By Jonathan FitPro
By Jonathan FitPro
Hey Fellow Fitpros!
Being a personal trainer is more than just recommending exercises. You have to be a friend, teacher, cheerleader, but most importantly, you have to be a savvy a business owner.

After working in this industry for over 15 years, I have developed these rules to help you become a more successful Personal Trainer. Whether you are new or seasoned in the field, these rules will help you to become more successful. Guaranteed!

 If you want to add a few rules you think I left out..add them in the comments section. Now, on to the list!
Being a Successful Personal Trainer can easily be broken down into four main categories: 
Professionalism
Client Management
Sales
Personal Development
Professionalism
Key Things to Remember about professionalism:
• Be a fitness professional   
  because you love fitness
  not to get laid
• Systemize everything. 
  Successful businesses run 
  off of plans and programs, 
  not chaos
• Setting up a Google Voice. 
  With Google Voice, phone 
  calls still go to your phone, 
  but you can manage when 
  and where you wish your 
  clients to contact you
• Make yourself easy to find 
  with professional social  
  media accounts.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Professionalism
ALWAYS:
• Be on time
• Confirm the appointment    
  the night before
• Leave your personal 
  problems at home 
• Ignore all distractions while 
  training your client
• Do follow up  
  measurements to keep    
  your clients informed 
  and motivated
• Keep exercise logs to show 
  your clients they are 
  progressing
• Be open to helping 
  somebody with improper 
  form even if you don’t think 
  they will want to sign up for 
  personal training
• Be willing to lend a helping 
  hand to the gym, even if it’s 
  for free
• Make a plan for your client. 
• Make sure your workout 
  space is in order because 
  presentation is everything 
• Cut your Fitness Director 
  some slack. Their job is 
  harder than it looks 
• Have an alternate plan in 
  case somebody’s using a 
  machine that you want
• Learn the ins and outs of 
  marketing
• Get PT Insurance 
• Take advice from other 
  trainers 
• Learn to be organized. A 
  good resource is “The 7 
  Habits of Highly Effective 
  People” by Stephen Covey 
• Read books on Sales
• Take time to help trainers 
  that have less experience 
  than you 
• Take advantage of the tax 
   benefits for self-employed 
   personal trainers such as 
   purchasing equipment, 
   exercise apparel, and 
   sneakers 

NEVER: 
• Show up to work hungover 
• Answer your phone during 
  a session 
• Use your position to 
  inappropriately touch, look 
  at,or talk to a gym patron 
• Mix business with pleasure 
• Train a client without a waiver 
PROFESSIONALISM SUMMARY
A big reason clients leave their Personal Trainers is lack of Professionalism. 

Following these steps will not only help you to become a more successful Personal Trainer, but will help you build your business as an entrepreneur. 
Client Management
Key Things to Remember about Client Management:
• Remind clients they don't 
  have to be perfect to be 
  successful
Read "How to Win Friends 
  and Influence People"
• Learn to do mitt work and 
  box as it’s a great stress 
  reliever
• Every client should feel that they are your top priority 
The Do’s and Don’ts of Client Management
ALWAYS:
• Have high energy 
• Forgive your client if they 
  are late once in a while.     
• Discontinue or move away 
  from an exercise if your 
  client is emotionally 
  uncomfortable with it. They 
  have a personal reason for 
  it. Don’t argue
• Focus on nutrition
• Demonstrate exercises 
  clearly
• Take fitness beyond the 
  gym with 5K’s and mud 
  runs
• Let your personality shine 
  through in your training. 
• Compliment your client. 
• Ask your clients for 
  feedback 
• Make your clients journal 
  their food
• Do your best to cater your 
  training environment to 
  your clients’ likes
• Remember the Jillian 
  Michaels routine does not 
  work for many people, and 
  not a lot of clients respond 
  favorably to it. If that’s not 
  your style don’t try to fake it
• Encourage your clients to 
  get periodic blood work so 
  they can check their risk for 
  metabolic disease
• Use the word "we" when 
  discussing goals such as 
  “we have to clean up our 
  eating” or “we have to be 
  more disciplined”
• Build community among 
  your clients. 
• Hold fat loss contests 
• Tell your clients your goals. 
• Appreciate your clients
• Be honest with your clients. 
• Remember they’re clients   
  not test dummies
• Be a trainer, not a therapist
• Use the sandwich method 
  when issuing criticism. 
  Compliment first, then 
  criticism, then compliment

