Fitness, Health, and Business Blog

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When You’re Selling: You’re Educating!

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="625"]From start to finish-- personal trainers are EDUCATING their clients From start to finish– personal trainers are EDUCATING their clients[/caption]

This month we’ve been focusing on different ways to improve our selling skills. We may be the best personal trainer in our club or community; we may know every muscle in the human body and how to strengthen those muscles; but if we don’t know how to sell and get clients to use our services—all of our knowledge will go to waste.

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When You’re Selling—You’re HELPING!

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Keeping in mind your goal in gaining customers is to help them reach their goals can make it easy to push yourself toward being a better salesperson. Keeping in mind your goal in gaining customers is to help them reach their goals can make it easy to push yourself toward being a better salesperson.[/caption]

In our last blog we discussed overcoming our phobia of sales and recognizing that sales is actually about helping and educating. As fitness professionals, many of us followed this career path because we want to HELP others. So, by realizing that we are not “selling” in the traditional sense of the word, but HELPING, we can become more comfortable with this essential part of our job.

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So You Think You Want to be an Entrepreneur?

Think about when you decided to become a Personal Trainer or a Group Exercise Instructor?
What did you do?

My guess is that first you did some research to find out what was required.
You then found out that you had to become certified. So you then researched the different certifications available.
After comparing and contrasting, asking around, finding the best ones for you, you signed up!
You then took a class, studied, practiced, and then took an exam!

So, now that you are certified, you begin your amazing career. You either work at a club, or another type of facility—or maybe you decide to start your own business. If you’re like most, you then realize that there was nothing in your fitness training certification that prepared you to be a successful business person. You struggle, you feel discouraged, you wonder if this was the right career path for you.

Please don’t get discouraged! You are not alone. So many of us struggle with trying to figure out how to make money doing what we love!

My suggestion: Take the same approach as you took when you wanted to become a fitness professional.

1. Research: Talk to successful entrepreneurs. See what has made them successful. Learn from them. Ask them to become your mentor.
2. Educate: Educate yourself on what it means to be an entrepreneur. Take a class on business management, finance, sales, and marketing.
3. Research some more! Once you have some guidance and education, research the business opportunities, define your business goals, and develop a strategic plan.
4. Commit: Commit, commit, commit! Your time, your energy, your resources! It takes blood, sweat, and tears!

You have what it takes! You have the passion!

If you are already a success business person and entrepreneur, please share your ideas and tips with us! We’d love to hear from you!

To find out about the W.I.T.S. Fitness Business Institute (FBI) and online courses in sales, marketing, business, and management, visit http://www.witseducation.com/business-institute/

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Safe Today Healthy Tomorrow!

May is Older American’s Month and this year’s theme is “SAFE TODAY HEALTHY TOMORROW!” W.O.W.! What an perfect match for the fitness industry and Personal Trainers, Lifestyle Wellness Coaches, and Group Exercise Instructors who work with older clients! Actually, it has application for those working with clients at any age!! By keeping safe (and preventing illness and injury) we can enjoy a healthy, long, independent life!

In previous blog posts, I shared with you some of the health challenges my mom is facing as she approaches her 70th birthday. It’s clear to see that so many of these problems could have been reduced, delayed, and possibly even prevented—had she lived a “safer” and healthier lifestyle in her younger years.

Her current challenges include:
Severe back pain: Which could have been prevented with exercise, strengthening her core, proper ergonomics, proper shoes.
COPD: Which could have been prevented if she hadn’t been a smoker (she did quit!!) and participated in cardiovascular exercise.
Heart disease: Which could have been prevented/delayed if she had a regular routine of exercise and ate a healthier diet.
Osteoporosis: Which could have been prevented/delayed if she participated in weight bearing exercise.

W.O.W. Had she lived a “safer” life in her younger years, I imagine her quality of life now would be much improved.

What has been your experience with working with older adults? What are some ways you have been able to motivate your older clients to make the necessarily lifestyle changes, live safer, and enjoy greater health and independence?

To learn more about Older Americans Month and tips on how you can help older clients live safer and healthier lives, visit:
http://acl.gov/NewsRoom/Observances/oam/2014/Index.aspx

Also, be sure to check out W.I.T.S. Online classes: Older Adult Fitness Foundations and Exercise Program Design for Special Populations! These classes will help you better understand the physiological and psychological issues that your older clients may be experiencing. Get your CECs at your convenience—from your home or office—-24/7!!!

