Podcast Episode 8: Scott Laidler

Learn The Ten Things No-one Ever Tells You As A Personal Trainer, With Online Trainer Scott Laidler

When we are starting out as personal trainers, there is a lot about the fitness industry that we have to learn. Most of us learn these things as we gain more experience through trial and error. Some of us seek out pearls of wisdom from seasoned veterans who have spent years in the personal training industry and have reached the very top of the profession.

Some people think that they can go it alone and they end up ignoring some very good advice along the way. In such a competitive industry, it is important that trainers understand that there is no shame in looking for help.

If you’re looking for some home truths about the fitness industry, then you have come to the right place.

Scott Laidler is a weekly columnist for the Telegraph newspaper, who has trained some of the biggest names in Hollywood. His article “The Ten Things That No-one Tells You Before You Become a Personal Trainer” has caught the attention of many people in the industry because of its insights.

In this interview, he draws on all his experience to give you a run-down of the most insightful facts he has gleaned during his years in as a personal trainer. Some of them might surprise you.

“Build your skill set away from fitness in order to succeed” – Scott Laidler

About Scott Laidler

In his ten year career, Scott has trained a wide variety of different clients. These have included Paralympic athletes and Oscar-winning actors. He has attracted the attention of Men’s Health and has been featured on the likes of Sky News. Currently, he is working for the Telegraph newspaper.

Having gained a vast amount of experience, he has been able to move into a mentoring role for other personal trainers. He sees the industry as one where people should share ideas and information in order to progress. This was his main motivation for writing the article that is discussed in the interview.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

  • Why trainers should develop a skillset outside of fitness
  • What makes the relationship between trainers and clients unique
  • How a trainer’s health can be affected by their schedule
  • How success relies on a client-focused approach
  • How a trainer’s perception of time changes

 

“Work really hard for your first year because it usually takes 12-18 months to establish your client base”

Connect with Scott Laidler

Website: http://scottlaidler.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/scott_laidler

Email: http://scottlaidler.com/contact/

 

Interview Transcript

VOICEOVER: Become a better personal trainer by becoming a better man. Become a better man by applying knowledge from others who have walked across the fire, and have a thing or two to say about it. Listen to Joe as he delves into some of the greatest minds of the best coaches in the world. Who bring inspiring stories and powerful insights to share about the human condition. Hear about how the fitness industry goes only muscle-deep and how a new breed of trainers are using emotional and mindset hacks to improve as men, evolve their game and make the competition irrelevant. Trigger your pathway to greater fulfilment. With us, stand in the face of fitness. Welcome to the Fit Man Collective.

 

JH: Hey guys, Joe here. Welcome to another show. I’m your host and founder of the Fit Man Collective and as always thank you for being here and listening to the podcast show. This show is about becoming a better personal trainer by becoming a better man, a fit man.

This show is a little bit different to what we would usually do, in that I have spent hours scouring through the web and looking for research and article for my website www.thefitmancollective.com. I came across an article called “The Ten Things That No-one Tells You Before You Become a Personal Trainer” by personal trainer Scott Laidler.

I reached out to Scott to see if he would be up for a light-hearted discussion about this and to feature on the show. He agreed to it, so in a few minutes time Scott is going to be with us.

Welcome to the show, Scott. How are you?

 

SL: Very good. It’s good to be here.

 

JH: Excellent, I’m very excited about this one. If you could just take two minutes to introduce yourself to the audience, and explain exactly what it is that you do.

 

SL: My name is Scott Laidler and I’ve been in the industry for about 8 years now. I started off working in commercial gyms and I went over to LA, where I worked in Hollywood on film preparation. Then I came back to London and ran a studio. Now I am working online, primarily within the UK film industry. I also do a bit on the side for up-and-coming trainers.

 

JH: You’ve got a vast amount of experience and you’ve travelled the world. You’ve probably done more than the average personal trainer. The reason that I brought you onto the show was because I came across one of your articles, which you had written for the Telegraph. It was titled “The Ten Things No-one Tells You Before You Become A Personal Trainer”. On that note of mentoring personal trainers and helping them, would you mind elaborating on the ten points that you made?

 

SL: It started off as a fun article to do and to reveal what it’s like to be a personal trainer. There are thousands of people coming through in the UK and I also work with people in the USA and Australia – there are thousands of trainers coming through.