NEVER: 
• Sit if your client is standing
• Allow a client to disrespect 
  you
• Use complicated trainer 
  jargon. 
• Push sketchy supplements 
• Make promises that you   
  can’t keep
• Give all of your time away   
  for free. 
• Say “You’re doing it wrong” 
  say “Can I offer you 
  some advice” 
• Make a paying client wait 
  because you’re trying to 
  close a sale on a possible 
  new client 
• Punish poor eating habits 
  with hard workouts. 
• Be afraid to suspend your 
  client for a while if they 
  refuse to adhere to the 
  demands of your training 
  regimen. 
• Be afraid to give a free 
  session to your clients once 
  in a while
• Walk away from a client
• Book your sessions in so 
  tightly that you have to rush 
  clients.
• Smoke out a new client 
CLIENT MANAGEMENT SUMMARY
Understanding how to manage your clients takes you one step closer to reaching true success as a personal trainer. 

Balancing such important relationships will not only help you become better as a personal trainer, but a better business owner.

 
Client Management/ Relationships
41) Always have more energy than your client;
42) If your client is standing, you should never be sitting;
43) Occasionally people are late, so if your client is late once in a while acknowledge it, but forgive them, because eventually you’re going to be late one day
44) Clients have a skewed view about fitness, they think they need to be perfect 100% of the time, if you’re the type of person that has a cheat meal every once so often, let your client know about it, let them know how you recover, how you get back on track, so that they can do the same thing and not feel discouraged when they slip up;
45) Never allow a client to disrespect you;
46) If your client is emotionally uncomfortable with an exercise or a specific environment, move them away from it, or discontinue the exercise. They have a personal reason for it, don’t argue;
47) Spend at least as much time correcting nutritional habits as you do correct form. Use MyFitnessPal to monitor your clients.
48) Be so verbally thorough and descriptive in explaining your exercises that even a blind person can grasp the concept of what you expect them to do;
49) Stay away from complicated trainer jargon. Clients don’t study it, clients don’t understand it, it’s not going to help them;
50) Don't push supplements onto your clients if you don't believe in them.
51) Take fitness beyond the gym, into 5K’s, mud runs; and sports outings
52) Never make promises that you can’t keep;
53) Although I suggest that you give people your time, don’t give all of your time away for free;
54) Learn to talk to anyone, read Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people"
55) Remember when approaching somebody that you don’t know to help them with their form, don’t say “You’re doing that wrong.” Always start off with “Can I offer you some advice.”;
56) Never make a paying client wait because you’re trying to close a sale on a possible new client;
57) Personality matters, always let your personality shine through in your training;
58) A genuine compliment goes a very long way;
59) Don't punish poor eating habits with hard workouts, instead take the time to educate your client on how they can make better decisions
60) If your client refuses to adhere to the demands of your training regiment, don’t be afraid to suspend them for a while, perhaps a week so that they know that you mean business;
61) If you’re going to be working out with your client, do it on your time not on their time;
62) Don’t be afraid to give a free session to your clients once in a while;
63) Always ask your clients for feedback;
64) Learn to do mitt work and box, it’s a great stress reliever;
65) Make your clients journal their food;
66) Do your best to cater your training environment to your clients’ likes;
67) Remember the Jillian Michaels routine does not work for many people, and not a lot of clients respond favorably to it. If that’s not your style don’t try to fake it;
68) Encourage your clients’ to get periodic blood work so they can check their risk for metabolic disease;
69) When discussing goals, always use the word "we" (ex. we have to clean up our eating, we have to be more discipline) ;
70) Build community among your clients, it may not be a bad idea in case you need to put two clients together and train two for one;
71) Hold fat loss contests;
72) Let your clients in on your goals. They can benefit from seeing how you approach a challenge for yourself;
73) Take time to tell your clients that you appreciate them;
74) Be always honest with your clients, if you noticed a change either good or bad, let them know;
75) Remember, they’re clients not test dummies;
76) Never walk away from client (unless you got to fart);
77) Be a trainer, not a therapist;
78) Every client should feel that you’re their top priority;
79) Never book your sessions in so tightly that you have to rush clients in and out of session. You don’t want to feel the way that you would feel if you were sitting in a doctor’s office;
80) Whenever issuing criticism, always use the sandwich method, remember: compliment first, then criticism, then compliment;
81) Never smoke out a new client when they’re just starting, it’s going to discourage them;
Personal Development
Key Things to Remember about Personal Development:
• No trainer is too good to 
  clean up weights to make 
  sure the gym is clean on 
  their down time
• When in doubt the simpler 
  exercise is usually your   
  safer, better option
• Use free time to prospect 
  clients
• Get out of a big box gym as
  soon as you can so you can
  make your own rules
The Do’s and Don’ts of Client Management
ALWAYS:
• Practice what you preach. 
• Be positive
• Save money for vacations 
• Continually educate yourself 
• Keep in your best shape
• Be available early in the 
  morning
• Teach group classes 
• Remember that 
  encouragement and 
  enthusiasm are as 
  important as instruction
• Make sure to schedule in 
  time for your own personal 
  workout
• Give credit to another 
  trainer’s workout if you’re 
  going to blatantly plagiarize 
  their work
• Take time to help trainers 
  that have less experience 
  than you 

