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How Do Personal Trainers Stay Motivated?

IDEA recently surveyed personal trainers to find out how they stay motivated professionally. Here are two of the answers we received as they appeared in a recent “Tricks of the Trade” column. How would you answer this question? Add your feedback in the comments section below.

About 6 years into my career, I suffered from trainer burnout. I lost all enthusiasm and passion for training, and going to work became a huge chore. Instead of focusing on my clients, I was watching the clock, recycling everyone’s exercise programs and finding every excuse to cancel my clients’ sessions. Crazily enough I still had a great clientele, and I was making good money. The worst part about it was that I was comfortable. It’s a horrible position to be in.

As we become comfortable in our situations, we become less motivated to grow and be challenged. Repetition dominates, and passion dwindles. I had to make a decision, and I decided it was time for a change.

The last thing I wanted to do was switch careers. I had spent so much time, money and education on my career that I couldn’t fathom starting all over again. Instead, I decided to hit the reset button and try to put myself back in the shoes of that eager 23-year-old just entering the industry with a will to change the world. Here’s what I did:

I went back to the books. I attended every seminar, fitness conference and workshop I could find. There is nothing more powerful to get you fired up than putting yourself in a room for a few days with like-minded individuals.

I changed my environment. I was overworking myself with 10-hour days, and I was uninspired with my clientele.

The gym itself was run down and missing a lot of equipment I enjoyed using. I quit and found a new gym where I was inspired by everyone around me. I also fell in love with the gym’s business model.

I found mentors. Surrounding myself with people who are much smarter than I am challenges me to be my best every day. With challenge comes growth and mastery—essential components to keeping my motivation high.

Derrick Price, MS
Personal Trainer, Function First
San Diego

I love to help people! Much like the vast majority of fitness pros, that is my number-one motivator. I realize that training is a give-and-take situation. The more I help others, the more I grow as a trainer and as a person.

For me, the ever-evolving growth in the fitness industry is very motivational. I’ve enjoyed many learning opportunities throughout my career. Opportunities such as industry conventions, mentorships and other educational experiences keep me learning and growing and keep my sessions alive. I also think it’s important to seek mentors. Look for people who will help you excel and challenge your thought processes.

Putting my clients first, getting to know them and using the tools I’ve learned have to be the biggest motivators ever! Seeing a client’s success and knowing that I was a small part of that picture is truly the most blessed feeling. I’ve thought from time to time about quitting, but what would I do? There is nothing more motivating than that special smile from a client.

Wendy Cole
Personal Trainer and CEO, Action
Potential Fitness and Holistic Health
Palm Desert, California

To read more answers from personal trainers, please see “How do you stay motivated as a personal trainer?” in the online IDEA Library or in the April 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

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