Avoid the Rut: How Personal Trainers Can Stay In Great Shape And Get More Clients
An article for personal trainers and fitness pros who want to regain their health and fitness, maintain their best body, get more clients, and build a better business.
If you’re a trainer or coach in the fitness industry, you already know what it takes to get and stay in shape. After all, that’s what you do for a living. But there are a lot of trainers out there — us included — who have occasionally let their own workouts and nutrition slip. In giving so much attention to their clients and their business, they’ve neglected themselves. They realize they’re not living the “fitness lifestyle” others think they are. And the body they worked so hard to get? It still looks better than average. But it’s not quite where it used to be. Even if it sounds a little weird, it’s not uncommon for smart, talented trainers to get a little out of shape from time to time. In this article we’ll discuss why. We’ll also go on to share some tips for reclaiming their health and rebuilding their best body. All the while getting more clients and making their business more successful.
Why Personal Trainers Should Read This
If you’re a trainer or coach in the fitness industry, you already know what it takes to get and stay in shape. After all, that’s what you do for a living.
But there are a lot of trainers out there — us included — who have occasionally let their own workouts and nutrition slip. In giving so much attention to their clients and their business, they’ve neglected themselves.
They realize they’re not living the “fitness lifestyle” others think they are. And the body they worked so hard to get? It still looks better than average. But it’s not quite where it used to be.
Even if it sounds a little weird, it’s not uncommon for smart, talented trainers to get a little out of shape from time to time. In this article we’ll discuss why.
We’ll also go on to share some tips for reclaiming their health and rebuilding their best body. All the while getting more clients and making their business more successful.
The Gradual Decline Of My Body And Business
That’s me on the left…and me on the right.
Let’s talk about the photo on the left for a minute. Give it a good look. It was taken nearly 2 years ago.
The guy in that photo was a personal trainer and coach who had been working in the fitness industry for nearly 10 years.
He was a former NCAA All-American Athlete who had once experienced the heights of peak physical performance. But in the photo, he was a shadow of his former self.
And even though he was fit and healthy by “average people standards”, he was embarrassed about the way he looked. You can tell just by looking at his face.
He doesn’t look too happy does he?
Why I Felt Trapped There (And Nearly Gave Up)
After 10 years of pulling crazy hours at the gym to help my clients get in better shape I realized I had grossly neglected my own needs.
I had spent so much of my time and energy focused on helping others that there wasn’t anything left for me.
It got to the point where I was nearly burned out. On working out and eating well. On caring about body composition. I was even sick of simply being in the gym.
Sure, I’d still try to eat healthy and do the bare minimum workouts. But I just didn’t care as much any more. I skipped too many workouts. And when I did go, I wasn’t really pushing myself. I knew what to do, but my motivation had dried up.
I hate to admit this, but I even got close to quitting the fitness industry altogether and giving up on the career I had committed my life to.
The Truth: Thousands Of Trainers Feel Like This
Back then I felt like I was the only personal trainer who had ever felt this way.
Now I realize I was feeling sorry for myself. As a coach in the S2B Coaching Program, I hear from personal trainers, chiropractors, coaches, and other fitness professionals every day. And for many of them, before joining S2B, they were going through the exact same thing.
They’d built up a business in the fitness industry but had hit a professional and personal rut. This rut made them look worse than they had in years, and feel unmotivated, embarrassed, even a little ashamed.
What amazes me the most is the quality of these guys: they’re otherwise successful and healthy. But they were struggling with the same questions I had two years ago. Stuff like:
“Is this it? Is this how my life is going to be?”
“I can’t believe I let myself get to this point.”
“Is this what I have to look forward to from now on?”
“What should I do next?”
These trainers needed to break out of their rut and achieve the growth and success they knew they were capable of. Their body and their business depended on it.
But like me, they needed to experience two things:
1. The gradual decline of their own health and fitness.
Missing workouts; wanting to get out of the gym as soon as possible; not getting enough sleep; skipping meals and being nutritionally unprepared for the day.
2. Feelings of discouragement about the future of their business.
Not getting great results with clients; working long and weird hours; questioning if it’s what they want to do for the rest of their life.
From Rock Bottom To Bouncing Back – How I Got Back On Track
For a while I was on autopilot. I showed up to the gym, trained my clients, and went home. It was a boring routine, and I was starting to feel a little hypocritical.
Sure, I looked fit and healthy from my clients’ perspective. But I knew the truth: helping people get in shape had become a job, and I was doing the equivalent of showing up to an office and checking Facebook all day.
I wasn’t helping my clients as much as I could have. And I certainly wasn’t helping myself.
But then, 2 years ago, a question popped into my head that demanded an answer:
“What kinds of things were happening in my life when I looked and felt my absolute best?”
I struggled with that question all morning.
So I cancelled my afternoon clients, sat down with a pen and paper, and brainstormed.
And three important things emerged:
Body + Coaching + Competition = Health and Success
1. Body: If you take care of your body, the rest of your life will catch up.
Personally, I realized that the catalyst for growth and change in my life had always been rooted in my body. Whenever I was taking care of my own health and fitness, all other areas of my life naturally followed suit and took care of themselves.