 NEVER:
• Make up workouts as you go
• Criticize a trainers technique in front of their client
Sales
Key Things to Remember about Sales:
• If you want to improve your 
  ability to sell personal 
  training, a good resource is 
  Zig Ziglar's "5 Steps to 
  successful selling"
The Do’s and Don’ts of Sales
ALWAYS:
• Go over sales terms clearly
• Make sure the sales staff
  doesn't screw over your 
  client 
• Assume the sale
• Get cool with the sales staff 
  for referrals
• Ask for referrals
• Make friends with physical 
  therapists. 
Offer semi-private and 
  small group training
• Hand your client off to 
  another trainer if you know 
  you are selling them a 
  package that they cannot 
  train

NEVER:
• Show desperation for a sale
• Let rejection get to you or 
  deter you from your next 
  sale. It will happen a lot in 
  personal training 
• Assume your client’s ability 
  to afford personal training 
  based on items like their 
  jewelry or car
SALES SUMMARY
Sales is an essential part of being an entrepreneur and if you can master it, you are one step closer to being a success. 


29) Never show desperation for a sale;
30) Speak slowly when going over contract terms with your client;
31) If you know that your gym has slightly underhanded ways of selling personal training, always let your client know exactly what to ask for and exactly what they’re getting, because if they’re unhappy with their contract, you’re going to be the one stuck with an unhappy client;
32) Always assume the sale;
33) Box Gym Trainers: Get cool with the sale staff, front desk staff, and group fitness trainers they are going to be the ones that can feed you clients when you can’t get them on your own;
34) Rejection happens a lot in personal training. Don’t let it get to you, and don’t let it deter your from your next sale;
35) Always ask for referrals;
36) If you want to improve your ability to sell personal training, listen to Zig Ziglar's "5 Steps to successful selling"
37) Make friends with physical therapists, they have a lot of qualified leads for you coming off of their therapy;
38) If you’re selling a package to a client that you know you can’t train, hand them off to another trainer, it’ll come back to you;
39) Never assume that based on the kind of jewelry that a client wears, or the kind of car that they drive that a person can or cannot afford personal training;
40) Learn how to leverage your time and make more money, offer semi -private and small group training:

Professionalism
Professionalism is key to not only showing that you are skilled in the world of fitness, but let’s those around you know that you treat this as a business. Following these rules will show your peers that you take this seriously. Your clients come to you to help them make major life changes. Showing your clients that you are serious about helping them will not only boost their confidence in your ability to help them, but also remind them that you are worth every penny they pay you. 

