Local Business Marketing Guide For Personal Trainers

Maybe you’re looking to become a personal trainer or are an established fitness industry professional. Either way, in a world where everyone in the health and fitness industry is trying to plug their s**t on social media and the internet, in my opinion the power of other local businesses as a marketing tool is being neglected.

The way a local community used to work was your reputation was established and maintained through word of mouth, consistent integrity, and a close knit network of other businesses which had your back. With the advent of social media, a lot of that traditional thinking seems to have gone out the window!

Some of this is a bit old school but I always look to do what my competitors are NOT doing to get the edge on them, and so far these methods have never failed me.

If you’re a new personal trainer or an established fitness business that’s struggling to get new clients through the door then you may find these hacks useful.

The best thing is: most of these ideas cost nothing or very little, unlike Facebook and other ads which can slowly drain your cash.

All of the principles in this post were inspired by my new book, The Trusted Trainer which helps those looking to become a personal trainer and established fitness professionals alike.

Hack 1: ‘The Big Reveal’

When I was starting out, trying to become a personal trainer and make a big impression and generate a lot of publicity in my local community, I didn’t have much money.

With the help of other small local businesses, I designed a big publicity stunt that was featured in the local paper (yes people do still read them) and was all over social media giving my business great free marketing and a good handful (4-5) new fee-paying clients.

Organising a before and after publicity stunt gives your PT business great free marketing.

Here is what I did:

  • I contacted a small local hairdresser, beautician, dentist to offer teeth whitening and female fashion brand and asked whether they would be interested in partnering up and offering a small amount of their time for free;
  • I targeted small businesses (not big companies) as they would be more likely to be seeking additional publicity and invest their time;
  • I used Upwork to have someone create me a cheap logo for the event, we called it ‘Highgate’s Finest’;
  • The scheme was: offer a complete female makeover and transformation to the winner of a raffle prize – my part of the deal was to write the training programme and to spend a few hours each week with the winner – it didn’t take much of my time at all;
  • The ‘makeover’ process lasted six weeks and involved a minimal time commitment on my part;
  • We contacted the local paper who did a piece on this process and included before and after pictures (the actual pictures turned out really well); and
  • The great thing about this is that people love before and after transformations – you only have to look at the popularity of before and after instagram posts or programmes on TV to prove that – so it’s always going to drum up publicity in a local paper or magazine/newsletter.

This produced many new enquiries and eight new solid clients for my business.

A feature in the local paper generates great business, especially in the early days when you are trying to become a personal trainer

Hack 2: Get a small local coffee shop on-side

There is a little boutique coffee shop located next door to my gym. It was really important to my business early on to get them on my side when i was trying to become a personal trainer:

Why?

  • They roll out the red carpet for me and my guest (be it a potential business partner or an important client) which creates a fantastic impressioA local coffee shop can double up as your corporate hospitality area in the early days – get the owner onside quickly!
  • n on my guest – it’s like having my own mini corporate hospitality area;
  • I know and control the environment (I feel like it’s ‘my home ground’ which immediately gives me a psychological boost);
  • If I’m negotiating or agreeing the terms of a business deal or trying to win over an important personal training client, it’s one less thing to worry about – I don’t want to be worrying about whether I can get a table or whether the service will be poor (this was a great help when I was trying to become a personal trainer).
  • I always get the best available table and amazing service from the  because I take time out in my personal life to make the restaurant and the owner feel supremely valued – I get the same in return. I’m not talking Starbucks or Costa here, focus on small local coffee shops with character and individuality.

“If you’re always getting bad service, you’re probably a bad customer” – a philosophy I like to live by!

How did I do this?

  • I took time to get to know the manager and their family and we have open conversations about stuff going on in the local area throughout the year.
  • I always tip very generously (usually around the 25% mark, which is a lot in the UK!) – a cup of coffee costs me 50 pence extra every time but it creates additional goodwill which is key;
  • I pay extra attention to the staff and am never rude. I’ve found through experience that in any organisation, *everything* (good and bad) gets back to the important decision makers, so always be cheerful and interested in what other staff have to say no matter how far they are down the corporate hierarchy, don’t neglect them (especially if you are trying to become a personal trainer).

 

Hack 3: The Menu Makeover

Similar but different to Hack 1 above, it helps to have built up a solid relationship with a local restaurant for a few reasons.

Again, you should take time to build up a good relationship with the owner and his/her staff to solidify the relationship and don’t forget to tip handsomely.

A few simple tweaks to a local menu can stand you in good stead with locally-based customers

Here’s an initiative I ran a few years ago to help generate new clients for my personal training business:

  • I approached the restaurant and asked whether they would let me pay for their menu  to be reprinted (this was at minimal cost, you should be able to get this done for around £30 at a local printers);
  • I said that I would also review the menu and find the healthiest food items (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
  • There was a small section on the menu that explained what the healthy choices were and the number of calories in the healthy option. This was accompanied by a small logo advertising my gym and a written offer for a free consultation.
  • I had control of the menu printing process, which meant I could control the branding and publicity given for my gym. I didn’t overdo it, I just went with something subtle that could be seen by health conscious customers.

