Posted on

10 Tips for Setting Weight Loss Goals that Really Work

Despite the push for body positivity to combat body shaming, men and women of every age and persuasion are still in quest of the Holy Grail for weight loss and a lean physique, and weight loss continues to be a prime driver for personal training. But as we all know, helping our clients lose weight is one of the biggest challenges we face as fitness professionals. 

Some of our clients’ greatest obstacles to losing weight include:

  • Non-compliance
  • Lack of sustainable motivation
  • Chronic stress
  • Lack of a support system
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Misconceptions about food

Setting realistic goals is key to achieving weight loss success, but obtainable goals are more than just a random number on the scale. Follow these tips to help your clients succeed, and watch your business soar!

  • Keep it real: If your client’s goal is to revisit their high school weight, they are already setting themselves up for failure. Mature adult bodies have higher bone density and more lean mass, which adds extra pounds. Add 20 percent to your client’s best adult weight to set a realistic initial goal. You can always up the ante later on.
  1. Do the math: There are scores of reputable resources that support 0.5 to 1 kg per week as a realistic weight loss goal — thats about 1 to 2 pounds. Sit down with your client and your calendar and count out the weeks to set a realistic goal date.
  1. Get to the bottom of things: In most cases the goal is not really a number — the number represents how the client imagines they will look and feel at a certain weight. Ask open-ended questions to find out what they really want. A slammin’ beach bod, skinny jeans with no muffin tops, arms that don’t jiggle, or a butt you can bounce a coin off are all attainable goals that have no number.
  1. Zero in on lifestyle: Chronic stress and poor sleep hygiene are two common obstacles to weight loss, and they go hand in hand. Help your client find stress management tools like meditation or yoga, and discourage bad habits like watching TV or scanning social media into the wee hours.
  1. Prepare for fluctuations and setbacks: Weight loss is a bumpy road, and setbacks can be expected. Your female clients will have hormone-driven fluctuations over which they have no control, and life is full of events that disrupt our best-laid plans. Reassure your client that setbacks are temporary, and persistence wins in the end.
  1. Review goals weekly: Starting off each week with an informal goals review will help your client stay on track throughout the week ahead. Paint a positive picture, and let them know you are there to support them..
  1. Use other markers for success: Body weight is just one way to mark your client’s progress toward the body of their dreams. Reassess body fat and take measurements at the beginning of each month to frame your client’s journey in a positive light.
  1. Hold your client’s feet to the fire: At the end of the day, if you have done your job as a trainer, the client’s success rests on their own shoulders. Insist on daily food and activity logs, frequently review your behavior contract, and remind your client that success depends on consistency and compliance on their part.
  1. Don’t be crazy: Insanity is defined as repeatedly doing the same things and expecting different results. If your strategy is not working after a few weeks, use the FITT principle and other tools to change your approach. 
  1. Reward progress: Every pound lost deserves a celebration. Make a big deal of your client’s progress with a balloon, a card or simply an enthusiastic pat on the back. 

Resources

Keeping your clients on track can be a challenge, but the more you know, the more tools you have at your disposal. Dig into the psychology of weight loss with a Lifestyle Coaching Certification, or enhance your knowledge with continuing education courses such as Nutritional Concepts or Sports and Exercise Nutrition from our Health and Fitness series. Remember, a successful client is the best advertising for your business, and the best way to help them succeed is through W.I.T.S. education.

Posted on

Sales would be the easiest job in the world, if everyone said “yes”

But they don’t say yes. They say no, not today, nah and then no again. They will typically say no up to 3-4 times before finally saying yes. It is your job as a Personal Trainer to get them to that yes and earn yourself a new client. They are even 50 pounds overweight with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and are pre-diabetic but yet they still continue to not hire your services as a personal trainer. Why you ask? (more…)

Posted on

Special Populations: What they are and why you need them

Most personal trainers enter the fitness industry to build a career they love, and to help others realize their potential to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. Yet many get stuck in the mire of low-paying gym or studio jobs that just don’t cut it in terms of financial rewards and sustainable growth. Oftentimes, the pool of available clients is split among multiple trainers, and new clients are assigned on an “ups” system so that everyone gets a fair shot.

