When I started and this was a hobby, my criterion was about the fun factor. Now that this is my career and I target a specific demographic of clientele, I use the following considerations:
1) Do I believe in the science behind the program? If there’s no scientific basis, or if the format makes claims that are incorrect or untrue, I’m not touching it.
2) Does this add to my knowledge base, not just in adding that specific format, but will it contribute to my overall teaching skills?
3) Am I passionate about this format and can I envision clients for whom it will be beneficial?
4) Will it be profitable for me?
5) How long will I be profitable before there is competition?
I have never used someone else’s program. I teach what I know works. I adapt to the current trends only if there is something worth integrating into my programs. I don’t follow the trends just for the sake of making money. Participants are encouraged to give me feedback and suggestion on things that interest them. I will always listen to my clients. If I can safely incorporate suggestions, I do. I sometimes turn down suggestions, but never try to make the client feel they made a bad suggestion. Usually I can get away with saying I haven’t had enough experience with the exercise program, if I don”t want to teach it. Or I find someone in the area teaching it. And refer clients to them. I try not to bad mouth programs unless I have solid reasons that they are dangerous.
Another thing I do, and have done, is attend conventions like IDEA World. That gives me an idea of what is happening in the fitness world outside of my little bubble. I look at what’s new, what’s popular, what’s innovative. I tend to take educational trainings rather than format-based trainings, but I take home little nuggets of successful formats to use in everything I teach.
I tell my clients that I teach from five brains. The personal trainer brain, the yoga instructor brain, the group-ex instructor brain, the MELT brain, and the pilates brain.