Fitness professionals often use success stories and client testimonials to strike an emotional chord with potential clients. Personal trainers who incorporate these elements into their pitches (often via “brag books”) may find them powerful during new-client interviews or business development meetings, according to Derrick Wilburn, MBA, IDEA presenter and director of education for Achieve Fitness USA (Wilburn 2010). But what if potential clients or business partners do their initial research about you over the Web?

Fortunately, each professional profile on IDEA FitnessConnect includes a separate tab called “Success Stories,” which is the digital, Web-based equivalent of the brag book. Fitness professionals can upload clients’ before-and-after photos (with their permission), highlight client testimonials and share their own personal journeys.

To ensure viewers see these testimonials on your profile, double-check your “privacy settings” (in “Quick Links” under your profile photo) to enable this feature for public viewership. The “Success Stories” tab includes all testimonials, with the latest three featured on the left-hand side of your profile page.

Highlight winning tales and manage client testimonials on your profile page in the following three ways:

Feature a Client success Story

Part of your success comes from your clients’ transformations, whether those involve losing weight or crossing half-marathon finish lines. Sharing these stories along with before-and-after photos in your profile can show prospective clients the range of people who train with you and the unique challenges you help them overcome.

IDEA FitnessConnect profiles by personal trainers Lyen Wong in Miami ( and Heath Herrera, MEd, in New Braunfels, Texas (, include a blend of client success stories that range from “losing postbaby weight” to “gaining back the perfect beach body.”

Share Your Own Fitness Journey

Fitness professionals have their own triumphant stories, too! Describing your personal fitness journey can depict a side of you that potential clients may connect with or find insightful. For her success story, personal trainer Donna Wurster recounts her years as an unfit smoker, unable to walk owing to excessive weight and back injury, and how her path back to health led her to specialize in corrective exercise and strength training ( Personal Trainer Colette Crider also shares her transition from client to trainer on her profile (

Include Professional Reviews and Ratings

Sometimes clients or members may simply want to share how much they enjoy your boot camp classes or comment on your performance as a trainer. These kinds of testimonials can be posted in the “Client Reviews/Comments” panel at the bottom of each profile. Past or current clients, fellow colleagues, class participants or health club members can rate or review a fitness professional.

Start by adding comments on your fellow fitness professionals’ profiles. Also, encourage clients or members to add their own ratings and reviews to your professional profile page. Let them know they can sign up for an account on IDEA FitnessConnect as a “Fitness Enthusiast.” (Note: IDEA will not contact or solicit to these individuals.)

“IDEA FitnessConnect makes one’s brag book available in real time, virtually anywhere in the world, and allows others to view it independently of your physical presence,” says Wilburn. “With the IDEA FitnessConnect profile, [fitness professionals] can send online traffic to the brag book before, during or after an actual face-to-face meeting.”