(more…)

Posted on

Top 5 Myths — and Facts — About Fitness Training for Older Adults

The over-50 age group is the largest growing demographic in the fitness market, and the demand for personal training among older adults is high. Most older adults have the time and money to hire a trainer, and want the reassurance of safe and effective exercise to achieve and maintain optimal health. Yet many personal  trainers are reluctant to take on older clients, especially those in their 70s and beyond.

Following are five common myths about training older adults, and the surprising truth about the advantages of working with this very special population:

Myth 1: Older people are boring, and we won’t have anything in common.

Fact: Older adults who engage in fitness activities are anything but boring. Most are highly accomplished, with stellar careers and colorful life experiences that go back decades. Training older adults gives you a rich cultural experience that you will not experience with younger clients.

Myth 2: Older adults are fragile and pose a high liability risk for injury.

Fact: When working with a trainer, older adults pose no greater risk for injury than the general population. The same principles and guidelines that govern all adults also apply to older adults. Progressive overload, specificity, the FITT principle and consistency are all principles that apply to older adults. The ACSM exercise guidelines are nearly identical for adults of all ages.

Myth 3: Older adults have medical conditions and take drugs that make it difficult to train them.

Fact: Medical conditions and medications may impose certain challenges, but they can be overcome. The key is to know the client’s health history and physical limitations, and to educate yourself about how to work with those limitations and get results. Working with older adults is a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and expertise. Becoming certified as an Older Adult Fitness Specialist will give you additional tools and specific knowledge for training older adult clients with health issues.

Myth 4: Older adults cannot expect to get stronger or healthier through fitness.

Fact: Given the appropriate levels of overload, older adults can build bone and muscle, increase cardiovascular health, improve flexibility and generally improve overall health. Moreover, older adults benefit from the psycho-social aspects of fitness training, with reduced levels of depression and anxiety, and improved mood.

Myth 5: Older adults are frugal and won’t want to pay for personal training.

Fact: Older adults have a high appreciation for health and are willing to pay for training that enhances their overall quality of life. Most know that medical interventions are expensive and often ineffective. Older adults often have a surplus of discretionary income that they are willing to spend on their overall health and wellness. Family members are often supportive of their loved one who wants to improve their health through fitness, and appreciate the added safety provided by a certified trainer. Moreover, an older adult is more likely to become a long-term client, giving you greater financial stability in the long run.

W.I.T.S. Older Adult Fitness Certification

The older adult population has certain unique needs that do not appear in the general population, and there is growing demand for fitness professionals who understand those needs. Trainers are in high demand for in-home training, retirement communities, and gyms and studios. Enhance your credentials, increase your expertise and grow your career with the W.I.T.S. Older Adult Fitness Specialist certification, available live and online.

Posted on

5 Key Steps to Launching Your Personal Training Career

If you love to work out and admit to being a bit of a gym rat, you may have considered pursuing a career as a personal trainer. The idea of wearing comfy clothes to work, hanging out in the gym and talking to people all day while listening to upbeat music has enormous appeal. Not to mention the gratification of helping people improve their quality of life on a personal level.

Become a Personal Trainer

Every year, thousands of aspiring trainers become certified, with intentions of switching from a boring desk job or soul crushing sales position to the high energy world of fitness. Yet for many, launching a fitness career can be a daunting task. Where to begin? How to find clients? Will I be able to pay my bills?

Getting Off to a Successful Start

It goes without saying that completing your Personal Trainer Certification is an important first step to building you career and establishing yourself as a fitness professional. But once the ink dries on your certificate and it is framed and hanging on your ego wall, it will take a lot more effort on your part to get your business up and running.

