Have you ever thought about the significance of a mission statement, your personal representation for your existence as a professional? By knowing and understanding your own or your teams mission statement, you can portray that statement in your actions. What would a mission statement for us as fitness professionals look like? Within the text of a mission statement, Im sure you would find many different concepts on training techniques, styles or workout intensity, but lets go deeper than that. What would it say about you as an individual and your personal role as fitness professional?

The public perceives that we have real authority as professionals and with increased influence comes increased responsibility. Whether you work for a company or have started your own training business, remember that youre a representative of the company name on your shirt. On an even bigger scale, youre a representative of our industry.

Its important to remember, as trainers, people are always watching and listening to us. Imagine that you have been training a client for several months. Its likely your client has raved to her friends about how great you are and how much you have helped her. Then imagine the disappointment they would feel if they were to see you in a moment of weak moral standards, perhaps drinking and eating in excess or acting unprofessionally in public. Think about the client who cuts and pennies just so he can have the opportunity to train with you. Think about the person who comes to you because youre the only glimpse of anything positive she sees all day. You must develop real integrity and honesty to remain a respected professional.

I tell you these things not to discourage you from having fun or to condemn you but to bring awareness to the significance of your influence. As a mentor of mine once said, Live life as if youre living in a fish bowl where everyone can see you. Be the same person inside and outside the gym. Youre an ambassador of our industry. A lack of integrity can cost you income, relationships, respect, a job, your career, and the outcomes could possibly be far worse.

            By now in your professional life, you have surely experienced tests to your honesty and integrity. In my own experience, I can recall multiple scenarios. In the following sections, I have compiled a list of possible situations you may have already experienced or in which you may find yourself. I have also included simple, yet effective, techniques to combat such dealings.


What do you do when a client offers to pay you on the side or suggests you train at their home?

A suggestion like this may stir the imagination into thinking about possibilities of what you could do with this extra income. If you think like this, you have just made your first mistake. When the suggestion is made, you know it is wrong, so it must stop at that. The problem comes when you play the possibilities out with pleasure in your mind. A desire seeks to become reality. You start to figure out a way to make this work and how to justify your plan, along the way forgetting that this is, in reality, stealing and this kind of act can cost you your job or worse. Kindly tell your client that this is not appropriate, and remind yourself how blessed you are to have an amazing opportunity to work in this industry. You wouldnt do any thing to jeopardize that.


What do you do if a client is making advances toward you?

Avoidance or resolution to this problem starts with your approach as a person of integrity and honesty. Know who you are, and show that you have personal and professional integrity. If youre focused on being professional, honest and in this business for the true betterment of people, you will not allow this sort of thing to take place. In the practical sense, avoid inappropriate conversation, flirty behavior and out-of-gym meetings. If a client still persists, you may need to suggest that another trainer may be a better fit. You may even want to be honest and tell them youre uncomfortable with where this relationship could go.


What do you do when you want to leave your current club for another or start a fitness venture on your own?

Its important you approach a situation like this as professional as possible. If you find yourself in this position, convey to your current employer as early as possible what is to come. Make sure you are both clear on the rules and the transition to your date of departure. Ensure that both parties can find equal resolve in terms of client base. Remember that companies rely heavily on the income you produce for them. If you were to leave unexpectedly, this could be detrimental to their financial health. Give them time to adjust and offer to help the best you can. Remember that our true purpose as fitness professionals is to make a significant positive impact on the health and well-being of our fellow human beings without harming anyone or any business. When given a chance to choose a path, always take the high road. You never know when you may come across people in this life again.


How do you deal with a trainer who constantly gossips about other employees or speaks negatively about the business you work for?

The first step is to be noble and not be a gossip yourself. If you dig through junk or garbage, youll too often come out looking and smelling like just that. An individual with a negative attitude can be detrimental to a team as a whole. On the other hand, if you focus on the positives of your team, you allow yourself to spread your wings and fly to a level above unruly hearsay and rumors. In life, as in business, you will cultivate that with which your mind is constantly saturated. If your daily focus is on the shortcomings of others and further negative jargon, youll find yourself in the middle of it all. People make mistakes. Theyre not perfect, nor is every business or every boss. Learn from each situation, and immediately focus on something worth spending your valuable time on. Make an effort today to rise above petty talk, and soar at the altitude of a mighty eagle.

Consider this: How will you act when nobodys watching? This is the true test of integrity and honesty. As we discussed, a moment of weakness or lack in moral standards can be detrimental to you and those whom you influence. As trainers, we are leaders. A true leader must know the way, show the way and, as we discussed here, go the way. Most of us spend time daily telling others what we believe will work best in their situation. I encourage you not be a hypocrite. On a personal level, I have had to make plenty of adjustments throughout the years, but the key is to know where youre aiming and continually keep walking that path towards higher ground. A simple yet effective quote by Socrates that I have committed to memory is, I pray thee, O Lord, that I may be beautiful within.


Take the time to write out your personal mission statement. Be sure to include areas of morals, values, honesty and integrity. Next, put this statement in a place where it can easily be seen and read. Finally, make an effort daily to read your mission statement out loud. As you repeatedly vocalize these things, you will more closely become them, and the next time you find yourself in a situation that tests your morals, you can be confident youll make the right call.

Troy Fontana is owner of Fontana Fitness Personal Training Studio in Sparks, Nevada. For more information, contact Troy at 775.331.6918 or getfit@fontanafitness.com.