Visit: http://www.witseducation.com/store/Store.htm#WITS

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“How are you doing?” “I’m SO Stressed” April: National Stress Awareness Month

adultstressstress

 

 

I find that if you ask most people how they are doing, the common response is “I’m so busy” or “I’m so stressed.”  It’s so common, in fact, that we can often become desensitized to how dangerous chronic stress can be to our physical and emotional health, our relationships, and our careers.

We all know some of the physiological signs and consequences of stress:  Chronic headaches,  Neck and back pains, Muscle tension, High blood pressure,  Elevated heart rate, Sleep deprivation, Fatigue, Can’t get pregnant,  Losing or gaining weight, Dizziness and Nausea.  These symptoms and conditions are very real, and over time, can be extremely dangerous.

We are also aware of many of the stressors in our lives:  family, health, finances, jobs, relationships, caregiving, aging, and having too much to do and not enough time to do it!

What is interesting and creates challenges for health and fitness professionals working with “stressed out” clients, is that it isn’t necessarily the “stressor” that creates the “stress” and the physical and emotional symptoms and outcomes—but it’s our PERCEPTION of the stressor that has the greater impact.  You can have two different individuals who are confronted with the same stressors—but their reaction and the impact on their health can be completely different.

By helping clients maintain an active lifestyle and regularly engage in safe, effective exercise–we are directly addressing many of the physiological effects and causes of stress.  Exercise alone can be extremely beneficial in managing stress and minimizing the negative impact stress can have on our health.  But what is less clear and direct is how we can help them change their PERCEPTION of stress and their confidence in their ability to manage stress and be resilient.

Lifestyle and Fitness Coaching is a growing field and many fitness professionals incorporate coaching strategies into their Personal Training sessions.  W.I.T.S. new Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Certification provides Personal Trainers with the tools needed to help clients in adopting healthy behaviors including stress management.

What are your experiences with “stressed out” clients?  Are you noticing an increase or change in the prevalence of stress?  What are some of the tools and strategies you use to help your clients with managing and minimizing stress in their lives?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

 

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Should Personal Trainers Give Diet Advice?

Most clients come to us with the same goal:  To Lose Weight!  In pursuit of that goal, we try to help them make healthy lifestyle choices and make physical activity and exercise a part of their daily lives.  But how can we help them meet their goals without talking about Nutrition?  And how can we talk about diet and nutrition without exceeding our scope of practice?

March is National Nutrition Month so I thought it would be a good time to discuss these controversial issues.

In our Nutritional Concepts, Personal Training Certification, and Lifestyle Fitness Coaching classes, we clearly communicate that prescribing diets for our clients is beyond our scope of practice. Unless a personal trainer is also a Registered Dietician, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist, or hold a valid credential, they should not be prescribing a special diet for a client.  But what about providing advice, guidance, and education?  Would you be neglecting your responsibilities and duties to your client if you didn’t try to steer them in the right direction.

When I look around at the people closest to me, I see one person who makes all of the wrong (unhealthy) food choices; another who has gone strictly vegan (their version of vegan) and admittedly includes no healthy protein choices in their diet;  another who skips meals regularly and ends her day tired and famished.  Others watch and limit sugars only—another only eats “organic” and another had recently decided to eliminate carbs–but ingests high fat meats.

None of this seems healthy to me—  What do you think?

As a personal trainer, what do you believe appropriate for you to address when it comes to your client’s nutritional habits?   Where do you believe the “scope of practice” line should be drawn?

And another question, how good are YOUR eating habits?  Take this quick quiz!

http://www.eatright.org/nnm/games/quiz/index.html

 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

 

 

 

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Preventing Heart Disease and Working with Those at Risk

I wanted to spend some more time this month promoting American Heart Month and focusing on the impact we can make as fitness professionals, in the prevention of heart disease.

In November 2013, the American Heart Association released knew guidelines for the prevention of heart disease, which focuses on many of the conditions that are covered in W.I.T.S. Exercise Program Design for Special Populations.    Specifically, the guidelines address Cholesterol, Lifestyle, Obesity, and Risk Assessment.  It is so clear that we can help reduce the prevalence of heart disease—everything that we do as fitness professionals can make an impact.

I’d encourage everyone to read the complete guidelines at  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Understanding-the-New-Prevention-Guidelines_UCM_458155_Article.jsp  and share this information with your clients—

If we just focus on one factor—lifestyle— the guidelines are  pretty clear and direct:

  • Get 40 minutes of exercise 3 – 4 days a week
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce sodium

Pretty simple stuff!  I think that most people fear that they will have to make HUGE changes and become overwhelmed. I strongly believe that we have a responsibility as fitness professionals to help educate those around us (clients, family, peers, co-workers)  that it’s the little things that they can do to make BIG changes.