Here are five important steps you should take to get your career as a personal trainer off to a successful start: 

  1. Define your goals: Certified personal trainers can be found in a broad range of venues, including fitness clubs, physical therapy clinics, schools, retirement communities, small studios, and as independent contractors working from home. Do you want the security of working for someone else in a gym or studio, or do you plan to start your own business? Will personal training be your full-time career, or just a side gig? Will you open your own studio, or take it on the road with in-home personal training? Clearly defined short-term and long-term goals are key to laying a successful foundation for your fitness career.
  1. Create a budget: Starting a new business or career can have short-term financial consequences. If you are accustomed to the steady paycheck provided by your 9-to-5 along with other perks like health care and a retirement account, launching a business or working for a company with fewer benefits is a tough decision. Begin with the minimum monthly income you need to make ends meet and work backward. How much will you need to charge per session, and how many sessions per week will you need to stay afloat? Be realistic, and don’t forget to deduct expenses.
  1. Identify your niche: Personal training clients are as diverse as the population at large, and some are easier to train than others. Defining your niche and becoming an expert in serving that population will help you market yourself and build a solid reputation. Your niche may be as general as women, men, or teens, or as narrow as older adults, bodybuilders or people with disabilities. You may choose to work with bariatric patients, or pregnant and postpartum moms. Specializing makes you special, and it is a great way to build your client base.
  1. Start strong: You chose a fitness career for a reason, and even if you have never trained a client before, your W.I.T.S. Personal Trainer Certification has equipped you with all the knowledge you need to help your first client reach their goals. One of the best ways to get the word out about your business and build your client base is to transform someone’s life through fitness and lifestyle changes. Word of mouth from a satisfied client is a powerful form of marketing and advertising that money cannot buy.
  1. Learn, learn, learn! Fitness is a rapidly evolving field, with volumes of new research emerging daily. Keep on top of the latest trends, stay informed about new studies and most of all, pursue continuing education on a consistent basis. Consider boosting your credentials with a second certification in your niche, like older adult or youth fitness. Learn to market yourself on social media, and add to your business toolbox with courses geared specifically to the fitness industry, like those offered through the W.I.T.S. Online Business Management Success Series.

Let W.I.T.S. Help Launch Your Fitness Career

If you are switching from another career field, W.I.T.S. gives you a leg up with our unique internship program. Work with real clients, make valuable industry connections, and gain important credentials and experience to flesh out your fitness resume. Many of our interns even get hired by the hosting internship site, making an easy transition from student to Certified Personal Trainer.

Posted on

Fitness Professional’s Toolbox: Intermittent Exercise by Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

When it comes to the design, prescription, and delivery of a comprehensive fitness program, the overarching edicts of safety, efficiency, and effectiveness should always be upheld. However, when life happens and clients’ discretionary spending capacity and available time both dry up, novice personal trainers are apt to throw in the towel.

By far and large, working professionals are not professional athletes and therefore should not be held to the same standards. Working professionals log 40 hours or more per week in their respective industries, whereas professional athletes have a plethora of resources at their disposal, which include state of the art facilities that are staffed by teams of sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and nutrition professionals. These gifted individuals have all they need to exercise and ascribe to a healthy diet, since their priority is achieving and maintaining a body that is healthy and capable of high performance.

 

Working professionals often have a family to support and an assortment of bills to juggle impacting their ability to meet with you regularly and frequently.

 

As such, they may not be able to adhere to a textbook exercise program — which is ironic, since no textbooks prepare you to support your clients when life interferes with exercise programming.

 

Say your client needs to pare down their sessions from three times per week to once per week.

 

Do you write them off? Do you chalk it up to laziness? Do you attribute it to a lack of dedication?

 

If you answered “yes” to any of those, you may want to re-evaluate your career choice.

 

Instead, take a deeper dive into their everyday life. If things are growing hectic on the work- or home- fronts, or if their wallet is getting thinner, consider hybridizing their program.

 

If they can only meet with you once per week, cover the basics in each session: introduce, coach, and perfect fundamental movement patterns. If time and their current level of fitness permit, push them through anaerobic capacity work in the form of traditional strength training, metabolic conditioning, or functional training with a 1:1 work to rest ratio.

 

If they are only meeting with you once per week and have weight loss or general health goals and are unable to dedicate hours in the gym each week, consider complimenting their session(s) or gym visits with intermittent exercise.