Key Things to Remember about professionalism: 

• Be a fitness professional because you love fitness, not because you think it is easy money
• Systemize everything. Successful businesses run off of plans and programs, not chaos
• Set up a Google Voice Number. With Google Voice, phone calls still go to your phone, but you     
   can manage when and where you wish your clients to contact you 
• Make yourself easy to find with professional social media accounts 
The Do’s and Don’ts of Professionalism: 
ALWAYS
• Be on time 
• Confirm the appointment the night before 
• Leave your personal problems at home 
• Ignore all distractions while training your client 
• Do follow up measurements to keep your clients informed and motivated• Keep exercise logs to show your clients they are progressing 
• Be open to helping somebody with improper form even if you don’t think they will want to sign up for personal training 
• Be willing to lend a helping hand to the gym, even if it’s for free 
• Make a plan for your client. Clients like to know that they’re not just doing random workouts, and they’re actually working toward a specific goal 
• Make sure your workout space is in order because presentation is everything 
 • Cut your Fitness Director some slack. Their job is harder than it looks• Have an alternate plan in case somebody’s using a machine that you planned to use 
• Learn the ins and outs of marketing and selling as well as training because you are an entrepreneur 
• Purchase Personal Training Insurance because it is too cheap to not have• Take advice from other trainers 
• Learn to be organized. A good resource is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey 
• Read books on more than just training. Read books on Sales, Business Management, and dealing with people 
• Take time to help trainers that have less experience than you 
• Take advantage of the tax benefits for self-employed personal trainers such as purchasing equipment, exercise apparel, and sneakers 

NEVER
• Show up to work hungover 
• Answer your phone during a session 
• Use your position to inappropriately touch, look at, or talk to a gym patron 
• Mix business with pleasure 
• Train a client without having them first sign a waiver 
Client Management
We are all human. Your clients often come to you when they are most vulnerable. It takes skill to be able to manage and build a relationship that requires so much trust and respect. Understanding how to properly manage the relationship you have with your client is paramount to building and maintaining that trust and respect. 

These rules will help you navigate the potential difficulties.

Key Things to Remember about client management: 
• Clients have a skewed view about fitness. They think they need to be perfect 100% of the time  
  and if you’re the type of person that has a cheat meal every once in a while, let your client know  
  about it. Let them know how you recover and how you get back on track so that they can do the  
  same thing and not feel discouraged when they slip up
• Learn to talk to anyone. Read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People"
• If you’re going to be working out with your client, do it on your time not on their time
• Use stress relievers like boxing and or yoga
• Every client should feel that they are your top priority
The Do’s and Don’ts of Client Management: 
ALWAYS
• Have more energy than your client• Forgive your client if they are late once in a  
  while. Occasionally people are late, including you. Acknowledge it and move on
• Discontinue or move away from an exercise if your client is emotionally  
  uncomfortable with it. They have a personal reason for it. Don’t argue 
• Spend at least as much time correcting nutritional habits as you do correcting  
  form. A great tool is MyFitnessPal to monitor your clients
• Be so verbally thorough and descriptive in explaining your exercises that a blind  
  person could grasp the concept of what you expect them to do
• Take fitness beyond the gym with events like 5K’s, mud runs, and sports outings
• Let your personality shine through in your training. Personality matters 
• Compliment your client. A genuine compliment goes a very long way
• Ask your clients for feedback
• Make your clients journal their food
• Do your best to cater your training environment to your clients’ likes
• Remember the Jillian Michaels routine does not work for many people, and not a  
   lot of clients respond favorably to it. If that’s not your style don’t try to fake it
• Encourage your clients to get periodic blood work so they can check their risk for  
  metabolic disease
• Use the word "we" when discussing goals such as “we have to clean up our eating” 
   or “we have to be more disciplined”
• Build community among your clients. It may not be a bad idea in case you need to 
   put two clients together and train two for one
• Hold fat loss contests
• Let your clients in on your goals. They can benefit from seeing how you approach a 
   challenge for yourself
• Take time to tell your clients that you appreciate them
• Be honest with your clients. If you notice a change, either good or bad, let them 
   know
• Remember they’re clients not test dummies
• Be a trainer, not a therapist
• Use the sandwich method when issuing criticism. Compliment first, then criticism, 
   then compliment

