On the Job Tips for New Athletic or Personal Trainers

Tips-for-Personal-TrainersPeople entering the Sports Medicine or Fitness industry as new Athletic Trainers or Personal Trainers will likely have a solid educational foundation to pull from as they start their career. Still it’s natural to experience some uncertainty when it comes to getting started and working with clients.

Whether you’re just entering the health and fitness field ,or you’ve taken a hiatus and could use a refresher these tips will help. You can also use them to advise your staff and new hires on best practices.

Focus on Their Goals. Sounds simple, right? In theory this advice is common sense. But all too often we get so wrapped up in our own plans for clients and overlook what they’re really after.

Program plans should not be one size fits all. While there may be strategies you employ across the board treat individuals as individuals. As you gain experience it makes sense to draw on what you’ve learned. However, taking shortcuts by using the same program design across the board is not the way to go. The desire to feel special is human nature! Make sure your clients know that their program is customized for them and their goals.

Follow Up. It’s important to be engaged during practices and sessions but it’s also in your best interest to communicate when you aren’t face to face. A simple call or text to see how your athlete is feeling about the big game coming up, or how your client is faring sticking to their meal plan this week go a long way. Taking the time to let your clients know you are thinking about them and their progress will help position you as someone they want in their arsenal for the long-haul. A good rule of thumb is to communicate at least once outside of the gym or practice facility per every session.

Quantify Results. During your initial session with a new client be sure to set measurable goals. These will likely vary greatly. One client may want to take minutes of  their running mileage. Another might be focused on losing inches from their waist. No matter the goal it should be written down from the get-go and quantified with numbers.

Understand Nutrition.  Almost all fitness and wellness degrees or certification programs include the study of nutrition. Letting your clients know how important this part of the puzzle is to their goals is imperative. Say, you work out a football player 5 times a week focusing on conditioning and speed, but he also needs to gain muscle mass in order to reach goals. He isn’t going to get there without the right diet. Neither is a client who wants to lose weight. Provide suggestions and guidance to help your clients.  Discuss daily requirements of the major macronutrients – protein, carbs and fat – specific to their body’s needs. However, unless you are a Registered Dietician it’s unethical to create a specific, detailed diet for anyone. Tread this line carefully.

Celebrate Little Victories.  It’s your job to pat your clients on the back during their journey. You aren’t a cheerleader, but part of a trainer’s role is encouragement. Don’t wait until your clients have reached their big goals! Part of what motivates people is taking time to recognize little victories as they progress towards objectives.


Beth Funari is a Sports Performance and Personal Trainer with a passion for helping people meet their goals and feel their personal best. She enjoys creating delicious & healthy recipes, designing quick & effective workouts for her busy clients, reading in bed and traveling with her husband.