 

Research has shown that the inclusion of three short bouts of 10 minutes of physical activity via walking was capable of improving cardiorespiratory fitness over two and six week spans (1).

 

Encourage your client to park to engage in active commuting. Active commuting involves augmenting or completing typically achieved with traditional forms of transportation, such as motor vehicles and trains, with walking or bicycling. And an added bonus is that it’s eco-friendly!

 

Also, you can encourage your client to take “movement breaks” when allotted a 15 minute break at their workplace as mandated by labor regulations. These movement breaks can consist of walking around the workplace, climbing stairwells, or taking a stroll outside while others mull over unhealthy options at the breakroom vending machine or commiserate with others over tobacco coffin nails.

 

Additionally, for clients dealing with musculoskeletal pain and begetting muscular imbalances, the workstation can serve as the new “workplace gym”.

 

In 2016, a Midwestern corporation did just that. Pursuant to having numerous health insurance claims for work-related musculoskeletal disorders, the corporation devised, developed, availed, and promoted an 8-minute stretching program that was based off of the Mayo Clinic’s office stretching program. Over a 60-day period, significant reductions in injuries and missed days of work were noted as was a cost savings in aggregate healthcare spend (2). And though no flexibility measurements were recorded, based off the data, one can easily infer that study participants felt better and likely began moving better during and following their workday.

 

A sample desk-based program can be found below:

 

Lengthen and Strengthen

 

Phase One: Lengthen

 

Seated Upper Trapezius / Neck Extensor Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths each side)

 

– With open palm, gently grasp crown of head and draw elbow downward

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths and alternate sides

 

Interlocking Hands Pectoralis Minor Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– Place hands behind head and interlace fingers

– Gently cup crown of head with interlocked hands

– Gingerly tilt head back and drive elbows back

– Think external cue of “getting big chest and driving breastbone (sternum) away from chest”

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Reaching Latissimus Dorsi Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– From seated position, lean forward and grasp edge of desk

– “Pull” torso away from desk and try to achieve a “long spine” (or flat back)

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Cross Body Shoulder Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– Clench one arm within another and draw it across your body

– Maintain erect torso and “big chest”

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Torso Supported Calf Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– Stand up and lean forward onto desk, wall, or other stationary object

– Place one foot near the object and other foot behind you, maintaining flat feet

– Keep a “long spine” and extended hips

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– Assume half kneeling position, keep shin of front leg and thigh of back leg upright

– Achieve a long spine by keeping core tight and shoulders open and loose

– “Dig” toes of foot of back leg into floor

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Deep Squat with Belly Breathing (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

Grasp desk, door frame, cubicle divider or other stationary object

– Descend into deep squat position, with feet at shoulder to hip width and fully on floor

– Drive knees outwardly and keep spine long via tight and activated core

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Phase Two: Strengthen:

 

Chin Tuck with Deep Cervical Flexor Activation (1 set x 10 repetitions)

 

– Position crown of head against wall

– Keep neck straight and neutral

– Drive chin rearward into throat and try to make a “double chin”

– Hold briefly and return to starting position

– Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

 

Bent Prone Trap Raise (1 set x 10 repetitions)

 

– Assume prone position with bodyweight supported via one arm on desk or another stationary object

– Dangle other arm down to the floor

– Pull shoulder blade of free arm back and down, and raise arm with thumb side up

– Raises with left hand will be performed with arm at “10 o’clock” angle and right hand will be performed with arm at “2 o’clock” angle a

– Please do not “shrug” shoulders when performing exercise

– Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

 

Desktop Sliding Shoulder Retraction (1 set x 10 repetitions)

 

– Sitting upright in desk chair, place hands and forearms at shoulder width atop surface of desk

– Keep thumb side up

– Initiate movement by drawing shoulder blades back and down and slide forearms back to torso to complete movement

– Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

 

Sit to Stand with Overhead Reach (1 set x 10 repetitions)

 

– Secure an immovable chair or object that is roughly knee to mid-thigh height and is capable of supporting entire body weight

– Descend into seated position

– Place your hands across your chest

– Rise from seated position, by driving off your heels, extending your hips and rocking onto forefoot (front of foot)

– Raise your arms with your hands overhead and reach for the ceiling

– Put your arms down and slowly descend into seated position

– Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

 

References

 

  1. Murphy, M., Nevill, A., Neville, C., Biddle, S. & Hardman, A. (2002). Accumulating brisk walking

for fitness, cardiovascular, and psychological health. Medicine and Science in Sports and

Exercise, 34, 1468-1474.

