainer, nor would I ever pay anyone for, is to stand around looking bored while I the client works out. I see them leaning on a nearby machine (maybe counting reps, maybe not), picking their nose, rolling their eyes, and generally looking like they like to be anywhere except there.

I also see some that are obviously not prepared for their sessions, just making it up as they go along. I'd think that they'd at least have notes, or a file folder for the client that they would have plans for the program.

I've really enjoyed following KPj's posts about his development and evolution as a trainer/coach. It will be fun to follow your adventure as well.

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Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:30 am 
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Dub wrote:
That's the website of The personal trainer development center. It always has great blog posts revolving around the work of a trainer. They got out this little wacky booklet called 47 random personal trainer tips. Maybe you can find something worth using.


Dub, I am LOVING these links! Thanks so much. The PT tips are good too, they make a lot of sense, and give me a bit of a boost since I can see I'm at least somewhat on track. Especially with proper socks :grin:

Tell me a bit more about the program you're working on up in Finland, when you have some time!

I have a big assessment Monday morning, where I instruct a client through cardio, weights, warm-up, cool-down, stretches, etc. I had 2 theory exams last Saturday (which I think I passed) and a body weight exercise assessment- which everyone passed. I'll know by Monday afternoon if I have achieved the title of 'Gym Instructor' - meaning I can move onto the PT stuff.

Jungledoc- I totally agree with you- the worst for me is when they are on a phone, looking the other way while their client trains. Really? On the phone? I would be so angry if I was paying someone for that.

Might sound a bit corny, but two of the best things I have acquired in the past couple of weeks is a good timing watch and a clipboard. It helps so much, as I figured out that my rest period between sets and exercises was totally inadequate...

I'm spending the next couple of days honing up on muscles, instructing, and getting in a couple of workouts myself. One of the things I discovered is that I am super weak in the serratus anterior, and I have been working on that...


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:55 am 
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Everything KPj said/says is solid gold. In fact I'd go to the lounge section and read his "Random Personal Training Thoughts" as well, it'd be well worth your time.

To expand on a thought JungleDoc provided, the most important piece of advice someone gave me that I'm going to pass along here is as follows: if a client is training with you 2X a week or more, they're spending more time with you than they are with anyone else except their family and their best friend. You're not only getting a significant chunk of their money, you're getting a big piece of their life as well. The most important interpersonal skill you can develop is a strong respect for other people's — and your own! — time.

Oh, and during your first year of training, every hour you can spend at the library studying fitness or marketing will pay for itself double in the second year without fail.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:16 pm 
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Jungledoc prodded me to come look at this thread, so I figure I'll jump in with some tips that have helped me as a trainer.

- Number One: Listen to your clients. Ask them what they want, and endeavor to give that to them. Demonstrate how you can get them there. But you can't do that unless you ask. And keep asking what they'd like to accomplish and why they want to accomplish that. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I want to lose 10 pounds" and it really ends up meaning "I'd like to fit back into a dress 2 sizes smaller than now and 10 pounds sounds like what I'd need to weigh to do that." You have to follow up and find out why they want what they want.

- Like Jason said, it's a sales job. But that doesn't mean you sell everything. Work to make yourself "value added." I've had clients ask me about training on their own, and I've told them I'd give them a workout template they can follow after they leave . . . but that I'm certain I can get them better results with the same program. I know it's true, so I have no problem giving away advice, template and training ideas, telling them about other sources of knowledge, etc. I figure, if I can help them reach their goals and teach them to be smart exercisers, I'm both doing the job they hired me for and effectively advertising my abilities to others through them. It's a win all around.

- have a basic training template for one, two, and three day a week clients. Not cookie cutter workouts, but a framework you can use when you write a workout. It could be flat-out blank lines for exercises and movements, or you could grey-in things like "push" "pull" "hip-dominant legs" "unilateral knee-dominant legs" etc. This will save you a lot of time and it'll keep you on track. It's hard to forget to do a warmup if there is a warmup section on your workout templates, for example. Plus it gives you somewhere to start with a client, even if you must immediately toss whole sections aside as you find special needs or limitations.

- don't overuse jargon, but don't be afraid to explain it to clients who seem interested in learning it. It can only help them later if you teach them what sets and reps are, what intensity means in the literature, what "toning" and "shaping" mean and don't mean, what the various weights and bars are called, etc. You're their guide to the training world, so be that guide. Don't obfuscate or confuse them, rather teach them what they need to know.

- learn at least the basics of diet. It'll be a critical aspect of training for almost every single one of your clients.

- Never stop learning. If you're dealing a specific population, never stop learning about that population.

- Find someone who is training the way you want to train people, and ask them for help. Asking here is a good start.

