Noticed the boom in the personal training industry? James Anderson, our fitness expert, reveals 11 ways to ensure you stand out from the competition.
I started out as a personal trainer over a decade ago, and after taking some time to reflect on the industry, I have realised a couple of things.
There’s been a dramatic rise in personal trainers, personal training studios, big gyms, small gyms, boutique gyms, 24-hour gyms, boot camps and anything in between.
Although this industry has already been gaining more and more momentum, the most dramatic rise in personal trainers was after the global financial crisis. It seemed that those who had lost their jobs, or realised that there were some very serious risks associated with working for someone else started to mine for better opportunities, only to find gold in what could easily be described as Australia’s next booming industry.
And seriously, why wouldn’t you want to become a personal trainer? It’s an amazing job (if you could even call it that), which provides an opportunity to improve the quality of people’s lives on a daily, if not hourly basis.
It’s hard to imagine when you’re first starting out the positive impact that you can have - not only on your client’s lives - but also the flow on effect into their relationships with friends and family. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that there may very well be times in your personal training career in which you – without knowing it at the time – save someone’s life. Seriously.
Now, all awesome benefits aside, I’m sure that you could also be a little bit concerned about the overabundance of fitness trainers. Has the industry has become too saturated and competitive?
Well, I’m not going to lie and say that it’s not true – because it is. The health industry is very competitive and there are a lot of personal trainers.
What you may think is an adverse situation is in actual fact an amazing opportunity to become the cream of the crop in the industry. Because one of the other things I’ve realised is that for all the growth the industry has seen, the quality and consistency of trainers and their education hasn’t seen the same growth.
This is the opportunity – your opportunity.
With that said, let me give you some advice on how to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.
1. Do what you love
Before you even begin you need to first ask yourself two very important questions.
- Do I love health?
- Do I love helping people?
If you answered yes to both, then you’re halfway there already. I’ve seen far too many people get into this industry for the wrong reasons and fail.
2. Be authentic
Personal training is a contact sport, the more people you contact with an authentic nature, the better you’re going to do. People see through the B.S very quickly these days. Which leads me onto…
3. Practice what you preach
Any publicity is good publicity, right? Wrong. Good publicity is good publicity.
So make sure that you don’t preach something unless you do it yourself as it will just come off as inauthentic. Far too many times I’ve seen trainers preach this or that only to get caught out and lose trust and rapport in the process.
4. If you want to be more, do more
I can’t say enough about the importance of continuing your education once you become a personal trainer.
This industry moves incredibly fast and if you’re not at the cutting edge of research and education then you’ll quickly get left behind by those that are. Think of this career as a marathon, not just a sprint.
Want to be the cream-of-the-crop? Explore your new learning and upskilling opportunities in Fitness here.
5. The customer isn’t always right [for you]
I’ve always said that I never wanted to train people - I wanted to train personalities.
Now, this is harder to do when you first start out as you’re building your business. But in the long run you have to ensure that you’re training people that you have a good rapport with and like on a personal level. This will ensure they get the best of you, and that you’re not drained by an “energy vampire”. Which leads me onto…
6. Have values, beliefs and standards
It’s important to have values, beliefs and standards as they set your boundaries for what you’re willing to accept into your world. I suggest asking (and then taking the time to answer) the following questions:
- What do you believe and value in terms of nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices?
- And then conversely, what do you NOT believe or find value in?
Knowing these will make it much easier to…
7. Find your niche
A niche is an area of the market generally specialising in one type of product or service. Now, although there are many niches in personal training, I wholeheartedly suggest that you follow your beliefs and values into an area that resonates with them. It will be (and feel) much more authentic both to you, and your clients.
My suggestion is that you find your niche, then maybe niche a little further, then maybe even a little further. Because although “fat loss” is a niche, it’s also a highly congested one. The more specified and specialised you become, the more you’ll be able to stand out as an expert in that area.
8. Get results
Being nice is great, but it will only get you so far in this industry if you don’t get the results that your clients are paying you for – plain and simple.
Testimonials are a great way to build trust for potential new clients.
9. Under promise, over deliver
I made this mistake early in my career far too many times than I’d like to recall. Over-promising and under-delivering is the fastest way to devalue yourself and your service.
It’s much better to do more for your clients without always telling them – this way they believe it to be a service that’s over and above what was offered, increasing your perceived value.
10. Learn about business
One of the biggest problems facing personal trainers is that many of us love training yet don’t know how to run or manage a successful business. I know how painful this can be after ending up with a huge tax liability because I didn’t have the financial astuteness to manage my finances.
I highly suggest investing in a good accountant as well as developing business skills in marketing, sales, administration, time management…the list goes on. The more you can learn and understand about good business practices, the better your business will do.
11. Social Media
Now, social media is a double-edged sword in that it can powerfully inject your message into the market, leading to significant impact on your target audience.
HOWEVER, it can also powerfully highlight your inauthenticity if your messaging or imagery goes against what you preach. Remember that it’s much better to be seen promoting what you love rather than bashing what you hate.
Some final advice
Now, these are just a few of the things that can help ensure that you stand out in an ocean of personal trainers. This means as a sought-after personal trainer (rather than one who is struggling to keep their head above water).
I strongly urge you to continually think of ways to add as much value to your clients lives as possible. When you do this you’ll be miles ahead of the rest.
Want more brilliant advice from 18 of Australia's top fitness experts? Get the top tips on unlocking your potential here.