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6 Ways to Become a More Effective and Successful Personal Trainer

Here are just some of the tools you’ll take home from the 2020 IDEA® Personal Trainer Institute in Alexandria, Virginia, March 5–8.

Personal Trainer Institute 2020

What do you hope to do next in your fitness career? Make the transition from part-time trainer to full-time business owner? Discover new profit centers to beef up your bottom line? Refresh your program design strategies? Deepen your understanding of the latest behavior modification techniques?

Learn how to do all this and more at the 2020 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute, the most comprehensive and impactful fitness event for personal trainers, fitness facility owners, and managers and program directors.

Here’s a taste of what you can experience this year:

Skillful Cuing Is Key

Michael Piercy at Personal Trainer Institute 2019

Michael Piercy, MS, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, MMACS, SFS, WFS, WLS, instructing at the 2019 Personal Trainer Institute.

Top-level coaching doesn’t happen without effective communication between trainer and client.

“Advanced cuing skills turn a good trainer into a great coach and transform training into an art form,” says Pete Holman, MSPT, who will address this topic in the session “Cue Your Way to Success.” “If you’ve ever watched an expert artist paint on canvas, you’ll notice they have a multitude of different brushes. Each brush serves a specific purpose, yet when the strokes are combined, they can create a masterpiece. Personal trainers with advanced skills can manipulate their cues to adapt to a client’s needs, and like an artist transforming a canvas, [produce a masterful work of art].”

Fit Pros Need Social Media Smarts

Social media is a must for fitness businesses, but getting noticed can be tough.

Darren Jacobson, senior vice president of instructor programming at Zumba® Fitness LLC, can help. In a session he calls “My Social Media Experiment: From 1K to 10K in 1 Year on Instagram,” he will share the real-life story of how he dramatically increased his following on this popular platform.

Jacobson describes the inspiration behind his efforts this way: “I was looking to understand the world of social media [so I could] have knowledgeable conversations with the master trainer teams across the globe for Zumba. I also felt as a leader that I could not push people to step out of their comfort zone using social media if I had not done that myself.”

Since then, Jacobson’s newfound social media savvy has earned him a positive reputation as a brand builder.

“I became an influencer for the Spartan® brand and have done a few collaborations with other fitness brands,” he says. “I have also created a movement called the #mymovementchallenge, which gets people moving every Friday across 40-plus countries with a challenge of the week. This has really extended my reach and professional network.”

Nutrition Deserves Its Place at the Table

Nutrition at Personal Trainer Institute

Attendees at the 2019 Personal Trainer Institute.

Do some of your clients struggle to make fitness gains? Make sure you’re asking the right nutrition assessment questions, suggests Ashley Koff, RD, CEO of the Better Nutrition Program™.

“[Do] you ask them about their total nutrition—food, drink, supplements?” she says.

“They may not realize they should tell you about all of these, and most food recalls and apps just ask about food and drink.”

Koff also recommends taking stock of how you request information, so that you can get to the root of a client’s roadblocks more quickly.

“It may not be easy for them to share [nutrition information]. Are your forms clear? Do you insert reminders and prompts? Are clients comfortable talking to you, do they want to impress you, or do they feel judged?”

Koff will help you to hone your interview strategies in the session “What You Don’t Know About Your Clients Is Keeping Them From Better Results.”

Basics Can Be Best

Personal Trainer Institute 2020 Info

Sometimes, the best program design strategies are the simplest ones.

Greg Johnson, MS, owner of Varimax Fitness in Sacramento, says, “In the fitness industry, the pendulum tends to swing between two foundational principles: cardio and strength. However, over the years, the lines between the two have been blurred. Just because you’re performing a strength movement—even with weight in your hand—doesn’t mean you are working on strength.”

In “Bringing Back Foundation Strength Training: Uncomplicating Your Training for Optimal Results,” Johnson plans to show you how to design strength-based programs that deliver. “We will break down the principles of training with a hands-on approach to learn how to bring strength training back into private and group training,” he explains.

The Time for Wearable Tech Is Now

If you haven’t considered bringing wearable tech into your training services, you should.

That’s the advice of Grace Kerr, MS, sales associate at Myzone® and group exercise instructor. “Wearable tech holds us accountable and improves our adherence to exercise,” she says. “Wearable tech now also has a huge social element to it, which keeps us engaged and connected to other users.”

Kerr adds that wearable tech lets you stay connected with clients outside traditional session time frames, enhancing your value.

“Wearable tech allows trainers to train their clients from anywhere, holding them accountable, as well as building the trainer-to-client relationship. Clients achieve their goals, and trainers receive more client referrals.”

Kerr will share more on this topic in the session “Advance Your Business With Wearable Tech.”

Conference Highlights

Pete Holman Personal Trainer Institute 2019

Pete Holman, MSPT, teaching an attendee at the 2019 Personal Trainer Institute.

Education is the cornerstone of IDEA Personal Trainer Institute. However, there’s plenty more to benefit from at this exclusive event.

Here are some of the many reasons to attend:

  • Earn up to 20 CECs (plus up to 8 additional CECs with preconference sessions).
  • Connect with fellow attendees, presenters and sponsors at special networking events.
  • Learn about, test and get deep discounts on the latest and greatest in tools, equipment, tech and more from leading industry brands in the Sponsor Marketplace.
  • Get inspired by business and branding mastermind Mark Fisher, owner of Mark Fisher Fitness in New York. During his Thursday night keynote, “The Cave You Fear to Enter: Grow Your Personal Training Business by Being Unapologetically You,” Fisher will show you how to leverage your unique personality to get more attention and build a stronger business. He says, “If you’re looking to succeed in the fitness industry, you have to stand out in some way. If you’re clear on who you are and what matters to you, you’ll raise a flag for those who believe what you believe to find you. Not only does it help you grow your business, but it helps you increase your impact by finding those who are the right fit for what you do.”

For more information, see ideafit.com/ptrainer.

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor, and IDEA's director of event programming.

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