Hack 4: Schools – Relationships with local schools and PE Sessions

I have, in the past (especially when I was at the early stages of trying to become a personal trainer) run very good initiatives with local schools in the community offering free PE lessons and mini talks on health, exercise and diet.

It’s great to educate young minds (or at least help their teachers and parents get the information they need to improve kids’ health) on topics such as exercise and healthy eating as this information was never available when I was at school.

More importantly this will generate MASSIVE goodwill for your business. Think about it – a school is a key hub in your community, if you are regularly contributing positive things to the welfare of the pupils, teachers, parents and grandparents will take notice and you’ll develop a good name among an older audience who have cash to beef up your bank balance! 😉

Hack 5: Don’t be afraid of the Dentist

 

A winning smile often means health conscious clients for your business

I have a very good business relationship with the local private dentist in town close by to my business. It has turned into a very lucrative strategic partnership over the years. He refers a lot of clients to me on a regular basis.

Why is it useful to have a dentist on your side if you are trying to become a personal trainer?

  • Tooth and gum health is an indication of overall health and in particular, heart health. If your dentist suspects that lifestyle choices and a lack of exercise is contributing to oral problems he will recommend lifestyle changes to diet and exercise – I have had very many referrals to my business from this dentist;
  • Private dentists are always keen to grow their businesses and establish strategic partnerships. They tend to attract the kind of clientele that are concerned with their appearance and have the money to take your personal training business to the next level.
  • Clients will regularly ask me for referrals to a good teeth whitening professional. My local dentist offers this and I am able to say with confidence to my clients that this is the guy they should use.

 

Hack 6: Get the local hairdresser working for YOU

We’ve all been stuck in a conversation with a hairdresser or barber, some good some bad. They are paid to cut hair but also have expertise in people skills. Above all others, hairdressers are ingrained into the local community like few other businesses are in 2017.

Think about it, a haircut is a rare occasion where people are forced off their phones and into a physical store to interact with a real person. This puts a hairdresser in a unique position of speaking to hundreds of people a week in your local community for an extended period of time.

Get the right type of client into your business

Maybe you haven’t thought about it like this before but a hairdresser is in a position of trust (particularly for women!). If you have determined that women are a key target market for your personal training business, then it’s great to have their hairdresser on side.

If you get the hairdresser on side, he or she is going to sell and market your business.

Here’s how to get your hairdresser onside:

  • Build up a relationship first before mentioning business or trying to sell them something;
  • Refer people to him/her: initially your team members and well known clients, making sure they mention that you sent them (aim for 5 referrals);
  • Listen. People value things they invest in. Get the hairdresser to invest by talking to you for an extended period. Listen. This goes for everyone you interact with in a business setting; it’s way more important (and powerful) to listen than to speak;
  • Offer the hairdresser and its staff a discount (I suggest 25%) on PT sessions and a free consultation for each member of staff – you will know what is appropriate for you;
  • When you’ve got him/her on side, ask if he would mind if you gave him/her a little set of business cards to put on the side. Don’t give him too many, you’ll come off as a cheap takeaway pizza shop. A key principle of marketing is scarcity, give him 10 business cards and top him up next time;
  • Make your business card simple – black background with white text will stand out – simply put the words (obviously insert your own details) – don’t worry about branding and other bullshit at this stage – keep it simple:

PERSONAL TRAINER

HIGHGATE

079123456789

  • Get ready for a steady stream of new clients from your new free sales team 😉 When I was trying to become a personal trainer, this was really valuable to my embryonic business.

 

Hack 7: The Charity Giveaway

 

In the early days I used charity raffles to generate lots of high quality leads and goodwill for my business. Offering your services as part of a raffle or charity auction prize are massively useful to your business because:

(a) you help the local community which creates goodwill and

(b) they promote your business to a large number of people at once.

Free charity give away – my method:

You need to make a bit of an investment here, but not in cash – in time. Here’s what to do:

  • Go on Upwork and get some ‘Personal Training Vouchers’ designed (don’t pay more than $5-$10 for this);
  • Look for events in your local newspaper or yearly recurring events – school fetes and festivals are best.
  • Speak to the organisers (early) – don’t leave it to the last minute.
  • Make the prize something BIG – the key is to ensure that your prize is first prize (you must always think big – second prize won’t carry the same notoriety).
  • I recommend offering around five hours of PT consultations as the prize;

 

Hack 8: The Florist is Your Friend

It may sound weird, but a florist is a very useful ally to have on your team sheet if you are a personal trainer.

There are countless occasions where you’ll need flowers on hand as a personal gesture for a client to keep in their good books and stand out from all the other trainers that don’t bother – birthdays, wedding anniversaries and engagements and other celebrations.

In the past, I have sent clients bouquets of flowers on key dates for them and have decorated the studio with subtle floral arrangements – something the female customers ALWAYS comment on as a selling point.

A florist can really help you create a gym or training environment that works for all of your clients – unless you own a gritty bodybuilding gym!

