Last fall I was bestowed a great honor by Life Fitness and was named a global finalist for their Personal Trainer to Watch competition. The ten best in our industry would go into a train off where we would show our skills to a global audience via the internet. This was a huge event for me, not only to compete but to learn from the best on the planet.

Not only did I learn but I also was very perceptive to our similarities and differences. What made us great at what we do, was not by accident, it was the repetition of very simple concepts and the concentration on very important topics that made us part of an elite group of fitness people. Here are the best practices and characteristics of some of the best fitness trainers I have been around:

1. View themselves as much more than a trainer- I love being a trainer however, by definition, we do so much more. Our value to people is much more emotional and relational than physical. We supply guidance for the clients we interact with. We help them through a transformation of their entire being. The best recognize this and wear it very well.

2. Authenticity- There are many people in our industry are here for more than just helping people. Some do not understand the value of what we do. The best are always themselves to their clients and public, their vision is clear and their actions are loud. Fitness is their passion and everyone knows it.

3. Push themselves- If you want to stand out in a crowd you must be a go-getter. The best will always push themselves further than anyone else. Whether it is speaking engagements, written articles, and new programs or just honing your current skill set, the best will always strive for better and more.

4. Never stop learning- The amount of energy and enthusiasm I felt from the other nine trainers was invigorating and infectious. All of us truly never stop learning about our craft and learning from each other. To stand out in a crowd you must be knowledgeable on your craft, learn it well and be able to communicate that passion to others. Whether it is a magazine article or a visiting a conference, the best are always knowledge hungry and will do whatever it takes to learn more and be the best.

I was a part of something special that taught me a lot about myself as a person and as a fitness professional. These habits or characteristics are what I tell new trainers would come to me to break into our business. If practice correctly and with purpose, they can make you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

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.