The title of the article may seem confusing and even appalling to most. It may lead you to question my sanity after 11 years as a personal trainer. "How does he not know what our jobs are?" Just hold on for a minute. For years I have had this approach when it came to clients, focus on more than fitness and nutrition.

See I believe fitness is a vehicle that we use to improve people. They come to us with fitness related goals but most of those goals all fall down to improving who they are. They are deeper than fitness. They impact every aspect of their lives. So, if it deeper than fitness why do we not concentrate on more than fitness? The approach is simple, the delivery can be the hard part. Here are three concentration points for developing something more than just fitness:

1. Relationships - We are in the relationship business much more than the fitness business. Our relationships with our clients are our greatest life line. Without those relationships we have nothing. Make it a focus to concentrate on the client as a person, ask questions, remember birthdays and anniversaries and most importantly listen to them.

2. Communicate - A continuation from number 1 but a vital component is open communication. Ask questions about their nutrition and workouts on their own but above and beyond focus on them as a person. You can become sought after as a trainer just by having people like you. Having dialogue between you and your client in a session and out of session is crucial to getting them to like you. Texts, emails, and calling them all establish communication between two parties. In this age of instant communication and social media, people will appreciate the time you take to ask about them.

3. Build a Village - Introduce your clients to each other, especially if they train in small groups or bootcamps. The more people your clients know the more at home they will feel. Develop client mixers or client only bootcamps to introduce and share stories. This creates a community and goes above beyond fitness.

It's pretty simple to see, when you take a step back, that we do so much more than improve fitness levels and reduce client's body fat. In fact, I would be willing to say the majority of our work is improving who our clients are; making them better people with more confidence and self-esteem and building ever lasting relationships. This is truly what being a personal trainer is all about.

Josh 'JB' Bowen, BS, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D is the former Quality Control Director of Personal Training for Urban Active Fitness and is currently a personal trainer for Fitness Plus II in Lexington, KY and a consultant and National Fitness Director for Compel Fitness.


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