This is particularly so if you are targeting the family friendly and women’s niche – a highly lucrative market that I focus on. For this demographic adopting little feminine touches is crucially important to your success as a personal trainer.

I talk about the importance of adding ‘the feminine touch’ in my book. One of the mistakes personal trainers make that can be fatal to their business is not catering for their target market.

Use the principles mentioned elsewhere to get a florist on side. Charm them, tip well, refer business to them and offer them free or discount personal training sessions. You’ll find it’s worth the investment and can bring some much needed creative and feminine flair to a  traditionally male-dominated gym floor.

Estate Agents Sometimes Get a Bad Rep But They Can Really Help Your Business if You Do the Right Deal

Hack 9: Move in on the Estate Agents

Without a doubt your local high street will have an estate agent, if it’s anything like mine then there’s probably five or six of them, meaning there’s no excuse for you to not go for this guaranteed hack. It will take a little bit of work on your part initially but if you play it right this could be the single biggest source of referrals for your business… so what do you need to do?

Estate Agents sometimes get a bad rep but they can really help your PT business if you do the right deal

Firstly you need to write a little report titled “The Top 10 ways to de-stress after moving house” include a few generic lines on sleep, watching a movie, going for a walk etc and then go for the money shots – get a massage, find a personal trainer, eat well etc. add your logo and contact details to the report hand over 10 of these reports to the agent asking them to leave them in the welcome pack they give to every new homeowner. Throw in a branded postcard from your business that simply says “Welcome to INSERT AREA” and add a hand-written message wishing them good luck in their new home and offering a free consultation with you once they are settled in their new home.

Now you need to do a deal with the agent, this is the easy bit. Estate agents love cash so don’t waste your time offering them discounts off personal training just simply tell them that you will hand over £50 for every client that signs up with you for a 10 session / 3 month / 6 month programme, you need to determine what’s appropriate. Make that first payment to them as soon as possible and they will quickly come back with more.

Hack 10: As a Personal Trainer, Strive to ‘Have The Solution’

One of the chapters in my book is given over to the importance of having the solution for your clients.

As a personal trainer, you work in a person-centred business. As such, you need to be seen as a trusted advisor to your clients. That means not only will you need to deliver excellent health and fitness advice, you will also be able to advise them when they turn to

you for a whole range of other problems that they may have from time to time.

In most cases, simply knowing where to look is the answer that solves the client’s problem. I advise all new PTs to fill out the below table with their small business contacts in the local area.

Obviously you will have done your due diligence on the list below that all businesses are legit and provide a decent service. It will have a negative effect if you just refer people to businesses not known to you.

The client will be thankful that you know someone that can solve their problem, and the business will be grateful for new custom and will hopefully return the favour to you in due course. Everyone wins!


Become a Personal Trainer - 9 Mistakes That Kill Your Business

Don’t make any one of these 9 fatal mistakes if you’re running a personal training business. I’ve seen these happen over the years and it always ends in a DISASTER (or something close), so please learn from my experience, avoid the pitfalls and SUCCEED! I hate to see history repeating itself.

Violate your client's privacy and be prepared for the consequences.

1. Violate your client’s privacy

Violate your client’s privacy and be prepared for the consequences.

Personal training is a business where the customer puts you in a position of trust. Trust takes a long time to build up and an instant to destroy. At all times, you must listen to, and respect, your client.

Unfortunately, not all trainers got the message: I have seen instances where trainers took pictures with their iPhones of their clients working out on the gym floor and then posted those images on social media to boost their own profile to boost their social media presence.

WTF were they thinking?

This is absolutely unacceptable.

Clients come to you precisely because they don’t feel in perfect photogenic shape. The last thing they want is for a personal trainer to violate their trust for superficial commercial purposes. See yourself as a trusted advisor, not an Instragram junkie.

For most women, the idea of an image of themselves red faced, sweating with no make-up on, wearing an unflattering lycra outfit  appearing on social media is an absolute nightmare!  If you take photos of your clients without their express written consent, sorry, but you’re an idiot. Do it at your peril and watch your business go down the proverbial toilet.

I’ve seen it happen many more times than is comfortable for me so I had to say something.

Your integrity can only take so many hits before no one will deal with you and you’ll be stuck in a rut with nowhere to turn, your reputation is everything in this industry, forego a few likes on Facebook and build real trust with your following.

2. Ignore the local community

Use local businesses and publications to generate publicity on top of your social media marketing strategy.

Use local businesses and publications to generate publicity on top of your social media marketing strategy.

A personal trainer is often part of a much bigger ecosystem of goods and services consumed by your clients.

I’ve seen a lot of trainers perish because they think they can exist in isolation without the help of their local community.

Get it into your head that you can massively succeed just by tapping into the power of local businesses – you don’t need to worry about online marketing bulls*it until you’ve got the basics down.

Your customers will regularly be looking for services closely associated with personal training (such as nutrition advice, dentistry and the massive industry of beauty good and services…it’s a long, lucrative list).

Accept you are part of the local business community and get to know the key players in your community (over time this becomes a healthy, two-way relationship where you refer clients to other business and vice versa). If you neglect your local community – word will get out and you’ll be done for.