The reality of being a personal trainer isn’t always clear. The price you pay for being a personal trainer isn’t always clear. So I thought I’d write a lighthearted article that would show what you can expect, good and bad, from being a personal trainer. Also it shows how to offset some of the downsides.

 

JH: Let’s go into point one of yours which was that you become less healthy. As a personal trainer you wouldn’t think that at all considering that you’re in the industry of training. Right?

 

SL: Yeah exactly. You’re going into the industry to help people with their health but just like doctors your schedule becomes very busy, very quickly. If you become a successful personal trainer one of your biggest challenges is maintaining your own health because you’re dealing with early mornings, late nights, and often you are rushing food.

You often don’t know where your next paycheck is coming from. This is an industry where you can be up £200 or £300 a week on from one client, and then down again because of them leaving. It can be quite stressful if you don’t learn how to deal with that stress and learn how to roll with those punches, your health can suffer quite quickly. The biggest thing is the lack of sleep.

 

JH: It’s the inconsistency as well, isn’t it?

 

SL: Definitely I think that 6 a.m, especially in London where I was working, is a big time slot. If you don’t live in central London you’re looking at a 4:45 am wake-up, which if you’re doing that five days a week really adds up. You want to fill your books with more than 25 sessions a week, so you are very busy, but you are only getting around 5 hours sleep a night.

 

JH: What advice would you give to personal trainers who have fallen into this trap? When did you recognise this problem in yourself and what did you do?

 

SL: It’s a hard one to overturn because you go into it with a hustling mentality and you want to pay the price for the success. One thing that I learnt is not to be ashamed of taking a nap. It feels like you are skirting work and you could be advertising and working on your website.

Taking a nap will boost your productivity and is a massive factor in maintaining your health. If you are only having 4 or 5 hours of sleep a day, then getting that nap could make all the difference in your performance and your health, so saying “I’m going to take a nap” was a big breakthrough for me.

This is because I always used to make myself feel guilty about it in the early days.

 

JH: I suppose that lead on to point number two, Trainers will find that they drink way too much coffee.

 

SL: Definitely. I used to drink 6 or 7 coffees a day and I was still drinking them in the evening. This was just to get through sessions by the time it was the evening. You have one at home or in the car to wake up, then you have one before your session when the coffee shop is open at 6 am.

Then you have another one after a couple of sessions in the morning. Then you have one with lunch. Then you have a mid-afternoon one. Then you have one in the evening, which adds up to 6 or 7 coffees throughout the day. There is too much adrenaline in your system and we would never advise clients to do that.

 

JH: According to the article it was 7 cups of coffee and I assume some of them were double espressos. That is a lot of coffee. One of the excuses that I used was that I was a coffee snob, but this hid the fact that I really relied on coffee.

 

 

SL: Logistically, even if you’re working in a central London location, where are you going to go in between clients? You are going to sit in a coffee shop and do your work and it is the done thing that you just have a coffee there.

It adds up, and even if you are not tired, you do it out of habit.

 

JH: So the two points that we have raised so far are that trainers become less healthy than their clients and they drink way too much coffee, which is more than they would recommend their clients to do.

Number three is that you will only be successful when you focus on the clients and not the money. Could you just elaborate on that point for me?  I think I know where you are going with this.

 

SL: When you are on your personal training course you start to the calculations. You can charge £50 an hour at 10 blocks a day and you think that you are going to make 500 a day. You start to think like a mercenary and you see the hours only as an opportunity to make money.

I think that is pretty transparent and clients will get the impression very quickly if you are not focused on their goals. You are trying to sell them more frequent sessions and trying to add in supplements. You are getting them to pay to come to extra boot camps.

Happy clients are going to pay for your service and they are going to feel a connection with you. They are the ones that are going to tell their friends and they are going to be posting about you on social media. If you are just focusing on the money then your connection with the clients will be very shallow and it won’t last for very long. They won’t think anything of cancelling their services with you If you just treat them as an hourly income. I think it is almost like an energy exchange and clients will pick up on it very early on.

 

JH: Very true. That discredits personal trainers and that is why the profession is getting such a bad name. Clients don’t take us as seriously as someone with authority, such as a doctor.

