Functional Training Zones

Do Your Job...Better!

10 Ways to Add LIFE to Your Client & Your Career

By Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS

Nothing bothers me more than poor body language during a training session. Drinking or eating during a session, sitting down while someone is doing floor work, crossing your arms when a client is grunting through his/her last few reps of a grueling workout, or just not having the positive energy to deliver an experience that is memorable. These things make me sick to my stomach.

The more trainers that I speak with around the country and the more business managers and owners I speak with, the more I realize we have a problem in this field with some trainers that just don't "bring it" every day. Here is the deal: If you aren't bringing it every day, do yourself a favor, do your clients a favor, and do your business a favor, try a different business.

Right now, our country faces one of the greatest challenges we've seen in a long-time. We're experiencing a depressed economy, foreclosures, bankruptcies, lay-offs, and a ton of trickle-down stress that can negatively affect relationships, mental health, and physical health. There is so much negativity out there that it can be downright depressing.

Do not let this be you and do not let it affect you! We need to step up our game and YOU be the one that is a "game changer." In the name of this industry, we all need to feed off each other and be a beacon of light that infiltrates energy, positive attitudes, and a "Can Do" belief that anything is possible to our clients and our teammates.

Walt Disney says, "Everything speaks." What you wear, what you say, your body language, your energy, your session, the music, the cleanliness, the colors, the smell, the service, and the experience that you deliver all tell a story. What is your story? What area(s) can you improve on to keep bringing IT every day?

My friends, training is not just a job—it's a calling. If training is just a job that you show up for and count your hours and your pay-check, you are definitely in the wrong field. As passionate, motivated trainers that are looking to get to the next level, here is what we need to do our job…and do it BETTER:

Work harder. Sorry, there are no short-cuts to success. If you want to be a great trainer, it's probably going to be harder than you think. Attending conferences, constantly reading, always learning, and doing things way beyond the hours you are being paid are all the price you pay to be a standout.

Be enthusiastic. John Wooden says that if you want to be successful, you must be "hard-working and enthusiastic." This starts with a friendly greeting when the client walks in the door, keeping your energy up during the day, being engaged with your clients at all times, being an attentive listener, making your clients smile, and simply being excited about even just small accomplishments your clients achieve.

Deliver great customer service skills. Trainers, we need to step it up here. You can be a great trainer, but if you are not sound with your customer service, you will be stuck in constant mediocrity. Calling people by their names, answering the phone by the 3rd ring, stopping and sincerely thanking your clients, writing them notes, or sending them occasional gifts or tokens of appreciation goes such a long way. I was recently at a Thomas Plummer event and he said something fantastic: "Welcome to my house, these are my guests, I expect you to treat them with respect and to dress for them professionally." He went on to say, "If you don't abide by this, you should be fired. While employees may be replaceable, guests are NOT!"

Thank your clients. I will say it again. Be sure to thank your clients and let them know you appreciate their business. Your clients are very savvy how and where they spend their money and they choose to spend it with you. What are you doing to keep them from going somewhere else?

Dress to impress. Do you dress professionally? Are your shoes clean? Are you nicely groomed? Do you look like the true professional that you really are?

Body Language that speaks. Are you in the game? Do you lean in when speaking? Do you lean in when listening? Are your eyes ALWAYS on your clients? There is NOTHING more important than your client when you are with them. Show it!!!!!!!!

Do something…for someone else. Try being a "servant" everyday. Be a servant to your clients, to your employees, and to your employers. When you come to the game with an attitude to give and to serve, it pays big dividends.

Embrace criticism. That's right. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Ask your clients what you can do to better assist them; ask your boss how you can do a better job as an employee; ask your employees what you can do to be a better boss. Either way, embrace the feedback and be open and willing to improve based on what you hear.

Bring the ENERGY. This is what it's all about. Everything you do creates an energy. People come to you or your business for the energy you provide. I liken it to a light-house. If your "light" shines bright, many ships will sail towards you. If you are dark, quiet, and "a-drift", no one will ever find you. Light it up and shine bright!

If you want more money…work harder. Why is it that people feel "entitled" today? Whether it be clients, employers, or employees, people often feel "entitled" to more money, more success, more this or more that. I don't get it. Nothing replaces hard-work, going above and beyond, and creating your own success. It's the extra work, the extra effort, and the "And Then Some" attitude that will ultimately lead you to greater compensation opportunities. But the bottom line is that you must work for it. The attitude should not be "I expect more money and then I will work harder." It should be, "I will work harder and then I can expect more opportunities to earn money."

Create the experience. I love this statement for training businesses, "We are the best part of your day every day!" If you do the little things it takes to be successful and really focus on creating a great experience, success will be created.

I can promise you this, if you can do these aforementioned items (10 items + 1 extra!), you WILL create more success as a trainer. This will result in better results for your clients, your business will improve, and the overall experience for your clients will improve.

At Fitness Quest 10, I always say to our staff that we need to be an "island in a sea of depression." What I mean by this is that I want our clients to know that they can always come to us for a consistent experience that delivers a positive energy, a great session, and a home away from home. I want our business to be the "best part of your day every day."

What is it that you want? If you continue to focus on getting 1% better every day in all that you do, pretty soon, you will be not only a darned good trainer, you will be a great business and you will create profound results and experiences.



Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is a personal trainer & massage therapist who motivates, educates, and inspires people world-wide. He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, and nutrition to help transform people's bodies, minds, and spirits. Todd trains dozens of NFL & MLB baseball athletes and provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences world-wide. Additionally, Todd is the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council. He has appeared on 60 Minutes and been featured in Sports Illustrated, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Self, Shape, and the NY Times and Washington Post. You can sign up for his FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, the "TD TIMES", at FitnessQuest10.com or ToddDurkin.com.