Check out this post with videos (it’s a private post, the password is simply ‘password‘) suggesting ten quick hacks of how to market yourself in your local community. These old fashioned principles will never fail.

3. Failing your target market

If your gym adopts a young, grimy weight lifting culture, understand it may deter a more affulent demographic

If your gym adopts a young, grimy weight lifting culture, understand it may deter a more affulent demographic

Look, everyone wants to look good and get their perfect physique. But from a business perspective, which target market is going to be must lucrative for you?

Remember you are in business to make money, not to impress your mates.

In my experience, it’s best to focus on middle aged clientele looking to make key health improvements than on gym freaks looking to add weight to their bench press one rep max.

Why? Simple.

Money. The thing that keeps you and your business alive.

I’d rather target a more affluent audience and adapt my marketing message accordingly than be begging and borrowing for scraps off students with no cash looking to up their bench!

If you run a successful gym for a younger audience – that’s great.

Just keep one eye on where the real money’s at and don’t forget:

Not every client wants a six pack and two tickets to the gun show 😉

4. Staff lose interest

If you sense that your team of trainers are losing interest, it may be time to let them go.

If you sense that your team of trainers are losing interest, it may be time to let them go.

I’ve run a gym for well over a decade so I am qualified to say that your trainers, over time, can lose interest – and if you’re not careful harm your business.

It’s not their fault.

It’s YOUR FAULT for not setting realistic career goals. The fact is, if you’re the best gym owner in the world you’ll train and manage your staff so well that they feel that they can leave and set up shop on their own.

At around the 2 year mark you will start to encounter resistance from your good trainers who want to fly the nest and set up shop on their own.

By this I mean they will start to behave insubordinately and think they know best. This is natural if you’ve hired good people in the first place.

The big secret of most major professional services firms is they don’t really want new graduates to stay there for life, they want them there for a fixed time of around two years to get a sweet period of good work out of them before they become too old/disillusioned/accomplished to want to work for you any more.

If you’re UK based, I recommend trying to tap into the huge volumes of new European trainers that are (for now at least) able to work for you in the UK. It’s a sweeping generalisation but, they tend to be massively incentivised by relatively higher UK wages.

Consider also tapping the Australian market which produces a steady stream of able trainers that want to work in the UK for two years but no longer.

Always see your business model as relying on graduate trainers that will work for you for no longer than two years. This keeps your business young and exuberant – exactly what you want in this industry.

If you want to give your existing staff some reading material, you can always hand out a few copies of my book. The Trusted Trainer. 😉

5. Fail to protect yourself legally

Avoid

This one is simple but so many gym owners and trainers don’t do it.

Clearly, you need liability insurance.

You also need a comprehensive health and safety policy (there are plenty of templates available for free online).

And you need prominent notices all around your training space and in your terms and conditions that people visit your gym at their own risk (insofar as the law will allow) – these are entirely standard: visit any decent gym and you’ll see them everywhere.

And – if you miss any of the above and you get burnt by an aggrieved client, you’ll be sorry and out of pocket.

6. Keep the wrong clients on your books

If your client is always late for things it might be time to FIRE THEM!

If your client is always late for things it might be time to fire THEM!

If you’re anything like me you’re a motivated and ambitious health and fitness pro.

That’s why when you design a training and diet programme you expect your client to stick to it and achieve amazing things. I always feel a sense of ‘what could have been’ when they are clearly not keeping to their side of the bargain either by turning up late or not at all, or clearly f**ing up their diet, even if they try to create an illusion of progress.

I’ve been there so many times on the gym floor early in the morning or late at night only for my client to cancel or postpone me at the last minute.

Trust me, if someone makes it clear to you they can’t honour a basic commitment to their own success then it’s time for you to move on. I talk about this in my book.

The caveat to this is if you’re brand new to the industry you might wanna hang in there for a year or so just to get the experience and establish momentum.

However, if you’re just a little bit established and your clients keep sapping your energy by failing to keep their promises – drop them like a Bomb Over Baghdad (as the famous song goes) – they are not worth it (despite their verbal protestations to the contrary that ‘they will change’ or  ‘things will get better’).

There’s an endless line of good clients out there, you just have to find them.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

7. Forgetting it’s all about Location, Location, Location

Great potential as a gym facility...but it means nothing if it's in the middle of nowhere.

Great potential as a gym facility…but it means nothing if it’s in the middle of nowhere.

I know a lot of gym owners that made a big mistake. They were seduced by the prospect of owning a large, modern facility with a huge plot of commercial floor area and high ceilings with amazing loading bays.

“This is going to be an amazing gym, right?” they think.

Wrong.

I’d rather own a small garage in Chelsea than an entire fitness complex in middle of Butt F*** nowhere. Location is everything.

Remember that an individual’s gym commitment is part of their daily routine and if you underestimate the importance of travel time to and from your facility, you’re a poor strategist.

I’d prefer a shitty facility in a prime location within walking distance of residential areas than an amazing facility in a retail park 15 minutes’ drive from all human civilisation.

8. Being a cheap ass with your gym equipment

 

Pay more and pay once

That’s my motto.