 

SL: We have to see ourselves as health professionals. We are there to facilitate them changing their health as well as their body. We are also there to educate them about how they can maintain that by themselves. We don’t want people to rely on us. If they like having a coach then that’s great, but we are there to educate them on how they can do this themselves.

These are things that they can filter down to their kids, families and friends and that is our responsibility. It has to take priority over making money and that is how you build your brand.

 

JH: Why do you think that has come about?  Is it because we are oversold when we are taking the qualification? Even I fell into the trap very early on in my career. I was excited to get on the gym floor because I had this qualification.

But the education doesn’t stop there, does it? I feel that many trainers stop their personal development there. Do you have anything to add to that?

SL: Personal training is all about emotional intelligence. You can go on all the courses that you want and you can get the CPD and all those extra qualifications, which are amazing at developing your skillset, but you can’t become too one-sided on the technical aspect of personal training.

You have to be able to relate to people and you have to be able to communicate your intentions. You need to work out what each individual client needs. When you treat the client as just an hourly income then you won’t be able to have that ability to adapt and you won’t have that personal relationship.

They will see through it and say that you are just there to count seconds and reps. They will know that you are thinking of the next session and they will know that you are thinking about “when is the next point that I can realistically raise the prices here? How can I get them to refer their friends? I’ll offer them this and I will offer them that”.

Those tactics are all great if you are going down a sales route, but realistically if you change that person’s life, then that is the best sales tactic. The client won’t have to tell people. You will have made such a difference to their physique and their energy that people will be asking them what they have done. I think that is how to look at it.

 

JH: There are two aspects to this and you raised a great point with the emotional intelligence. I think that the trainer has to get some coaching themselves or come to appreciate what coaching can do. Then they can pass this onto their clients.

I think a lot of the information out there is geared towards exercise prescription or dietary prescription. There is not too much availability of emotional intelligence unless you go looking for it. This allows you to understand the client’s mindset and see whether they have emotional challenges. At what point did you decide that this is more than just exercise and diet to create lasting change in your clients, by seeking additional advice?

 

SL: My background before I went into fitness was psychology. So I had a grounding in social psychology and motivation. I could see the things that would kind of get in the way of motivating people. I continued to read around the subject. You are right in that you need to go looking for it.

Currently there isn’t that kind of course set up for personal trainers. I tried to do that one-on-one with the people that I coach. The industry is too focused on the skill set and technical aspects such as form and technique, ranges and rest periods. This is all great, and we need to know it, but we need the opposite skill set. This includes how to apply it to different people.

I would recommend reading around social psychology and motivation. Also things like NLP and how to communicate with people.

 

JH: They are not only going to develop your skills as a personal trainer, they are also going to develop your skills as a person as well.

 

SL: Exactly. When you are trying to build your business, you are going into business settings where you are going to have to pitch. Your confidence and the ability to create rapport is just an arsenal. This is the thing that many personal trainers don’t understand coming straight off the course – as a personal trainer you are going to need to know more than personal training. You are going to need to know how to run, advertise and market a business. You are going to have to know how to communicate will people. You are going to have to know how to communicate with colleagues, and work well in spaces with other personal trainers. You are going to have to get yourself opportunities to build your business.

This will allow you to transcend training on the gym floor, if that is your goal. These are all things that personal trainers may not realise because they are not told that during the course. You come out of the course well equipped to deliver sessions in a commercial gym setting, but if you want to go freelance you have to learn to run your own business.

If you want to get yourself in the media and PR, you have to develop those skill sets. You will know how to communicate with journalists and how to deliver those things on time and be able to anticipate what they need as well.

 

JH: You had the background in social psychology and human behaviour. Lots of trainers who have just qualified or have not been in the industry for long might not be open to that kind of information. Do you think that they would be receptive to that kind of information?

 

SL: Do you mean about learning about emotional intelligence? I think it is the responsibility of people who have been in the industry a little bit longer to filter that information down and explain how important that side of things is.

You don’t want to be the kind of trainer who is just focused on your Instagram account, and not really thinking about the client. It’s a huge mistake that trainers make and it’s quite obvious who is going down that route.

Some trainers come across as if training clients is an inconvenience to their own training schedule. It’s not the communication that you want to be giving to your clients. You don’t want that atmosphere or persona in a gym setting.

