Becoming an “It Factor” Instructor or Trainer
You have the nuts and bolts to your new career, now it’s just a matter of refining the intangible traits that make you special. We’ve discussed the characteristics of likable and popular personal trainers and exercise instructors, and you know the components of a solid class. Marrying the two is where the “It Factor” resides.
Clients are Attracted to Gratitude
Members are attracted to people who make them feel good; they’ll remember the feeling they got in your class over any one specific move. Be aware that the people who come to your class make great efforts to be there. They juggle schedules, call babysitters, rush from work, eat dinner late…so keep a sense of gratitude for every person in the room, whether it’s 6 or 60. Gratitude can be felt, so practice it daily.
Innovation Leads to Inspiration
“It Factor” personal trainers and exercise instructors are constantly innovating. We’ve never lived in a more exciting time than now to get specific information within seconds. Subbing a core class for the first time tomorrow? Hashtag “#core” into Instagram and you’ll instantly have dozens of ideas for your class.
If you’re a visual learner, YouTube has more inspiration than you can use in your lifetime. Just type the topic into the search box, and watch world-class presenters (and even newbies) sharing moves you can use. Practice them all and make sure they’re safe; just because something is posted online doesn’t mean it’s safe.
We all need a little inspiration, and when you’re teaching, it often means less taking of classes, so online is the perfect place to become inspired. Create your own library by saving videos and links, or by typing them out in categories onto your desktop. You’ll have your own “class builder” in no time!
What to Avoid
There are a few things you never want to do as a personal trainer or exercise instructor, so let’s discuss those so that you can focus on all the wonderful things you should do.
- Air your dirty laundry or come in with a frazzled attitude. If you got a flat tire, parking ticket and your dog ran away, guess what? Your class should never know about it. The worst thing you can do is unload on them about your awful day. There are certainly opportunities to talk about overcoming adversity or even mentioning a bad day that you survived thanks to your class, but bad attitudes are left at the doors.
- Speak out on social media about class members, your club or bosses. Even if you’re not friends with the specific people about whom you’re talking, it’s best to maintain the same professionalism on social media as you do in person at the gym.
- Badmouth other classes, or personal trainers or exercise instructors. There’s always a constructive way to discuss the people in your gym without gossiping or throwing colleagues under the bus.
- Test risky or brand new exercises/choreography in
a class you’re being paid to teach. Be prepared and have your routines flushed out before trying them on members. If you decided to teach a test class, ask for volunteers for choreography run-throughs, or ask for feedback, that’s one thing, but part of your job as a personal trainer or exercise instructor is to practice at home and be fully prepared when teaching.
Basic Teaching and Instructional Techniques
- Always be professional.
- Learn your students’ names.
- Smile and smile some more.
- Make eye contact with each student.
- Always be available to answer questions.
- Compliment your students.
- Be enthusiastic, happy and show you love to teach.
- Work to being an expert in your field.
- Never stop learning.
- Dress appropriately.
- Talk about breathing.
- Explain body alignment and execution of exercises.
- Tell your class which muscle they are working.
- Use imagery.
- Give constructive and positive pointers.
- Stay away from “don’t do this.”
- Cue effectively by warning ahead of time and being specific.
- When you face your class, give the mirror image or opposite foot of your own.
- Address common mistakes and give specific corrections.
- Have fun and enjoy yourself. They will follow.
- Listen to your body. If you’re injured or feeling ill, sub out your class and give fair warning.
- Post about your classes on social media if your club allows it.
- Have your music match the vibe of the class.
Learn how to teach an effective warm-up, cardiorespiratory segment (low-high), sculpting, bodyweight exercises, dynamic flexibility, metabolic HIIT bursts, cool-down and stretch with our Group Exercise Instructor.
Check out what it takes to start a career in personal fitness training. This is your most affordable and fastest way to become a highly qualified personal trainer.
Is your recertification coming up? Learn more about earning your CEU credits. You can find the full list of CEU courses here.
If you are ready to start your online personal training or coaching business, don’t forget to learn more about our online coaching course. You will also really enjoy this very comprehensive training course called Online Expert Empire.
There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.
NESTA and Spencer Institute coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.