If you’ve been a personal trainer long enough, you know that the position is
more than about knowing about exercises and the body. Personal trainers are successful because they are experts in dealing with people. Unfortunately, most of the literature directed at personal trainers is geared toward new exercises.
Do yourself a favor check out this articles on 4 books EVERY trainer should read (that have nothing to do with fitness) and a lot of your questions on sales, handling motivation, and behavior modification will be answered. Enjoy!
This books was published in 1936 and has sold over 15 million copies. I’m not exactly sure why I decided to give this book a try but the principles in this book are priceless. This is a book full of simple truths that need to be drilled into your head over and over. Forgetting some of these simple truths are what cause sales pitches, or even first impressions to go totally wrong. This book is divided into 4 sections
- Handling people
- Making people like you
- Getting people to think like you
These are such important skills to master in personal training. You are trying to get a relative stranger to pay the equivalent of a car payment for your motivation and expertise. Have you ever bought a car from a salesman you didn’t like? Have you ever had your opinion of a product turned by a salesman? This book can easily be called the book of sales because everything in life is a sale, a battle of wills to achieve a goal. Either you sell your client on why you’re worth $XXX dollars per month or they sell you on why you’re not. This is the first book you should read, twice.
This is the second book that you need to read. It goes beyond meeting the client and getting them to like you to helping them see success. I don’t talk about a lot of fancy exercises on this blog, one of the main reasons you probably read my content is that I give structure. Clients want the same thing from you. They know what they should be eating, they know that they should be exercising. But they need you to tell them when, how, and most importantly, how to make it work with all the other responsibilities they have.
I have never had a client say, wow, I never thought to make grilled chicken. Their struggle is, how do I find the time to make the grilled chicken? Or how do I overcome the peer pressure when my friends want me to order pizza instead?
If you’re a little disorganized yourself, this will put you right on track. An organized mind doesn’t lose track of client needs, deadlines, and appointments. This book is divided into 3 sections:
- Independence – How to be more productive
- Interdependence – How to work with others in win/win situations
- Continuos Improvement – Further taking your skills to the next level
This is a good read, but I would recommend the audio book. Listen to it while you’re driving or maybe before you go to sleep. For me, the information sunk in easier with the audiobook.
Okay, this is some next level stuff. If you don’t go through the first two books, this book will be very easy to misinterpret. This book has caught a lot of flack for being deceiving and unethical. The truth is, all is fair in love, war, and business and there are some principles you have to understand will benefit you as you start to go out on your own as a business owner. I’ll go over the first 3 laws and how I would interpret them into personal training.
- Never outshine the master – If you’re a personal trainer at a gym and the GM asks the personal training department to take on a task, you’d be well served to share an idea you have with the personal training director instead of taking all the credit for yourself. If you threaten someone above you, they can make your life difficult, especially if they control which trainers get clients
- Don’t trust friend, hire enemies – When I first started my bootcamp, I did it with 3 other friends. Now my goal was to be as professional as possible but because they were my friends and familiar with me, they would have no problem defaulting to banter that should otherwise be reserved for play, not work. Moreover, friends are more prone to jealousy. Enemies, however, know that they can lose standing with you. So for the sake of their own best interest, they are more prone to “play by your rules”
- Hide your intentions – People will always try to control you if you are a benefit to them. If your goal is to open up your own business, you don’t need to tell the entire world, especially if you’re in the very delicate planning stage. Others may try to discredit or discourage your. Your boss may subconsciously try to sabotage you to keep you. Just be smart about who you say things to.
Now I’m sure there are some of you that are thinking, wow, this guy has trust issues! Maybe I have a few, but I’ve been on the winning end and losing end of these three rules so I can tell you they are right. So yes buy the book and learn from it. But only AFTER you’ve read the first two books in this article. FInally, with every rule you read, I want you to consider, how can I apply this to life as a fitness professional.
4) Deliver Happiness By Tony Hseih
This is a book written by the CEO of Zappos. For any trainer that wants a glimpse into business ownership you HAVE TO read this book. Many people have the idea that leaving your employee-type job to run your own business is smooth sailing after the first few months. Business ownership is a constant battle that requires thick skin, resilience, and the ability and willingness to adapt to change and reinvent. This book has three main sections:
- Profits – which details Tony’s entrepreneurial life. What it means to be an entrepreneur. And how he made 265 million dollars a few years out of college
- Profits and Passion – The book then transitions into the ups and downs of being a CEO, managing people, and managing expectations of your product
- Profits, Passion, and Purpose – The final part goes into the deep meaning of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Doing what you do because you love it. How to maintain good public relations, and how to keep the passion strong.
There are times in this book when I said, how did he ever get himself out of this bad situation. But looking back on my business I can look back and wonder how I made it through some of my battles (unmotivated employees, tearing my achilles, staying positive in the slow season). One of the main reasons I was able to push through was that I knew that this is all part of the game. Read this book.
That’s all, below you’ll find my amazon links for these 4 books, I know it will help you. Give them a chance, put them to use and I know your skills as a fitness professional will improve tenfold.
Now with that said, it’s obvious that there’s way more to learn than the information in your certifications. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. These books teach you how to manage people and yourself. But how do you manage your business?
If you want to improve your website building, training, marketing, billing, and nutrition coaching, there’s only ONE place to go, and that’s my Dumbbells to Dollars Course.
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