It’s very true of buying new gym equipment.

If you need to leverage yourself, just a little bit, at the outset to buy the best available gym equipment then I totally recommend that you do so. If you try and skimp on the equipment at the outset then your client base will notice and regard your facility as a low quality facility with under-par equipment.

The other big mistake is to buy equipment that will intimidate and be inconsistent with your target market’s needs (see point three above).

The classic example is a young gym owner that think’s its imperative to buy a power rack and sawdust pit when most of their customers are middle aged women looking to keep their health in check. This is plain stupid.

If you’re starting a cross fit studio, then buy the aggressive power lifting equipment if you must.

But if you’re looking to tap into a lucrative Mum’s market, think about what they want to see and don’t go to grand with your gym equipment, keep it reasonable.

9. F**king up your own appearance

Say the words Personal Trainer and some people think of this...If you’re a muscle-bound, tattooed, human growth hormone meathead working in a facility for bodybuilders then… keep doing what you’re doing.

If you want to attract a clientele with real money you’re going to take a long hard look in the mirror.

Being a personal trainer requires you to be in shape, dress well and pay close attention to your own grooming. If you look like sh*t – why would people hire you to help them look great? Equally, if you don’t look like someone that is approachable, friendly and suited to your target market, why would they buy from you?

You’ll regularly be physically in close quarters to your clients so make sure you’re well groomed and shower regularly.

Cheers,

David

PS – if you have any (good) questions…leave them in the comments section below and if I’ve pissed you off then I’ve achieved my objective. The biggest factor in designing a successful business in ANY area is to be true to yourself, if you agree with everything I’ve written then I’m doing something wrong.


Personal Trainer Books

 

When I first started my business, a mentor of mine at the time told me something about personal trainer books:

“Success is kept on the top shelf and the only way to reach it is by standing on the books you have read”.

This quote has stayed with me and over the last ten years, I have devoured a huge number of books on training concepts, nutrition and rehabilitation but importantly I’ve also built up a library of books on business, management and self improvement. When trainers look for personal trainer books they don’t always gravitate to entrepreneurial titles, but they should.

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite personal trainer books below.

I hope these will help you in your business as much as they’ve helped me!

Old principles still apply

1. How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie


This is the classic self help title that
started the self help movement. It’s been in print a long time now. Even so, the principles in this book have helped me create amazing relationships with personal training clients and potential investors over the years.

I’m amazed how many self-help junkies haven’t heard of this title, it’s a book that should be on everyone’s list of must-read personal trainer books.

One of my favourite quotes from the book is:

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Most trainers forget that they operate in a person-centred business, meaning that it is vital to get them to invest in the relationship by telling you about their lives, Carnegie’s book is great for showing you, step by step, how to do that.

It’s simple and user friendly, and the ideas can be quickly implemented in your life without much work.

I’ve got an old beaten-up copy that I re-read once a year to keep my skills in check. It’ll always have a place on my shelf of personal trainer books at home.

Amazon: How to Win Friends and Influence People

2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini (the most manipulative of personal trainer books)

Whereas Carnegie presents a somewhat jovial and old fashioned account of getting what you want, Cialdini presents a lesson in arch manipulation for modern times. This book is a bit more corrupt than the first title. It is a new classic that every person in sales or marketing (that’s you, personal trainers) should own.

It shows you the dark arts of influence based around 7 key principles (Cialdini ‘Weapons of Influence‘) here’s a summary:

Reciprocity – You get what you give. It’s true.

I always offer a small amount for free in my consultations with clients, it builds goodwill and whatever I give always comes back to me and more. (I talk about this principle a lot in my video guide and post on PT local business marketing)

Commitment and Consistency – you should be peddling the same message in your PT business, it goes without saying that you need show commitment with your clients – turn up on time (which means at least an hour before your PT sessions and never miss a session).

Social Proof – if other people in the demographic you are targeting with your training services are buying from you, and you can prove it in your marketing efforts, then you’ll increase the chances that others will.

Liking – the friendly thief – people buy from people they like, use Carnegie and my book to build up a likeable persona as a PT if you think you struggle in this area.

Authority – you need to be an authority in everything you preach to your clients. This can be tough given the amount of conflicting information available but everything I write on my four pillars blog is internally consistent and based on science not fitness fakery.

Scarcity – the most fascinating principle of all, never be ‘too available’, there is nothing worse than an empty restaurant to tell people not to visit the restaurant.

If you’re already a bit of manipulative b********, this will make you worse. Be warned.

Amazon: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

3. Ego is the enemy – Ryan Holiday

So many trainers put ego first. Leave it at the door.

This book talks about the sheer number of people that have put their ego in the backseat and have achieved success through focussing on higher-order goals. A principle I always stand by. If anything, a new personal training clients comes to you for an ego boost, they don’t want your ego foisted on them at every turn. I’ve seen so many trainers perish by behaving like this.