 

  1. Aje, O.O., Smith-Campbell, B., & Bett, C. (2018). Preventing musculoskeletal disorders in factory workers: evaluating a new eight minute stretching program. Workplace Health & Safety, 66, 343-347.
Posted on

7 Savvy Strategies for Building Your Client Base

Working as a fitness professional is a fun and rewarding career, and most of us love what we do. But whether you work in a gym or studio, or you have ventured out on your own, making fitness really pay can be a challenge. Considering the poor health of most Americans, there is a limitless pool of potential clients. But how do you attract them to your doorstep? (more…)

Posted on

Marketing Your Personal Service Business: 4 Strategies for Success

Whether you are a personal trainer, massage therapist, Pilates coach or other personal service provider, there is no denying that you provide valuable services that benefit your clients’ health. The nature of your business is unique in that the products you sell fall under the umbrella of “intangibles.” In other words, you do not sell items that your clients can hold in their hands, display on a shelf or consume. Because intangibles are unique from other products, they require a unique approach to marketing.

1. Define Your Products


Before you attempt to build your client base, you should have a clear definition of what you offer. Create a menu of services that defines their benefits, cost and duration. Keep it simple, and limit your menu to a handful of offerings so your potential client is not overwhelmed by too many options.

2. Identify Your Market

You could advertise your services to the public at large in hopes of grabbing someone’s interest, However, you will have more success if you identify a niche market and gear your advertising specifically to them. Older adults, working women, stay-at-home moms, and fitness competitors are all niche markets that frequently purchase personal service packages.

3. Reach Out in Person


Because your services are personal in nature, you will have greater success in attracting new clients if you market yourself in person. Identify large companies in your community and offer to set up a booth at their corporate health fair, or ask to set up a table in their cafeteria during lunchtime. Offer free consultations or simple fitness assessments to attract people to your table. Arrange to speak to local retirement communities about the benefits of your services for older adults. Reach out to moms at ballet, gymnastics, martial arts or other sports activities. You may be able to offer group training or fitness classes while they wait for their kids.

4. Create a Referral System

Personal service businesses often grow by referral. When you have happy, satisfied clients, they will sing your praises to their friends, family members and co-workers. You can leverage your clients’ good will by offering referral incentives, such as free sessions, tangible products, restaurant gift certificates or event tickets. Because of the small and intimate nature of your business, you can personalize referral incentives for individual clients.

Resources

Successful marketing builds successful businesses. The W.I.T.S. Business Management Success Series offers continuing education courses geared specifically to personal service businesses, to help you market your services and grow your client base. Some of our standout courses include: Insider Secrets of Advertising and Marketing; Attracting Club Members; Developing Relationships; Developing Your Marketing and Promotion Strategy; Establishing Your Brand and Image; Creating Relationships on Social Media; Social Media Strategies for Attracting Clients; Finding Your Customers on Social Media, and many more!

Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: stock images; exedos; Stuart Miles.

Posted on

For Big Results, Think Small! 5 Tips for Marketing Your Small Service Business

Small businesses that market personal services have a huge advantage over large chains whose service tends to be generic, and whose employees tend to be over-managed and underpaid. As a fitness practitioner or other small personal service provider, you have the autonomy to add personal touches and creative elements that make your clients feel special and keep them coming back for more. As your own boss, you get to call the shots, and reap all the profits!

1. Keep It Local

There is no point in investing time, money and energy in advertising and marketing to the world at large. If you are a personal service provider, you are most likely to find clients within a small radius in your own community. Get your name out there by networking with local schools, churches, community centers, neighborhood associations, realtors and civic leagues. Get to know the “regulars” and staff at your local coffee shop. Advertise on community websites like Nextdoor.com.

