I just got NCSF certified and am trying to figure out where to go from here. I have a fair amount of personal experience (extremely physically active and in sports since early childhood, been doing personal training as a client for a little more than a year, been instructing some people on techniques in Judo and archery) but I don’t yet have much confidence as my ability as a trainer. I’m afraid that I’ll get a client and won’t know how to help them; what they need or what exercises to do with them.
I understand the only way to have experience is to jump in and get experience but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions/ advice on how to do that, a good course of action from here, advice in general, etc..
Another thing I thought about this morning for you is this.
No matter how much you know, how long you train, how many people you teach, there will be things you don’t know. It’s natural to feel a little insecure when you’re new. The key, IMO, is how you channel that insecurity. When I get a question that I don’t know the answer to, I say, “That’s a really great question. I only know a bit about it (share that info if you have any), but I have several resources and can find out for you. I can answer you next session or if you need it before that, I’ll email you what I find out.”
This is the missing gap in the industry.
We need a mentorship program to address exactly this issue.
It’s not something that can be taught. Training is intuitive and innate.
When meeting a potential client for the first time, have forms for them to complete that address your concerns. Work off of the forms.
A few other suggestions;
Make eye contact
Let the client talk:
Ask specific questions
Ask if they have any questions
One thing to remember when you start working with someone who has never hired a personal trainer is they are just as scared as you are! LOL. Be true to yourself. Use the knowledge that you know, read up on what you don’t. Be understanding, because, trust me, most people who hire personal trainers appreciate a person who understands them and cares about them. They care about that more than they care about how much you know about micros and macros, etc.
I wish I had a mentor when I started. I think finding someone you could shadow is a great idea. Or practice on family and friends for free to get used to it.
It would be better if you found someone with experience and talked to them about how you plan to work with a client from the paperwork to the first session to the next few sessions. It would be good to create an outline of your initial client interview and screenings/assessments. Create a packet of your forms, history, risk factors, etc. And while you shouldn’t have all clients use the same program design, initially you should have all clients begin with ROM exercises/foundation movements. Many instructors skip this, but it is very important to know how well your clients move.
All of that takes time, but doing it will have you well prepared for your clients. If you want to do some email discussions on this, check out my website at www.hawaiifitnessacademy.com . You can contact me through the website or use the email address posted on the website.
I wish you much success.
Oh boy, you are in GREAT company. I believe everyone who has ever trained someone felt the same way!
My recommendation is to find a gym that has trainers that you feel are role models. If you are able to work in the same location, DO IT. If not, go there and workout. Let them know you are starting and ask if you are allowed to shadow them. If not, workout at the same place and try to to listen, in a respectful manner, of course.
Also, find a place who will take you. And start with people who you are comfortable with. If you are knowledgeable and able to teach, vs just knowing how to do it, there is a diference, you will begin to get in a grove 🙂