‘Ego is the enemy’ encourages the reader to take a look at their lives and examine their behaviours from a different angle. The book goes on to mention that even though most of us try to satisfy our ego, we often see nothing wrong in pursuing goals that will ultimately make us feel, and look better. Here is where Holiday comes in and turns everything you thought you knew on its head. Instead of encouraging us to make the world a better place by aiming to achieve what we want, instead he asks us to focus on a higher goal, and begin to work towards the needs of a higher purpose.

Most trainers want to offer people the chance to feel better about themselves, by working on their bodies, and their minds. But as Holiday suggests ego can play a part in the work that we do. We want to be seen as the best trainer around, but in the midst of achieving that goal, we become blinded by our ego, and fail to see our faults.

We would be nothing without the paying customers who set foot on our gym floor every day, and ‘Ego is the Enemy’ can help us to realign our focus, and realise that reaching for our own goals can make failures worse. If instead we focus on those who come to us to build a better body, and a healthier lifestyle, we can be free of our own desires.

Holiday also points out that by focusing on others you will “..be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve.” Let this book be one that you add to your must read personal trainer books list and leave your ego at the door.

Amazon: Ego is the Enemy: The Fight to Master Our Greatest Opponent

4. Your money or your life – Vicki Robin

Robin takes a look at the impact of money and economic uncertainty, and applies it to how we live our lives. Robin claims that many people concentrate on making a living, rather than making a life for ourselves.

These days everyone has concerns about money, and how they spend it. However, this book goes into great detail about how you can get yourself out of debt, resolve the conflicts you have between values, and the lifestyle you lead.

Trainers, you could impart your new knowledge learned from this book onto your clients (remember it is not just about training), helping them to become more focused about what is important to them. Show them how to change their lives for the better by leading by example. Tell them what you have learned, and how changing your priorities has made your life better.

Amazon: Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

Experts rate this top of the list of personal trainer books 😉

5. The Trusted Trainer – David Osgathorp

Released in July 2017, this modern classic has already sold over 16 million copies and is available in 15 languages. 😉

All joking aside:

This is my account of the trials and tribulations of growing my personal training business in London over a 16-year period. I talk about how to win new clients in a saturated marketplace, how to create a positive team culture and more.

Most importantly I talk about my flaws and the huge mistakes that I’ve made along the journey. Success is the problem but failure is the formula.

If you want to get a flavour of what the book is like, check out 9 fatal mistakes that kill your PT business.

Oh and if you want a free copy of the book, send me an email: david@davidosgathorp.com and I’ll send it to you while stocks last!

Amazon: The Trusted Trainer: How to attract, amaze and keep your personal training clients for life

6. Start With Why – Simon Sinek

Most companies know what they do, some of them know how they do it but only the truly great companies know WHY they do what they do. Sinek’s book focuses on why natural born leaders seem to be so successful, before getting the reader to understand that they can learn to be as successful as the leaders they admire.

Sinek asks us to think about why people do what they do, rather than focusing on how they do it. Of course, in some instances you do need to know what it is that you do, and how you go about doing it, but you ultimately need to focus on why you’re doing it in the first place. Sinek explains that all of the great business leaders, and leaders in other fields at one time or another asked themselves why they were doing what they were doing.

Sinek then goes on to explain how we can take a look at the work we do, and apply these principles to it. Trainers, why do your train? Why do you do what you, rather than anything else? Why is what you do so important to you? If you keep asking “Why?” Sinek suggests that you could potentially become as successful as the business leaders you admire. Add this book to your pile of personal trainer books.

Amazon: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action

7. The E-Myth – Michael Gerber

Most of you will reach the stage where you need to make the big decision to move from the operative of the business to the owner of your business. You have built a business on the fact that you are great at what you do. but the entrepreneurial myth is that all people who start businesses are entrepreneurs. There is a huge difference between someone who understands the technical aspects of their business can successfully run a business that does technical work.

This is the reason why 80% of businesses will fail within 10 years. I urge any personal trainer at any stage in their business development to devour the priceless advice held within this fantastic book.

Amazon: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

8. The Go Giver – Bob Burg

In ‘The Go Giver’ Burg explains that most people refuse to believe that being successful is not down to taking what you can, instead it is down to giving.

This ground-breaking books tells the story of a man who is desperate for success, and despite all of his hard work, he seems to be further away from his goal than ever before.

One day the man decides to seek advice from a consultant known as ‘The Chairman’ who introduces him to open himself up to the possibility of giving.

This revolutionary book teaches the reader to put other peoples’ interests first, while also adding value to their lived. It’s this that is thought to lead to some unexpected results. In addition to offering the reader a new way of looking at life, the book also includes a question and answer section where Burg addresses some of the questions that readers have asked him, offering everyone a chance to benefit from his wisdom.

Books such as this one can offer you an insight into a new way of working with your clients. Just as ‘Ego is the enemy’ asks you to forget your ego, ‘The Go Giver’ asks you to forget about taking what you want. You may be able to relate to this book if you have previously looked from what you could gain from being a trainer. Although there is nothing wrong with looking at life from this angle, if you concentrate on giving your clients that little bit more, they will be more likely to trust you, and wish to keep working with you.

