We all know the importance of variety in our lives, whether it is in the foods we choose to eat, the activities we choose to take part in or the tasks we do for work. Variety keeps us engaged, focused and on track to succeed.
It’s only natural to assume therefore that in order for our clients to succeed, the training we provide must include a variety of training methods, techniques and varying equipment to ensure that they are not only achieving their own health and fitness goals, but also enjoying their workouts.
As a personal trainer working in this industry, I found one of the easiest parts of the job was gaining new clients. I was lucky enough to be blessed with the ability to talk to almost anyone – so meeting and interacting with new clients felt second nature to me. It was this ability that allowed me to pick up new clients quickly and I soon had a thriving business of clients on 12 week contracts training two to three times a week.
I very quickly discovered that my programs were becoming boring and repetitive, more so with the clients I was seeing two to three times a week. Even though I changed the exercises I was giving them, the structure of my sessions always remained the same. I would begin with resistance exercises, move into cardio exercises and finish with core. Each and every time, with each and every client. Very soon, my clients stopped renewing contracts with me and I then had to go and source more clients. Way too much hard work!
I started speaking with the other trainers at the gym about ways in which I could engage my clients and keep them for the long term. They all came back to me with the same advice; you need to add variety to your sessions and keep progressing your clients if you want to keep them for the long haul.
Taking this advice on board, I became a woman on a mission! I enrolled into a number of continuing education courses, especially courses that involved equipment that I wasn’t familiar with and started to expand my ‘exercise library’ of knowledge.
I invested in non-conventional (although now much more conventional) equipment like Kettle Bells, Swiss Balls, Bosu’s, TRX or Olympic Rings, etc. and training with other personal trainers that were utilising these types of equipment. I started looking at the body in a different light and analysing how it functions, the day to day tasks the body needs to be able to perform effectively and how to replicate these movements utilising my new found skills. I also started reviewing the exercises I was prescribing and ways in which I could progress or regress those exercises.
I shadowed trainers that were successful in my gym and learnt the secrets of their success. I started listening to my clients and what they wanted; taking them off machines and introducing the new exercises I had learnt. I started loving my sessions, my clients started loving my sessions and I was beginning to see the results. My retention rates were increasing, my client’s feedback was amazing and they were achieving their goals. AMAZING!!
When you study to become a personal trainer you are taught about the different methods of training your clients, the importance of progressive overload, of keeping your clients engaged, focused and motivated. A skilful personal trainer needs the ability to adapt to the forever changing nature of this industry and grow with it. Variety is the most important aspect of your personal training.
If you as a trainer are getting bored with the sessions you are running with your clients, think about what your clients are feeling. They are paying good money to learn about what you know, don’t let them down with a boring and repetitive routine.
Written by Ashlee Lane, AFA VET Fitness Program Coordinator