 

JH: That’s a great answer. Moving onto number four, which is that social situations will never be the same again. I’m sure that you have many experiences of this. Could you just elaborate on this point?

 

SL: When you go out to a party, you start socialising with people and they find out you are a personal trainer. They are always going to ask you personal training questions. They will ask “what’s the best exercise for this? If you could only do one exercise, what would it be? Should I be doing high-intensity or low-intensity cardio? How often should I train and what should I eat?”

You know that these are frivolous conversations because most of the time this advice isn’t going to be implemented, but people love to pick your brains.

 

JH: From my experience, the people who are asking don’t necessarily want to know the answer. They want you to agree with their opinion on something.

 

SL: Certainly, there is a pre-set understanding of things and that is the way that they do things. They want verification, so they want you to agree with that so they don’t have to change anything. You will also find people who will look to call you out. They want to find out how much you know and whether they can trip you up on information, or new information that was in the media.

Often these things are such grey areas that somebody says “I saw an article that says low-intensity is better than high-intensity. What do you think about that?” If you don’t agree with it, then they might think that you don’t know what you are talking about. When you are in the industry, you know that there are grey areas.

This is why podcast are so great because you can go into the grey areas and spend time on things. Low intensity is great for a certain reason and high intensity is great for certain reasons. You couldn’t do high intensity every day, so low intensity has a place. At a party you can’t always go into those long conversations, so you do get those people who are just trying to trip you up on information.

It is interesting to see how people react to you as a personal trainer, and you can often learn a lot about the people that you are talking to. This is about their own appearance and their training, based on the questions and their reactions.

 

JH: It’s not like you can give them the answer on the spot. There is so much more information that you are going to require, even if that person was in a position of wanting your help. Trainers need to be very aware of what is going on with the people around them.

I’m big on people-watching, I pick up clues. It is useful for you to know for yourself and for when you come across that type of client who has reached out for help.

 

SL: In these social situations, you should store the interactions away because they will come up again in your personal training consultations. It is important to be able to answer in a very credible way and not feel the need to give a straight yes or no answer.

If someone asks you “what’s the best way to gain muscle?” then you need to know everything: You need to know about their lifestyle, their training background, and how much muscle they want to gain over what period of time. That is the only real way that you can give an answer. Your answer might be wrong. That’s the point of being a coach. You might stick with them for that for three weeks and then try a different tack.

Trying to give a definite answer on the spot is a mistake that the mainstream media make with fitness and health. You don’t want to go down that route on your personal consultations either.

 

JH: That’s when you go to the next level of coaching and you find out what that person really wants. You find out about their past and what is holding them back. I think that’s the challenge with the majority of personal trainers because they do think in black and white. It’s “eat clean and exercise however many times a week” because that’s all they know.

They don’t necessarily relate that to the client’s perspective. They always hear of being in the client’s shoes. But it is very difficult for trainers to put themselves in a client’s shoes because they have never been that overweight, if you are dealing with an overweight client.

 

SL: That’s really the huge skill set of a personal trainer. A lot of personal trainers have come from an active and sporting background, and maybe they have always been fit. You get other trainers who have been on a certain journey and they end up as personal trainers at the end of it.

The main skill is trying to understand what it is like to be your clients. Try to understand from childhood what it was like to be your client. Do they have an identity based on being overweight as a child? They may not be overweight now but you have to go back to that to understand how they identify themselves: their appearance, their relationship with food, and what their relationships with other people is like based on their appearance. Does it affect their work? Does it affect the type of holidays that they are going to take? You have to go in depth with this.

Some trainers are like a drill instructor and then the clients feel very isolated and upset that they can’t do what their personal trainer can do.

 

JH: That’s a great point and I think the worst thing is that you’re only giving the client another reference of failure. Up until then they have only had failure.

 

SL: You need to give pointers. If they go for a ten-minute walk three times a week then that is a success reference in the gym. If you can go to the gym once and do strength training then that is a success reference. Can you organise your breakfast to be nice and healthy 2 days out of 7? That is a success reference.