Giving more can give you more job satisfaction, as you’re likely to see more improvements in all areas of your work, helping you to achieve the level of success that may have previously seemed out of reach.

Amazon: The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

9. Purple Cow – Seth Godin

In ‘Purple Cow’, Godin states that you could be one of two things, a purple cow, or nothing at all. You can be remarkable, or you can be invisible, it’s up to you to choose what you want to be.

This interestingly titled personal trainer book goes on to list some of the worlds’ most successful businesses, before asking you what the have in common, and how they have achieved growth while leaving other brands fighting for a slice of the pie.

Godin explains that the P’s used by the marketing industry (Pricing, promotion, and publicity) just don’t work any more, instead it is time to add a new P to the equation, the Purple Cow. This original concept asks you to put the Purple Cow into every single thing that you do, so that you become remarkable, rather than invisible.

What Godin might be saying in a ‘round about way is that you need to offer something different. You need to fill a gap in the market, and offer something that your competition doesn’t. If you’re looking for a list of personal trainer books to read, I highly recommend this one. The title of this book is offering something different, it’s asking to be noticed, and chances are it has grabbed your attention. Now it’s your turn to do something similar with your life.

Amazon: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Develop good habits

10. 7 Habits of highly effective people – Steven Covey

In this book that should be added to your ever-growing stock of personal trainer books, Covey offers a holistic approach for dealing with and solving professional and personal issues. Using anecdotes and insights, Covey shows how every one of us can lead a fairer, honest life that is full of dignity and integrity. The book goes on to explain that the principles Covey has set out can make us more adaptable to change, while grasping the opportunities that change can create.

While many people fail to take risks, and instead lead a life that is almost static or stationary, Covey asks the reader to change the way that they see the world, so that they can become more successful in all areas of our lives.

‘7 Habits of highly effective people’ asks everyone to take a good look at themselves, and slowly introduce a new way of thinking, so that we move from being dependent on our static lives, to being independent, with a view to finally becoming interdependent.

This book ultimately encourages the reader to begin with the end result in mind, for example we trainers may want to run our own gym, but how do we get there? We look at how we can get there, and how we can make those changes ourselves.

I urge any trainers to read this book, and consider the opportunities that change can give you. While change can potentially be disconcerting, it can open the door to a new world of possibilities that could help you become more successful in every aspect of your life.

Amazon: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Good personal trainer books come from all walks of life, including hip hop.

11. 50th law by Robert Greene and 50 cent.

This book really helped me in the earlier days when grinding to create a profitable PT business. Robert Greene is a great writer and 50 cent is a legitimate businessman. Look beyond the frivolous rap persona, there is a real business brain behind 50 cent.

It taught me incredibly useful things about adopting a gritty mindset. If you haven’t already you should also check out Mastery and the 48 laws of power by Greene, which is also fantastic. What did this book do for me as a young PT?

– making the best out of a bad situation (‘turning s**t into sugar’ as Greene and 50 cent call it).

– vindicated my decision to be my own boss and not work for anyone else!

– taught me how to dominate the competition

– how hard work pays off – don’t just do the minimal amount necessary to complete a task (there is an anecdote about 50’s ability to produce masses of mix tapes in this book which was inspiring).

Amazon: The 50th Law (The Robert Greene Collection)

Put this book on your list of personal trainer books to read, as I believe it could help you adopt that gritty mindset that helped me to create my own profitable PT business.

Cheers,

David


Personal Training is a Waste of Time

If you are an established personal trainer or are looking to become a personal trainer you are judged on one thing…

…your ability to get real results for your clients.

If you are looking to become a personal trainer, no amount of cash thrown at marketing your business or new gym equipment will save you if you fail to get results for your clients.

On the other hand, if you do get good results for your clients – expect an avalanche of new business, totally free word of mouth marketing and wads of cash to follow.

Personal Training is a Waste of Time

If you want to become a personal trainer that delivers excellent results time after time then you need to understand that the training component of your client’s fitness regime is just one small piece of the puzzle.

That’s why personal training alone is a waste of time.

If you have even the smallest amount of knowledge on health and fitness, then you understand that making any kind of physiological change to your body is going to require a lot more than a few tough training sessions each week.

People come to you for results, not fads!

In my opinion to achieve drastic change in your physical appearance, the actual training element comes way down the list of importance!

You can’t bullshit your clients into believing that 3 sessions per week with you is all they need to achieve that perfect beach body. You have to ensure that they keep a strict focus on their diet, adhere to a fixed routine that allows them time to sleep properly and recover effectively from your training sessions and a strong mindset to stick with this routine for more than just a couple of weeks!

Get your clients results by giving them the full package of nutrition, recovery, mindset and training advice and assistance

Far too many trainers either fail to understand this or let their ego get in the way by believing that their perfect training programme (which they’ve probably copied off the internet) is all their client needs to achieve their dream body.

If this sounds like you then you need to stop wasting your client’s time and money NOW by placing far too much focus on the training time in the gym.

Training someone is just one small part of your job!

If you’re a personal trainer then you’re probably desperate for your client to come in 4 or 5 times per week. If you’re doing this then I believe you’re stealing  from them! Stop wasting time as a personal trainer and learn how to be a great coach.

