PERSONAL TRAINING: Important tips for successful training and Athlete Development programs.
What makes a good Personal Fitness and Sports Performance Trainer? What is a successful training program? How do you get a client, athletes and parents to buy into your programs?
The health and fitness industry is continuing to grow, it is ranked as one of the top 10 fields in which more and more professionals are seeking opportunities to gain certifications and licenses. Health care, wellness programs, mental and emotional stability through alternative methods like yoga, massage therapy and meditation are popular in our society right now and because of this popularity and the stressful lives many are living, people look for "top trainers" and facilities to join in order to keep up with their busy schedules and to ease some of the tension that the demands of life cause on a daily basis. Celebrities, collegiate and professional athletes are also looking for the best trainers and current trends in the industry so that they can continue to compete at the highest levels and maximize their talents. In many areas Nationwide cities are saturated with "trainers" all of whom claim to be the best of the best of the best!!! What are the qualities that you look for when searching for a "top trainer?" Is it one who has a well known Brand attached to them? or one who can name drop professional athletes that they have worked with? What do you look for in a training program? Does cost play a factor?
I am often asked why I chose such a competitive industry and my answer is always the same, "it's my passion."
I am an athlete and have played sports basically all of my life. I had an ACL injury early in my career and had the pleasure of working with one of the best physical therapists in West Texas out of Texas Tech University. She motivated me to work my behind off to get back on the court but not only that, she opened my mind to the possibilities of sports medicine. At the time I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life besides play sports, didn't have a back-up plan for after sports. I just knew I loved to play and I absolutely loved to train! She inspired me to look into Biology and Kinesiology and research careers and degrees. The one thing I knew is that I didn't want to lose my connection to sports!!! I felt I would lose my identity if I did. Voila! perfect for me.I went to college and majored in Biology and the journey took off from there. I played basketball, received my degree and started working camps at my University during the Summer. My physical therapist was that spark for me, that mark of inspiration that I will never forget. Through that fire in me I decided to get licensed to train and help clients in their rehabilitation. Training athletes and assisting them in preparation for their sport is something that I without a doubt love!! I love it! In this blog I would like to give some tips that I believe are important in training clients and building effective programs.
We all know the basics of training and have the knowledge of programming, overload, volume, progressions and regressions and etc.... but I think the most important thing needed is a story that through it cultivates a passion, a love for what you do. Whats your testimony that will be a spark in people around you to dream and pursue goals? My physical therapist ignited in me the fire to find a way to stay connected to what I already loved! SPORTS.
So no.1 you have to have a passion for it. Know what your goals are and what you want to achieve, what you want to specialize in and let it drive you and push you to want to become the best.
#2 I believe you need a philosophy. This has to come from your experiences and your belief system because you want your clients to feel it and understand it and lastly buy into it.
#3 I think having a good mentor is valuable. Someone who you trust, respect, and allow to groom you and prepare you for your career; we all need some grooming for our professions. Everyone's journey is different but there is always a teacher waiting on you when you're ready to pursue your life's mission.
#4 you have to be able to connect with people. Remember you're not training muscles, you're training people. You have to get to know them so that you can develop a program that fits their bodies and capabilities. I always take time to get to know my clients and their bodies, I listen to them, I evaluate and have assessments for them so that I can learn who they are as individuals and what their goals are in life and they're experiences. I let them know that I really do care about them and believe in them, I become a part of their support system that helps to motivate them and that gives me their permission to push them. Also know that you're not a good fit for all people that come your way! Its Ok to say NO! If there's no compatibility between the trainer and the trainee you are on the road to destruction and will waste time, energy, and money.
#5 you must be consistent and organized. Have a solid system in place and be prepared for each session, no guessing.
#6 is definitely patience! Some people need to be pushed and some are self motivators and just need guidance. Don't be results driven, remember they're people. Just because you can do 1000 push-ups doesn't mean your clients should be able to..
#7 Be creative and fun. In our boot-camp classes we have team contests and they love it!!!! we're all a bunch of big kids at heart.
#8 Start at the pace that allows you to grow, meaning get good at training one person first before filling your space with 20. Perfect your teaching style and managerial ability.
#9 Never stop learning about the industry, newest equipment, new training techniques and styles... Take classes, go to seminars, stay engaged in the field and keep growing. I have met some of the most influential people in the training industry through attending conferences, and clinics. Network around the world, step out of your comfort zone and expand your knowledge. I recently read a great book, "The Talent Code", and this is definitely a good read for trainers and coaches. It gives good information for a new perspective on training talent and creating hotbeds...
#10 Know your legal rights and restraints as a trainer and have proper paperwork in place at all times, be professional in every area. If you're not a licensed nutritionist then don't act as one, lead them to individuals who are qualified in that area. Know your limits.
#11 Injury prevention!!! the goal of any program is performance enhancement and the best way to get clients to be driven to your program is to educate them about the body and teach them about how to protect it and take care of it. Programming isn't always easy but once you have the essential elements and understand how it works for the clients you are training it becomes easier. I believe training programs should consist of the following: a dynamic warm-up, restoration of proximal stability, proprioceptive training, plyometric training, neuromuscular re-education, strength training, and education. Its important to provide a solid, systematic evaluative and progressive program addressing each individual's deficiencies. When I first started training athletes I would push push push and wonder why some of them weren't excelling like I thought they should. Why is she strong in her movements on the right side but not on the left, why is he dragging his leg when you runs and his knee drive is slow. It took me attendin