By neglecting my physique because I was too busy dealing with clients, I was self-sabotaging other areas of my life.
2. Coaching: A coach or mentor will hold you accountable and push you to be your best.
From my wrestling coach to my college strength coach to some very influential college professors, I always loved my life when I had mentors I trusted.
Each one of my coaches provided me with guidance, words of encouragement, clear direction and, most important, accountability.
I had been missing any kind of coach or mentor for close to 10 years.
3. Competitive Team Environment: Being a part of a team fosters growth, challenge, and fulfillment.
I realized I was at my best when I was part of something more than myself.
For me, this meant being part of a team in a competitive environment. In the past, it had kept me from becoming too wrapped up in my own selfish desires. And it pushed me to accomplish great things.
What Happened Next (More Than I Ever Expected)
When I came up with my health and success formula two years ago, I had no idea where it would lead my personal fitness or my business.
As it turns out, it led to me joining the S2B Coaching Program in May 2011.
A year later, I was in the best shape of my life, I had a full load of clients who were getting awesome results, and I felt better than I had in years.
(It even led to me winning the $10,000 Grand Prize and being offered a job as a coach in the program, an offer I quickly accepted.)
But while I wanted to share my personal story with you, this isn’t about me.
Dozens of trainers have used the “health and success formula” to rebuild their bodies, improve their lives, and build better businesses. I know because I’ve helped them do just that.
Here’s how they’ve taken control over their body and life, and how you can do it too.
7 Ways Trainers Can Improve Their Body, Business, and Life
1.Remember why you’re in the fitness industry.
Of course, you’re here to help people get in shape and improve their lives. But you’re also here because you found a way to turn a hobby or passion (fitness) into a way of earning a living.
And it’ll be hard to be successful if you don’t look and feel your best.
When you’re used to waking up before the sun and seeing clients back-to-back-to-back, it’s easy to fall into a rut and forget why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Follow the Steve Jobs quote: “Look in the mirror and ask, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’”
2. Take an honest assessment of where you are.
How good do you feel about your body right now? Are you doing all the things you tell your clients to do? Are you energized and excited about your life and your job?
For me, the rest of my life felt out of whack and chaotic when I didn’t have my own health and fitness under control. I felt like a hypocrite. Here I was giving advice to clients when I wasn’t even practicing it myself.
Turning my attention inward and re-focusing on getting my body back in top shape started the snowball effect.
Start with your body, and it’ll positively affect all other areas of your life.
3. Reestablish your baseline.
You already know what to do to look and feel awesome. But when you’re busy or in a rut, it’s easy to wander away from your habits.
Start by reestablishing your baseline, the series of healthy habits that contribute to 90% of looking and feeling good.
Get enough sleep tonight (and every night). Pack a lunch so you don’t skip a meal. Hit the gym three times this week.
Start small and build up your momentum.
4. Outsource your workout program design.
Most guys I work with in S2B love the fact that they don’t have to write their own training program; we do it all for them so they can free up their time and attention to focus on other things like helping their clients or having a life outside of the gym.
Consider hiring a trainer or coach to write your program for you. You’ll likely get better results than if you wrote it yourself. (We tend to avoid the exercises we need to do the most, since they’re uncomfortable.)
You’ll also get the added benefit of learning how another respected trainer structures their programming.
5. Make yourself accountable to someone else.
You know the benefits of coaching already. After all, it’s why you’re in business. People pay you to help keep them accountable.
Find a coach to keep tabs on you and make sure you’re accountable to your workouts and nutrition habits.
Nate Green did it by hiring a local trainer. Me and dozens of guys like me did it by joining the S2B Coaching Program.
It just feels nice to reverse roles and have someone else tell you what to do for once.
6. Seek competition (with yourself and others).
Part of the reason I was able to rebuild my body and get my life back on track is because of the physique competition S2B runs. It may seem trivial, but the chance to beat out other guys and win $10,000 for getting in shape was a big motivator at first.
(And I soon learned that while it’s a competition, everyone helps each other out.)
Whatever you decide to do, find a way to introduce some friendly competition into your workouts, even if it’s just grabbing a friend to see who can do the most chin-ups.
7. Learn from other coaches and trainers.
The best way to make your business more successful is to learn what other successful trainers are doing with their clients.
What kinds of habits are they teaching? What stuff do they track? How do they interact with their clients? How do they write programs? What kind of nutrition advice do they give?
And most important, how can you translate their success into your own business?
The Bottom Line: You Can Do It
If you’re a personal trainer, you can be in awesome shape, maintain a great lifestyle, and run a successful business helping people.
I know because I did it. In fact, I still do it. And you can do it, too.
Through the S2B Coaching Program, we’ve helped pull dozens of trainers and fitness professionals back from the brink of burn-out.
If you’re game, we’d love to help you too.
But whatever you do, remember this: You can’t help others if you don’t first take care of yourself.
The S2B Team Is Hard at work
The S2B Coaching Program is currently closed as the team is in the middle of an intense research sabbatical. Click the link below to be notified when our next big project goes live.