I hope that helps. When in doubt, listen to Jason and KPj because they pay the bills doing this work! :)

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:37 am 
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Great post, Peter. I keep hoping that you'll find time to be a bit more active on the forum!

For you newbies, Peter is a part-time trainer, and amateur MMA fighter (between injuries!) He knows a lot about this stuff.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:04 am 
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vanillarama wrote:
In regards to 'target audience'... I don't want to limit myself to one type of client...


"You can't be all things to all people."

One of the biggest mistakes everyone makes is trying to be everthing to everybody. You need to define who you are and what you do. Become an expert in that area and cater to them.

Established Expert

Once you establish yourself as an expert in a particular area, they will come to you.

Examples:

hoosegow's Football Niche

If he were to established himself as the "football guru" strength coach, he'd own that market.

Cross Marketing

Not only would hoosegow own that market, he'd be known as the strength athlete coach. He would pick up baseball, basketball, soccer and other atheltes who want to become "bigger, faster and/or stronger."

He would also pick up regular individuals who want to improve their strength and would chose the "strength expert" over the "jack of all trades."

Many of those individuals who signed up with him to become stronger would remain with him.

The 22 Immutable Rules Of Marketing
http://www.amazon.com/The-22-Immutable- ... 0887306667

As Jason Nunn stated, some of this is marketing. The 22 Immutable Rules of Marketing is an short, easy to read book that will help you define who you are and how to get there.

Kenny Croxdale

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:33 am 
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Pete's advice is awesome, I'd be going to him for training just based on what he tells you to do.

Let me tell you what I like about my trainer. First off is the intangible, I really think he loves to teach, and that is crucial. I can tell that he gives that much more to the students who really want to learn, every real teacher does that.

More specifically:

- He rapidly picks up on where I'm at:

- a) He listens to what I say and never explains a jargon term he hears me use
- b) the very first thing he did was watch me on the four lifts: bench, press, dead, squat
- c) He never criticizes decisions I made before coming to him, but he never hesitates to disagree when his professional experience suggests a better path. He also knows the diplomatic way to do this, such as saying, "Well 5/3/1 is a good program, a lot of people make good progress with it, but it requires time." Once I hear that "but" I know he'll offer me an alternative, or he's looking to see if I'm open to one.

- It's *very* technical. I spend most of my precious paid time doing one of the major lifts or a variation and getting specific feedback on (almost) every set.

- He's a likable guy. Since Pete points out this is a sales position, this is very important. Be likable. If you aren't, learn to be, it's not that hard.

- Will always take a moment to answer a question if I drop by the gym.

- Always introduces his clients to each other. I think that's cool, but maybe that's just me.

- Is very loose on terms for things like cancellations -- not a lot of rules. This works because I've met a lot of my fellow trainees and all of his trainees are serious, so he just doesn't have to worry that they're going to screw him out of fees by not showing up.

- Offers a volume discount -- about 15% to prebuy 10 sessions. This is a lot more important than it sounds. It lets us both know how serious and long-term we are.

- He's patient. Some people like me ask a million questions and require some patience, others just come in and lift. Gotta deal with both.

- He loves to lift, which is obvious when you first meet him, and he's put in decades under the bar. I would never pay somebody to train me if that somebody is just doing it as a job, he's got to love lifting like I do.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:45 am 
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hoosegow wrote:
my physique would damage my credibility to the average client.


Vince Lombardi

What frigging moron ever believed Lombardi could coach? An overweight, old guy who wasn't very sensitive.

Anyone who looked at Lombardi without knowing who he was, would have written him off in two seconds.

"Judging a book by it's cover."

I do have some empathy for your statement. I don't look the part. So, initially other tend to question my knowledge and experience.

Educating Other

What you have to do with individuals who judge you by your looks, is educate them on you knowledge, experience and provide them individuals who have obtained success with you.

"I can't fix stupid."

No matter what you do with some individuals, they are just stupid. They believe that individuals who look the part must be smart.

You can't help them.

Kenny Croxdale

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:15 pm 
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KenDowns wrote:
Pete's advice is awesome, I'd be going to him for training just based on what he tells you to do.


Thanks - and thanks Kenny and Doc as well.

KenDowns wrote:
- Is very loose on terms for things like cancellations -- not a lot of rules. This works because I've met a lot of my fellow trainees and all of his trainees are serious, so he just doesn't have to worry that they're going to screw him out of fees by not showing up.


This is something I do as well, with limits. If you cancel within 24 hours, I have to charge you for the session - company rules. But if you rarely cancel, you're prompt with communication, or it's something unavoidable, I'll work with you. If you just don't come, or you don't respect my time (you know I'm driving to the gym just for you, but you cancel 10 minutes before), I'm just going to charge you. I make this clear to people up front - it's 24 hours, you do need to text or call or email me - and then I loosen up those rules for people who earn it (for lack of a better term).

It's basically about banked goodwill on both sides - if you're on time, you cancel ahead of time, and you respect both my time and yours, I'm going to do my best to make up the session if at all possible. If not, I can't.

My trainers did the same for me, and I learned from them.

Best way is, explain your rules up front and get them to sign onto them, and then relax them when you can.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:11 am 
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To all of you saying, 'hope this helps'- yes, yes yes...it REALLY does!

Just a little update, as of last week, I passed two assessments, meaning I am a gym instructor (I am certified to work the gym floor now- this isn't a position that exists in the US) and am on my way to being a PT. I managed to stress myself out just enough to get myself quite ill, so I'm laid out on the couch rather than in the gym for the next couple of days...but more time to read, right? I also am volunteering to work in a program starting somewhat soon where I will oversee 13-15 year olds coming to the gym (cardio, no weights) after school. No big deal I guess, but still gets me out there, and something to put on my CV.

I'm really overwhelmed with all the positive responses. You guys are great.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:09 am 
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You might want to read the thread starting at viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8794&view=unread#p85204 , especially note Dub's reply at viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8794&view=unread#p85210


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:06 am 
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Quote:
Tell me a bit more about the program you're working on up in Finland, when you have some time!

Well, there's alot of work that's for sure. I've been busy as hell for the last few weeks now since every course is coming towards the end when summer holidays are coming.

Alrighty, I study in the university of applied science, and the line or subject is Social and health studies, and more accurately, sports and leisure. It's complicated system, there's no way to address this simply enough, or then even I don't understand this simply enough. Anyway, here's a brief explanation on what this type of school is about:
Quote:
A classical university with several colleges is called yliopisto in Finnish. However, some specialized universities are called korkeakoulu, because unlike classical universities, they focus only on one discipline, even though they have the same status as an yliopisto; for example, Teatterikorkeakoulu, a theatre school, can be considered a single "theater college".
The vocational universities, however, are called ammattikorkeakoulu. The potential for confusion has led some korkeakoulus to change their name to yliopisto, abandoning the distinction between the terms yliopisto and korkeakoulu.
And where I study is Rovaniemen Ammattikorkeakoulu, and I study sports and leisure. I'll graduate as the bachelor of sports and leisure. The most common name for the graduates is fitness instructor (liikunnanohjaaja), which is a huge understatement and is in the verge of changing.

It's a 3,5 year school, our class has about 40 sutdents. Over 300 tried to apply here, but only that few were chosen. We go thorugh hell of a lot of courses with lots of variety. The courses are divided into several categories. First is basic studies, which covers all the nonsense of the schoolworld, language studies and information technology. Then we have professional studies, which has several categories. These include: health and well-being (anatomy, physiology, nutrition, improving health etc.), exercise education (motoric learning, didactics, pedagogy, exercise physiology, etc) Exercise methods and sports (Nature and winter sports, track and field, gymnasticks and dance, water sports and the understanding of different games and "gamesense"). We also have a opportunity to specialize to either nature exercises and sports or sport coaching and instructing There be more specific courses when the specification begins.

Then there are studies revolving around society, jurisdictions and business stuff like that. Then we have periods where we have to work for a company that has something to do around the business of fitness and exercising. So there's plenty of stuff. For graduation, we have to do this huge thesis with research and stuff. After that we have to work for atleast 3 years, then we can apply for master studies. Not necessary tho.

This isn't the only way to become a "Personal Trainer" in Finland, but it's the best and most competent. You can get your diplomas by some silly weekend courses and stuff, but I have little respect for that kind of studies. A proper university is needed if you want to become a teacher in this profession. Or earn a doctors degree.

There's the structural model of my school, or somewhere along that. The grammar has some poor translations, as some words don't really go well with english. Anyway, if there's something more accurate you'd like to know, just ask. I still got two and a half years to go.

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 11:46 am 
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Wow, I'm envious you're doing a program like that. I wish so much I'd gone with exercise science rather than my history degree (hindsight, blah). What are you finding the most interesting or surprising aspects of your study? A somewhat general question, I know, but I love to hear about people's passions or discoveries while learning.


A question for all- I just came across the site PTonthenet. Would you all consider it a good investment? Are there other resource sites (besides this one, obviously) that you would recommend?


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 3:05 pm 
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I don't have a whole lot of experiance with PTonthenet, but I would highly reccomend strengthcoach.com. The membership is like $9 per month and some of the top coaches, PT's, and Chiro's post there.


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