How do you work “education” into your training sessions?  Do you use different coaching strategies?  What do you find works best for helping people make positive change in their lives?

 

If you want to learn more about heart disease prevention and the AHA guidelines, visit www.heart.org and consider enrolling in W.I.T.S. Exercise Program Design for Special Populations course.  We are running great 2 for 1 discounts this month on many of our continuing education classes!  Take an online course at a time and place that is convenient for you—receive substantial discounts on approved CEC courses!

AHAguidelines

 

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American Heart Month! Group Exercise—Is It Safe?

February is American Heart Month and it’s almost impossible to think about heart health without thinking about exercise.  No one can question the role of exercise in preventing many heart conditions and improving heart health.  The American Heart Association states that “the simplest, positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking.” While genetics play a role, there are so many factors and conditions that can be controlled.

A recent conversation with a newly retired friend prompted me to think less about the role of exercise in preventing heart disease, but more about the role of exercise in improving health and slowing the progression, once a person has been diagnosed.

After a few health scares, my friend has decided to make some lifestyle choices.  He is obese, sedentary, has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and at high risk for heart attack and stroke.  He has a family history of heart disease and has already been diagnosed with COPD.

He hired a personal trainer at a local club and has begun a routine of resistance training three times a week.  The exercise prescription he shared seemed sound and sensible and based on extensive assessments.  What I was more concerned about was that to incorporate cardiovascular exercise, the trainer recommended my friend take 2 group exercise classes per week.  He didn’t get any guidance as to which classes would be safest and most appropriate, but was told to “find something he enjoyed.”

My friend seemed to select classes that had great instructors who monitored the participants and their intensity.  So far, so good, and he’s having a blast.  I started thinking about how challenging it must be to monitor an entire class, keeping everyone safe, in a group exercise environment.

I’d love to hear from all of you— what are your thoughts about such a “high risk” person attending group exercise classes?   What are some tips and tricks group exercise instructors can do to keep everyone safe—especially in a large class.  I’ve attended classes that I found to be potentially dangerous and needed to monitor my own intensity and modify moves.  But how does a beginning exerciser know how to do this?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

 

And FYI—W.I.T.S. is running a fabulous special this month on our online group exercise continuing education courses.  Call and ask about the February promotions and special discounts!   Great membership discounts as well!  888-330-9487

 

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How To Get Started: Selecting a Personal Trainer

In a recent conversation with my sister, I learned that she was one of the many whose New Year’s Resolution involved losing weight and going to the gym.  To help her keep this resolution, she decided to hire a personal trainer. She made her selection based on two criteria:  1) she saw this person in the gym regularly  and 2) he looked like he was in good shape.

When I asked her about his training and certification, she had no idea.  Her response to me was, “How am I supposed to know?  I assume the gym wouldn’t allow him to train there if he wasn’t qualified!” 

I think my sisters assumptions and response are all too common.  How does the average consumer know what makes a “qualified”, “competent” trainer? Even if they are “certified”, in a self-regulated industry, are all certifications equal?   Is certification enough to distinguish someone as qualified and competent? 

So I sent my sister back to ask her trainer the following questions:

1.  Is he certified?  If so, what did his certification require?  What other education and training does he have?  Is his certification current and what type of continuing education has he taken to maintain his certification?

2.   How long has he been training clients?  (AND CHECK REFERENCES FOR CURRENT AND PREVIOUS CLIENTS)

3.   What is his experience working with clients that may have her specific health conditions (i.e. 49 year old female, high blood pressure and cholesterol, family history of heart disease, relatively sedentary lifestyle.)

4.  What is his training plan and approach for HER?  What are their goals for her progress?  How does he use assessments to track her fitness?

5.  Is he certified in CPR and AED?

So, I’m still waiting for the responses, but now I’m wondering if this is enough information to gather to help her make a decision.

What other criteria should she check to make sure this individual is qualified to provide safe and effective personal training? 

How would you feel if a client or a potential client asked for this information?

If it were your sister, mother, spouse, child— what questions would you ask? 

I really look forward to your input!  If we, as fitness professionals, can’t distinguish a “qualified and competent” personal trainer from the rest, how can we expect consumers to do so?

I look forward to hearing from you!

To learn about W.I.T.S. fitness certifications and special offers for continuing education and our online Fitness Business Institute, please visit http://www.witseducation.com/w8-certifications.html