NEVER
• Sit if your client is standing
• Allow a client to disrespect you• Use complicated trainer jargon. Clients don’t study 
  it, clients don’t understand it, it’s not going to help them
• Push supplements onto your clients if you don't believe in them• Make promises 
   that you can’t keep
• Give all of your time away for free. You can be generous with your free time while 
   still maintaining professional boundaries 
• Say “You’re doing it wrong” if you approach someone you do not know to help 
   them with their form. Instead start off with “Can I offer you some advice” 
• Make a paying client wait because you’re trying to close a sale on a possible new  
  client
• Punish poor eating habits with hard workouts. Instead, take the time to educate  
  your client on how they can make better decisions
• Be afraid to suspend your client for a while if they refuse to adhere to the   
  demands of your training regimen. A week suspension is usually good to show you  
  are serious 
 • Be afraid to give a free session to your clients once in a while
• Walk away from a client
• Book your sessions in so tightly that you have to rush clients in and out of session. 
   You don’t want them to feel the way that you would feel when you are sitting in a 
   doctor’s office
• Smoke out a new client when they’re just starting. It will discourage them
Personal Development
You are in the business of helping your clients transform their lives. You teach them and encourage them to develop and reach their goals every day. While it is important to help your clients reach their goals and better themselves, your own personal growth and development is just as important. The better you become, the more you develop, and the more you learn, the better you will be at helping your clients. A better you is a better experience for your clients. 

These rules will help you navigate the potential difficulties.

Key Things to Remember about Personal Development: 
• No trainer is too good to clean up weights to make sure the gym is clean on their down time
• When in doubt the simpler exercise is usually your safer, better option
• As a Gym trainer, if you spend more time on the floor working out yourself than making money 
  and getting clients, you need to work on your priorities
• It’s not the most glamorous, it’s not the most lucrative, but starting in a big box gym may give    
  you your best experiences, in terms of the business end, as well as the training end into your 
  personal training career 
The Do’s and Don’ts of Personal Development: 
ALWAYS
• Practice what you preach. 
• Be positive
• Save money for vacations or personal time off. In the personal training industry, 
  you only get paid when you train
• Continually educate yourself 
• Make every effort possible to look the part of the personal trainer
• Be available early in the morning
• Be opened to teaching some group exercise classes to get some notoriety in the 
  gym
• Remember the beginning of your career is going to be the hardest
• Have a specialty in your training but be familiar with a broad span of training 
   methods
• Remember that encouragement and enthusiasm are as important as instruction
• Make sure to schedule in time for your own personal workout
• Give credit to another trainer’s workout if you’re going to blatantly plagiarize their 
   work
• Take time to help trainers that have less experience than you

NEVER
• Be afraid to keep your clients on the machines until you feel comfortable with  
   instruction if you are relatively new to personal training and working in the gym. 
   Once you are comfortable, you can take them out into an open area for more 
   complex exercises. Safety over fancy 
• Go up to another personal trainer while they are training their client and criticize 
   the way that they’re training. If their client is in a lot of danger, pull them to the   
   side and then tell them. Try to wait until after the session. If you criticize them in 
   front of their client they will hate you for life, I promise you that 
Sales
You may have the technical knowledge to know the difference between triceps and biceps, but to be a successful Personal Trainer, you also need to understand how to sell your knowledge and experience to your client in a manner that keeps them interested and engaged in what you have to offer. 

Key Things to Remember about sales: 

• If you want to improve your ability to sell personal training, a good resource is Zig Ziglar's "5 Steps to successful selling"
The Do’s and Don’ts of Sales: 
ALWAYS
• Speak slowly when going over contract terms with your client
• Let your client know exactly what to ask for and exactly what they are getting if you   know your gym has a slightly underhanded way of selling personal training. If your     client is unhappy with their contract, you will be the one stuck with an unhappy   
  customer 
• Assume the sale
• Get cool with the sales staff, front desk staff, and group fitness trainers if you are at    a Box Gym. They are going to be the ones that can feed you clients when you can’t      get them on your own
• Ask for referrals
 Make friends with physical therapists. They have a lot of qualified leads for you     
   coming off of their therapy 
• Learn how to leverage your time and make more money by offering semi-private    
  and small group training 
• Hand your client off to another trainer if you know you   
  are selling them a package that they cannot train 

NEVER
• Show desperation for a sale
• Let rejection get to you or deter you from your next sale. It will happen a lot in   
  personal training 
• Assume your client’s ability to afford personal training based on items like their    
   jewelry or car
Rule #100
Always Keep Learning
The longer I'm in this industry, the more I realize how  important it is to continually grow. Luckily for you, you don't have to hunt for the knowledge that will make you better.