You build these references to build someone’s self-confidence. That’s how you build somebody’s belief in themselves. You are guiding them through that so they are going to build confidence in you as well. You can make the client understand that even though you have a knowledge base, you are not clairvoyant. You may give your client a training programme that you see through for three or four weeks but it doesn’t give the desired results.

It is all part of your experience to know that this hasn’t worked because of various reasons, so then you are going to go another tack. This doesn’t mean that the training has been unsuccessful because you didn’t get results in the first three weeks.

It is important to build expectation with the client. I think that is the trouble with the online world. Everyone expects the programme to work straight away and it can be frustrating when it doesn’t work like that. The perfect coaching scenario is to be able to troubleshoot as you go along.

 

JH: It is pre-framing the client and setting them up for that crossroads. It is forward-thinking for them. Point number five is your presence makes others feel guilty.

 

SL: Even in personal relationships with your own family, friends and significant others. They can make choices that they are not entirely happy with, just because of your presence. They might say that they can’t eat unhealthily in front of you.

This is something that you have to disarm people about and say that you are not here to judge people or enforce any rules. You just want a normal interaction with them, and you will not judge what anyone else is doing. People really think that you are and have to disarm that.

 

JH: This also applies if you indulge slightly yourself just to make them feel comfortable. It’s their choice and you are not judging anyone, but people tend to think that you are. Do you think that is the same for clients? We draw them in because we look amazing but then we are not that great ourselves.

From a personal perspective, I thought that all the facets of my life were sorted, but they weren’t. As trainers, are we qualified to help clients with other aspects of their lives, even if we don’t have it sorted ourselves?

 

SL: I think it is our responsibility to have a healthy lifestyle across different facets of life. Because we can keep ourselves in shape but we might be relying on huge amounts of caffeine, not be getting the sleep we need, or taking all kinds of supplements. We may have no flexibility or mobility whilst looking amazing in a photoshoot. If that is what we are pushing then we are providing a limited service.

That’s not really providing The Blueprint for long and lasting health. It may be for a niche such as getting someone ready for a photoshoot, which is great, but it is our responsibility to be able to zoom out from those particular goals in order to provide a lifestyle that is all-encompassing and that includes the mind as well: learning about meditation, goal-setting and giving purpose.

Not that we are necessarily there to be a life coach, but that we have those skills if those conversations happen to come up.

 

JH: Many of the clients that we deal with are in their mid-thirties plus. To go and source further information is only going to help with conversations that you have with older people because we don’t have their life experience. Being 33 years-old I would coach a lot differently than I did when I was 21 years-old.

 

SL: I get a lot of trainers contacting me to say that they have just qualified and they want to take their business online. Although that is a great way to earn money because it allows geographic freedom and earns passive income, it is a sad thing to not go through those years of working with different people.

That is your baptism of fire as a personal trainer and you gather your people skill set. You should do that, even though there are blueprints for making money online and having a different kind of lifestyle. There is an awful lot to be said for working with different people.

 

JH: Moving onto point number six, personal relationships with clients.

 

SL: Working from 6 am to 6 pm in the gym, these are the only people that you see. Sometimes there is a spark with clients or other trainers, and it is important to keep things professional. That has been known to happen, and I have seen it happen a good few times.

 

JH: That is one thing to keep an eye out for. Number seven is that you will do a lot of laundry.

 

SL: This is logistics. You are going to be training maybe once or twice a day, and some clients are going to ask you to train with them. You are going to out from 6 in the morning. Sometimes you will get rained on when you are doing boot camps rolling around in the grass.

You are going to need a lot of clothes and you are going to need to do a lot of laundry. This is just the logistics of being a personal trainer.

 

JH: I’m laughing at point number eight, which is that you develop a superhuman perception of time.

 

SL: You do upwards of 4-6,000 training hours over your career. You are counting a lot of minutes and you are counting a lot of reps. You really understand time. This is not just within the session, where you can predict how long a minute is accurately, but also that as a personal trainer, every single minute of your day is going to be accounted for.

You know exactly when you are going to wake up and you know how long it is going to take to get to your client. You know whether you have one or two minutes to get a coffee. You know when you can go to the bathroom, and when you can eat. You know who is going to be late and you know who is going to be on time. People are generally creatures of habit.

