I had a couple of really neat things happen this week at work.

We had a client named "Jim" that did incredible things with us a couple of years ago. He is a 47-year -old business owner who is very busy and raising a son as a single parent. When Jim came to us, he was stressed out, overweight and fed up with the condition that he was in. He is a serious, driven person that works well with a plan and he got serious about his fitness. While his conditioning improved tremendously, his waist never got smaller and he didn't lose much weight... until he learned how to implement the eating plan that we helped him to develop. He then lost five inches from his waist and set his sights on his next goal of completing an 80km off-road bike race. We helped him to develop a plan that had him peak at the time of the race. He took to it wholeheartedly and successfully completed the event.

Next up for Jim was a mini-triathlon. By now you get the idea that Jim is a goal-driven person who likes to overcome challenges! As his trainer, it's always great fun to study, plan and implement the fitness plan for whatever he comes up with. What came next, however, wasn't fun and was completely unexpected. While training for the triathlon, Jim went home one night and felt sick. He got up during the night and had a heart attack! Fit and healthy, he had a blocked artery that caused the attack.

After not seeing Jim for about 10 months, this week he walked through our door ready for his next "challenge" of getting healthy again. Oh, and he's also sailing in Australia in December!

This morning, another gentleman walked into our studio and reminded me that I had helped him with a program for high blood pressure 14 years ago! He's got a new challenge in his life and wants us to help him out again with regular workouts. He is now vegan, overweight and has low energy.

While I think that it is important to find your strength and develop a niche for your personal training business, it is REALLY exciting when you can evolve and meet the needs of your clients. This is what makes them "clients" as opposed to "customers." In Jim's case, we helped him to feel better, to lose weight, to conquer an athletic challenge and, ultimately, to recover from a heart attack.

I'm not suggesting that anyone work outside of their scope of practice, or even outside of their comfort zone. I am suggesting that you can find great reward and satisfaction by pushing your limits... just a bit. Continue to learn, network with other pros, develop relationships with physician, nutritionists etc. Attend conferences, learn by correspondence and earn new specialty certificates. As the needs of your clients evolve, you should evolve with them. You will have happy clients for life, and you will look at your career in a whole new way.

Ernie Schramayr is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and the owner of All Canadian Fitness, a private training studio in Hamilton, Ontario (www.allcanadianfitness.com).

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