Starting a personal-training career is many things—exciting, scary, fun, overwhelming—to name just a few. You are taking your first steps into the professional world and will likely experience both the high of success and the disappointment of some failed attempts. And that’s O.K. Mistakes are allowed and are often the way in which we learn the most valuable of lessons. There are, however, some pitfalls to be aware of so you can sidestep them right out of the gates. By avoiding these five common—yet avoidable—mistakes, you will be better positioned to achieve your professional goals sooner than those who don’t plan ahead.
1. Not charging enough for your services.
It’s enticing to want to be the trainer who offers the lowest price, but don’t do it. Your expertise, background and the experience you bring to the table are all valuable and deserving of appropriate compensation. Instead of trying to offer the lowest price, offer a competitive price and work to highlight what you have to offer potential clients that other trainers in the area do not. What’s your edge? What’s your trademark service? Research the competition and place yourself in a solid position to compete. You will attract clients who are serious about investing in their health and working hard to accomplish what they desire.
2. Failing to assess clients.
Not every client needs or will benefit from a full physical fitness assessment. However, every client needs some type of evaluation. For example, you may have a significantly out of shape client who works a sedentary job and has unbalanced eating habits. It’s unnecessary to subject that individual to a full battery of assessments such as push-ups, sit-ups, or a one-mile run to determine a benchmark to gather enough information to begin. Instead, focus on the client’s goals and what measurements or metrics you can safely collect that directly relate to the initial short-term goals.
For all clients, be sure you do not skip the “paperwork” component of screening and assessment, which includes health history, waiver of liability, informed consent and other lifestyle inventory/behavior details. These tools help to inform the overall safety and structure of the program, and are necessary and required for all clients regardless of their fitness levels or goals. The point here is to use your judgment when it comes to the physical assessments.
3. Not tailoring programs to fit client needs and goals.