Educate your clients and empower them to train on their own whilst providing them with enough support to conquer their goals with effective strategies for nutrition, mindset and recovery.

If you miss out on any one of these four components to generate results, you’ll never generate the profits that follow results.

To achieve what others can't, you need to do what other's don't - food allergy testing is something you can look into recommending

The Four Pillars of Health (Training is just one of them!)

The four pillars of health that are the foundation of all I do (with my celebrity PT clients, at my London gym, at Red Bull Racing F1 Team and on this blog) are always the same:

  1. Nutrition – ensure the client is aware of their relationship with food and well educated about proper nutrition.
  2. Mindset – understand why the client is training and how they mentally approach each training session.
  3. Recovery – sleep, rest, de-stressing and injury prevention/management.
  4. Training – focusing on proper training strategies (such as time under tension).

If I am working with a client and I have missed one of those things out then that client simply isn’t going to get the results that they’ve paid for. When I first become a personal trainer, I only did the ‘training’ part and got zero results.

Remember when you work with a client, your sessions are about them, not you! Most clients will come to you for weight loss – therefore your number one goal is NOT your sexy new training programme – its the more boring task of teaching them to eat properly.

“You get fit in the gym, you lose weight in the kitchen!”

A saying I like to regularly remind my clients of.

Here are some examples where training alone will never be enough for you to succeed as a personal trainer:

  • If a client has no concept that some so-called ‘health’ or ‘low fat’ foods contain buckets of sugar  – they will never out-train their bad diet;
  • If a client is chronically stressed from over-training (particularly long steady state cardio, which I hate), more training is the opposite of what they neBecome a personal trainer: Food allergy testing can often help clients beat inflammation see my post on this
  • ed, you need to learn to send them home, give them a proper recovery strategy with adequate time in between sessions;
  • Similarly, if your client is chronically fatigued you often need to take a dual pronged approach by looking at their nutrition (for example by looking at their caffeine consumption to address sleep issues or recommending a vitamin deficiency test) and advising them on their mindset (such as by suggesting that they are trying to accomplish too much in their lives in general or maybe they would benefit from a workout partner or writing things down;
  • If your client is on a diet that triggers certain food allergies in them (suggest my elimination diet or that they get a food allergy test) – one client I had insisted natural yoghurt was great for him…until he found out he was completely allergic to lactose, in all its forms,  through food allergy testing;

If any of the above was news to you and you are looking to become a personal trainer – you’ve got work to do, my friend.

Once you’re confident you’ve done what you can in the domains of nutrition, mindset and recovery, address the fun part, training.

Make sure your client is not making any of these mistakes (the big mistake people make is advocating long, steady state cardio that doesn’t burn fat, it just fatigues the client).

Talk to your client regularly about their hopes and ambitions for the future

Communication

Effective communication with your PT clients is key, especially when you’ve just become a personal trainer

In order to deliver a programme that ticks all of the boxes for your clients then you need to really work on your communication skills.

If you’re going to deliver great results then you need to understand your clients, and determine exactly what each one of them needs.

I will write posts later about how to properly communicate with your clients but if you’re not hearing about their lives, their stresses, their strains, their past injuries and (sometimes) their social life on a regular basis – you’re doing something wrong! Many of those who’ve just become a personal trainer miss this out and it is FATAL to their business.

You want to build a dialogue about things that happen off the gym floor.

Personal Trainer – Capital P, small t

To generate proper results for your clients when you become a personal trainer, refer to the Four Pillars – training alone doesn’t get the beach body they all want!

In order to be a great coach, you need to be a great communicator, you need to understand your clients needs and you need to deliver a solution that is unique to their specific requirements.

You have to forcefully tell your clients exactly what to do in a manner that motivates them and doesn’t piss them off. You’ve got to be firm but fair and show them that you genuinely care about the results they are seeking. This way if they go off track then they know they’re letting you down as well as themselves!

In your role as a great coach you’re going to need to be comfortable having conversations about a client’s work life, their home life, their relationship with food – amongst many other personal things and so you’ll need to build a strong all round *personal* relationship with each client that you work with.

A vision of the future if you don’t adopt the four pillars when you become a personal trainer

If you do this consistently, you should expect to charge serious money for your sessions – similar to what a qualified accountant can expect to charge. If you don’t you’ll be earning less than a burger flipper at McDonalds.

The benefit of following my Four Pillar approach is that you get results for your client AND you get to know them on a personal level.

All of which means you stand out from the crowd of gym monkeys looking to make a buck through their latest crossfit fad or misplaced ‘get ripped to shreds’ regime when their prime target market is middle aged women!

Become a Personal Trainer – More on the Four Pillars

The point of this site is to convey my method which has lead to me working with numerous celebrity clients, running my own studios for over ten years, commanding £100 + /hour PT consultations and working directly with the Red Bull Racing F1 Team – it’s not rocket science, but it does rely heavily on becoming an all-round Personal Trainer and not just someone who knows how to spot a bench press in the gym.

If you liked this post, you'll love my book.