There is nothing worse than a late personal trainer, you just can’t do it. You will get clients who stop training with you if you are that personal trainer. It is so unprofessional, because people are paying you for the hours, which effectively means that they are paying you for the minute. If you are six minutes late to a session then they have given you 10% for nothing.

This is one of the biggest crimes you can commit as a personal trainer. You will be able to predict how long things are taking and you will know how every minute is accounted for in your day.

 

JH: Talking of every minute that is accounted for, if you are training clients for two hours and working eighteen hour days, how much are you really getting paid per hour? If is not as much as you think it is, then it is time to readjust and show that when you are there, you end up getting value for money.

 

SL: That is a very expansive subject in terms of how much you are earning per hour. For example, in the early days I used to drive for an hour and a half to clients. If I was charging £50 per hour and then driving an hour and a half back, that is three or four hours working out as £12 per hour.

Before that I was doing nightclub security, which is essentially the same rate as that. In the early days you have to take on the clients that you can get just to build up your experience and to get money coming in.

As your schedule gets busier, you need to learn how to wait out and get clients who can earn you more than if you having to travel to this location at this time. That is a fine line, where you turn something down and wait to get a better lineup.

 

JH: It is also an opportunity to look at what you offer. Do you just offer personal training sessions, or could you offer more and expand on the value of your product? Then you can sit down with the client to talk about goal-setting and their mindset. It doesn’t always have to be a training session.

 

SL: That is something that I have done in my career. I would block out three hours for an individual client. We would speak for two hours, looking at different areas of life and what is holding them back. Then we would do a training session. Looking at what you are earning per-hour, taking a trip to arrange that would then be feasible.

You can expand beyond the one hour for a personal training session with clients. You don’t want to upsell or come across as if you are on a cruise ship and you are trying to sell them every product under the sun. If there’s something you can offer and they trust you, then that is a great way to build your business.

 

JH: On the subject of the perception of time, I have sat down with a client and they have agreed on the dates of initial goals. There are a lot of variables and aspects that can change.

My major pet hate of the industry is that trainers are just providing that workout and they are just turning up for that hour, without exchanging their time for information. I don’t see any programme design going on or planning when the goal is going to be set. What do you thinking about turning accountability from the client and putting it back on the trainer?

 

SL: It is important to educate the client on that. If you look at Olympic athletes, they may work in four or eight-year cycles. To achieve that goal, the trainer has to explain how they will reverse-engineer from that goal or peak date of a photoshoot or if they are going on holiday.

Reverse-engineer the process week-by-week, including rest weeks. On these rest weeks you might explain to the client that they are only at 60% and you advise them to go for a walk. This is a case of refusing that money when it is there. That is the authentic thing to do. Periodization is extremely important and it is a lot easier to do that online because people can then take a look at their training programmes much easier.

 

JH: I am going to move onto number nine, which is you will never look at holidays the same way again. Give me your intake on that.

 

SL: One of the things that you will start to notice quite early on is that your friends are going to be working 9-5 jobs, or jobs where they have sick pay. They have holiday pay.

We are never going to have that as a personal trainer because we are working for ourselves or we have arrangements with gyms where they just don’t offer that. When you book a holiday, you know that it is going to cost you the holiday and the loss of earnings whilst you are away.

Other people are earning the same amount whilst they are on holiday as they do in their normal working lives. It can be very tough to create the discipline to go on holiday, because you know that you are going to lose a lot of money and lost a lot of momentum. You don’t only lose money but you lose that momentum of clients. When you come back, you have to re-schedule everyone again and get everyone fired up again.

If you want to take extended breaks – like Tim Ferris, mini-retirement style – you have to speak to your clients about when you are coming back, how long you are going to be away for and potentially get other personal trainers in to cover you.

Also you have the admin of giving clients meal plans and training plans before you go away. Going on holiday can be a huge expense and an admin nightmare to get everything organised.

A lot of your family and friends can just book the holiday and go away to not think about work. They can come back and plug straight back in.

 

JH: That’s a very interesting point. You don’t go into this industry thinking about your next holiday until you are burned out or tired.

 

SL: You have to take holidays. The first reason is to rest your bodies, especially when you are not getting enough sleep as a personal trainer. That is when the real inspiration comes, when you take that time to zone out and get out of the normal routine. You go to the countryside or a beach location, and that is when you are hit with real inspiration and real creativity.

You may not do any work on it there, but you take a note and you come back with a renewed energy. That is when you take your business to a new level. You have to take time for your health and for your creativity.

 

JH: I agree. I have my most creative moments when I take time out. That is when you have creative ideas that you can then apply to your business. The last point of your ten is to develop a unique friendship with your clients. Would you mind just elaborating on that?

 

SL: The unique set-up with a personal trainer and client is that you will have nothing else in common with their other relationships and their other environments at work and home.

If they trust you and they feel comfortable with you, then they will talk to you in-depth about very personal subjects. Very often over time you will gain that kind of rapport and you will have that kind of relationship. There are no consequences, because you don’t know anyone else that they know.

They can talk to you and you can be a sounding board. You can advise or you can just listen. They don’t run the risk of upsetting anyone else in their life because you don’t know anyone. That is a unique friendship. It is an isolated thing for them, and you are their personal trainer but you can become a very good friend.

Later today I am going for a walk with a client. It is a lady that I used to train maybe four or five years ago. We are just going to meet and go for a walk, but we haven’t worked together on a professional basis for some years now. You do get these lifelong friendships. It is very rewarding for you and the client. It is interesting to note how unique that friendship is because of the anonymity and the freedom to speak about anything in their lives.

 

JH: It is because you have no personal attachment to them. You can be very objective with your point of view and they won’t be sensitive towards it. They can’t have these conversations with other people because of the fear of being judged. When you have a conversation with your friend, you get through everything quite quickly and your friend starts going off on a tangent about their life.

It is a unique opportunity and a unique friendship because it offers your client that they wouldn’t normally get. Some of the conversations that I have had with clients wouldn’t happen with their other half.

 

SL: That happens very often. They will talk to you about things that they would never bring up at work or home. It is a very in-depth relationship and it can be really a great thing to know that they trust you enough in order to give you that information.

 

JH: That is a great point to end on. The ten things are very fascinating for trainers who are listening to the show. Do you have any lasting words for personal trainers who are either new or experienced?

 

SL: My advice would be to know that you are coming into the industry to focus on more than fitness. You can change people’s physiques and tell them what food to eat, but really you are trying to improve people’s lives and their health. You need to authentically invest in those people.

It is not just an opportunity to earn money. It is a career that you should be going into to make a difference in people’s lives. This is on an individual scale, and then as you build your business on a wider scale.

As a personal trainer you have to be prepared for how hard it is going to be. It is going to be really hard to know how much money is coming in. It is going to be really hard in the early stages to get clients, and you are going to have to weather some storms.

There are going to be people who come for consultations and they don’t sign up with you. People will cancel, and people will want refunds on blocks when you have already spent the money. It is important to have a long-term vision of what you want to achieve with your business.

Those hard times will come, but there will also be rewarding times. In the early days it is very important to work on your skill set. There is a time when you will go to work and you will only do one or two training sessions a day. Don’t waste that time. Obviously, you have to stay in shape and train, but don’t just be hanging around the gym.

You have that time to build your skills. Learn how to advertise, market, improve your website, write, post on social media. Contribute and build networks with personal trainers and corporates that you could potentially work for. Build your opportunities as you go along. Build your skill set away from fitness with the social psychology and the emotional intelligence.

Work really hard for your first year because it usually takes 12-18 months to establish your client base. From then on, get a reputation for yourself in terms of delivering results and it should be smooth sailing. It is a hard first 18 months.

 

JH: That is great advice and I only wish there had been someone out there offering me the same when I was getting in the industry. I had to find out the hard way, possibly like yourself as well. Where can the trainers find out more about yourself and your services?

 

SL: I’m on scottlaidler.com. From there you can email me if you wanted to register some interest in having career coaching. I’m going to be launching a resource for personal trainers next year but I already coach one-on-one with some personal trainers. Look at my website as an example of what online training can deliver for clients. That’s scottlaidler.com.

 

JH: Thank you for your time Scott. Much appreciated.

 

SL: Good speaking to you.

 

JH: Once again, thank you to Scott for taking time out of his busy schedule and being on this show. Now in the meantime, if you have any questions about this show the head over to the Fit Man Collective Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective. To get the shownotes and links go to www.thefitmancollective.com.

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