2. Stay in Your Lane


Trying to be all things to all people can be exhausting, and when you spread yourself too thin, you run the risk of not pleasing anyone. Focus on the things you are good at and knowledgeable about. For example, if you don’t know the first thing about mixed martial arts, you are probably not qualified to help someone train for a match. Be forthcoming about your strengths, and honest about your limitations.

3. Go the Extra Mile


Take customer service to the next level by acknowledging how much you value your clients. Keep a calendar of special occasions for each client and send a card for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other meaningful events. Bring them coffee and a muffin from time to time. Going out of your way to make sure your clients are satisfied will build your word-of-mouth reputation and bring in new clients by the droves.

4. Customize

When you work for yourself, you have the autonomy to provide extra services, juggle your schedule and negotiate pricing to meet the needs of your clients. Offering customized services gives potential clients a say in what they want and how they want it. For example, they may want shorter, more frequent sessions, a flex schedule, or a specific mode of service. Clients are often willing to pay a little extra to get what they want, so be sure to customize your prices as well!

5. Spread the Love


Perhaps the greatest appeal for clients of small service providers is the personal bond and relationship they build with you. You become an important person in their lives who helps to keep them healthy, grounded and looking fabulous. Open up and let the love shine into your personal service sessions. In exchange, your clients will sing your praises and reciprocate with gifts, tips, and referrals.

Resources

Successful marketing builds successful businesses. The W.I.T.S. Business Management Success Series offers continuing education courses geared specifically to personal service businesses, to help you market your services and grow your client base. Some of our standout courses include: Insider Secrets of Advertising and Marketing; Attracting Club Members; Developing Relationships; Developing Your Marketing and Promotion Strategy; Establishing Your Brand and Image; Being REAL and Creating Relationships on Social Media; Social Media Strategies for Attracting Clients; Finding Your Customers on Social Media, and many more!

*Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: graphics mouse; ntwowe; stockimages;

Posted on

Niche Marketing: Make More Money and Beat the Competition!

Business is Booming

The demand for fitness services has been growing steadily since the 1950s, and it is now a multi-billion dollar industry, with a projected jobs growth of eight percent by the year 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this is a good time to work in the fitness industry, the competition is becoming fierce, and setting yourself apart as a fitness practitioner is a challenge. If you want to be recognized as a top notch trainer or instructor, the key is to set yourself apart as an expert in a specific niche.

Finding Your Niche


In today’s market, consumers of fitness services are looking for specialists who understand their needs and have a track record of getting results.There are dozens of niche markets to zero in on: Athletes, youth, older adults, pregnant or postpartum moms, weight loss, body builders and figure competitors, runners, triathletes…the list goes on! Find your niche based on what types of people you like to work with, and on your level of expertise. Remember that your knowledge will grow along with your client base, so don’t be afraid to take on new challenges.

Smoke the Competition

Many trainers mistakenly think that by marketing to any and all potential clients, they will make more money and build a professional reputation. By targeting a niche population, you will not only establish yourself as an expert in that area, but you will reduce the pool of competitors vying for a limited number of clients. As your reputation grows, you will receive more referrals from others who know you as an expert in your niche.

Get the Word Out

Once you define your niche, you can narrow the focus of your marketing to likely clients. For example, if your niche is older adults, you can advertise to retirement communities and other venues that cater to that population. If you want to work with runners, you can advertise at local races, or offer your services to members of running clubs. City intramural programs and local schools are good places to market to youth. Make yourself visible by volunteering and getting involved with your niche population.

Resources

Successful marketing builds successful businesses. The W.I.T.S. Business Management Success Series offers continuing education courses geared specifically to personal service businesses, to help you market your services and grow your client base. Some of our standout courses include: Insider Secrets of Advertising and Marketing; Attracting Club Members; Developing Relationships; Developing Your Marketing and Promotion Strategy; Establishing Your Brand and Image; Being REAL and Creating Relationships on Social Media; Social Media Strategies for Attracting Clients; Finding Your Customers on Social Media, and many more!
References
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Fitness Trainers and Instructors
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm

*Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: