We always tell potential clients that “you can’t put a price tag on your health,”…
September 04, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
I must admit when I started personal training in the mid-’90s, most of my education came from muscle magazines. I had a subscription to all of them. Between years of experience in the gym, reading dozens of books and thousands of articles, I felt equipped enough to take on clients. Of course, I also had a university degree in kinesiology and health science, but all that did was place a few letters after my name and a fancy certificate on the wall. Yes, I knew how to take someone’s age and calculate their heart rate training zone for aerobic activity and I knew how many servings of each food group were required, but when it came to strength training not much was taught in school!
Was I getting results with my clients?
Absolutely, but anything is better than laying on the couch. A beginner can gain strength just by looking at a weight! The truth is that most clients were doing alright with their training – progress was made but not outstanding. I knew it was time to upgrade my knowledge and skills, so I came up with a four-stage plan of attack:
1. I read at least one book a week on various subjects, including strength & conditioning, nutrition, and business. If it would help further my career, I’d read it!
2. Every two weeks or so, I’d pick an afternoon and shadow an expert in the field. Whether it was another trainer with more years of experience, or a chiropractor, physiotherapist, osteopath, nutritionist, medical doctor… it didn’t matter, as long as I got to observe, ask questions, and learn! In addition to the education, it made for a great networking opportunity.
3. I’d accumulate references from all my readings, and then once a month visit the university library to get them! Back in those days, you had to physically pull the journal out and photocopy the pages. My girlfriend at the time (and now my wife) would help me out. I’d give her a list, we’d both go off in different directions, and an hour later we’d meet in front of the photocopiers with a huge stack of journals! It was a timely and costly process but well worth it.
4. Every month or so, I needed to attend at least one seminar, lecture, workshop, conference, or symposium. Anything that related to personal training was game. I went all across North America for these events. I can’t tell you how many hours and how much money I spent doing so, but the information and the contacts that I accumulated along the way were absolutely invaluable!
And what was the outcome from all this effort?
Well, results were amazing and business grew like crazy! My name got around and within a few years, I was training several high-profile clients, I had articles published in various magazines, I was appearing on television, personal trainers and other health & fitness professionals were hiring me for training and consultations, and I was approached by a number of organizations requesting lectures and workshops.
I guarantee you that I would not be in the same position today without that strategy. If you think about it, it’s no different than training a client. You devise the most efficient plan to achieve their goals, and then you put it into action. And if the plan is carried out with consistent and relentless execution, look out! You’ll get results.
Trust me, if you get your learn on and really strive for higher education, you’ll set yourself apart from the others, and people will quickly recognize the difference. Don’t settle for a mere “muscle magazine” mentality, go for more. In fact, go for broke! Several of my colleagues have maxed out their credit cards on education (e.g., books, seminars, consultations, etc.) and went into temporary debt only to have it return many times over in gained revenue.
Your worth is directly proportional to your knowledge. The bottom line is that if you want to succeed in personal training, you need to learn more to earn more!
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