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How to be the best Personal Trainer

Mark Abrahams provides six principles, that if followed, will make you the best Personal Trainer in your area.

There are thousands of personal trainers in the UK all competing for clients. The low barrier to entry means that it is easy to become a qualified fitness trainer. In many cases, you can become qualified and be working on the gym floor in less than three months. Compare this to training to become a doctor, where you have to spend years in med school, and you can see why there is an abundance of personal trainers popping up in the fitness industry.

The trouble is that there are lots of personal trainers who are not doing a good job. They are injuring clients and giving out advice that may work for them (a young fit and athletic individual), but that does not work for Jayne, who is 40 years old, has two children, and has a stressful job.

Stand Out From The Crowd

If you want to be a stand-out personal trainer, and rise above all the mediocre trainers out there, please read on.

In this article, I will be sharing six principles that will make a massive difference to the results you get with your clients. In turn, you will also have a successful PT business that pays you handsomely for your efforts and allows you to lead a fulfilling professional career.

These six principles have been developed by Nick Screeton, a personal trainer in Sheffield who founded LEP Fitness in 2012. Nick is a master at his craft, completing over 10,000 x coaching sessions.

Alongside his practical experience, he has been mentored by some of the best coaches in the UK. Nick knows what it takes to be a successful coach in the fitness industry, how to get results with clients, and how to build a successful and lucrative personal training business.

Find Your Niche And Become A Master

Are you a fat loss coach, a muscle-building coach, or an athletic coach? Maybe you want to focus on helping your clients boost their fitness?

One of the biggest mistakes most personal trainers make is that they try to be the 'Jack of all trades' and end up being the master at none. Instead, pick an area that you feel the most passionate about and an area in which you are skilled, then become a master in that field.

For example, if you want to help your clients transform their body shape and get lean, you will attend specific courses to help you do this. It is also wise to learn from the best body transformation coaches in the industry by paying for their time. Many of the best coaches in the UK run weekend workshops and have books you can buy.

Constant Learning & Self Mastery

If you want to become the best coach in your area (or even your country), you must be willing to learn and become a master of your trade and yourself.

How do you do this? You have to work on your personal and professional development continuously. There are lots of ways to do this, which include:

  • Reading: books on anatomy, psychology, business, and all of the areas that will improve you and your coaching practice.
  • Listening: audiobooks and podcasts. For personal trainers, I recommend listening to the Mastery Podcast by Mark Coles.
  • Meditating: I recommend the app Calm and sometimes Headspace.
  • Self Reflection - constantly analysing and asking yourself questions such as: What am I doing well? What areas do I need to improve? What is the one thing I can do that is going to have the most significant impact on my life?
  • Attending Courses: to master your craft and get hands-on practical experience.
  • Hiring A Personal Mentor: rather than learning through trial and error, why not jump the queue and pay somebody who has already had the experience? A mentor who knows how to avoid common pitfalls and will hold you accountable? In my opinion, this is the most effective and quickest way to increase your coaching skills. Learn from the best to be the best.

Get Results

It is all well and good to be able to talk a good game and to know all of the stuff in the textbooks, but can you apply this practically?

Can you get results?

Whether that is taking a client from 100kg down to 80kg, or improving their cardio performance, flexibility, or some other specific metric...are you able to deliver results consistently?

If you said NO, then this will severely limit your confidence and the success of your training business.

Results are crucial. It is what your clients are paying you for.

You need to be able to apply the information from textbooks in a practical manner. It is essential to explain technical concepts in Layman's terms so that the client you are working with will understand.

For example, a professional 100m sprinter may want to know about fast-twitch muscle fibers, and plyometric training, however, the average person does not want to know the specifics. It is about being able to adapt your message to suit each client's needs. This will come from experience, which leads me to my next principle.

Get As Many Experiences As Possible

Textbooks are excellent and will teach you lots, and so too will attending training courses, but all the theories in the world will not make you a successful coach.

You need practical experience. Malcolm Gladwell says that to become a master of your craft, you need to complete 10,000 hours of quality practice.

For a personal trainer, to become a master, you would need to complete 10,000 x coaching sessions (presuming your coaching sessions are 1 hour in length). If you are doing 30 sessions per week x 50 weeks of the year, it will take you almost seven years to become a master.

The time to become a master will depend on how many sessions per week you are doing, and the extra studying you complete outside of your sessions. I have never experienced a personal trainer become a master in less than five years. Most trainers do not become masters because they do not put in the work, and their passion fluctuates.

Remember, to be the best personal trainer in your area, you have to do more work than all of your competing coaches.

Practice What You Preach

For success at the Olympic Games, it is necessary to provide similar conditions to those that will be in the competition and the change in altitude and time difference must be taken into account. Also, it is crucial not to change the pace to which the athlete’s body is accustomed during the preparations - these are more mental than physical pieces of training.

Every athlete needs to find a formula for how to cope with everything that competition brings with it. It is essential to build contemplation so that athletes see only themselves and what they need to do. They should give themselves positive messages so that the environment does not influence them.

Everyone’s thoughts, body, and emotions are connected – to psychology. Athletes act on all three things, and they change them. It is individual for each athlete – some get the maximum when they are nervous before the match, while others are at the peak when they are completely calm, “zen”, before the match.

Understand Psychology

Now you do not have to become Sigmund Freud or Carl Jung, but you do need to have a basic level of understanding of psychology to be an excellent personal trainer.

Mindset is key to all transformation, whether that is helping your clients shed weight, build muscle, compete for an event, stick to their diet, etc. Unless you get their mind in the right place, they will fail.

You have to understand your client's mindset and psychological make-up and know ways to help them improve.

Studying psychology is not an overnight thing. You cannot read a single book and become a have to learn by reading, listening, and applying.

Here are ten book recommendations that will help you improve your knowledge of the mind and therefore help you get better results with both your clients and yourself as a coach:

  • Mindset - Carol Dweck
  • The Chimp Paradox - Dr. Steve Peters
  • Think & Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill
  • The Values Factor - Dr. John Martini
  • Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink
  • How To Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie
  • The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey
  • Relentless - Tim Grover
  • Awaken The Giant Within - Tony Robbins
  • Who Moved My Cheese - Dr. Spencer Johnson

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • ABRAHAMS, M. (2020) How to be the best Personal Trainer [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Mark Abrahams is the founder of LEP, a business that helps everyday people to get into the best shape of their lives, thriving both mentally and physically.

Personal trainer Sheffield LEP Fitness