Six Books That Will Change The Way You Think About Being A Personal Trainer

Here’s a cliché: I have muscles, but I’m no academic. Actually, I dropped out of University while studying Sport Science. I was way too focused on football rather than my studies. Sound familiar?

That was probably why I only came out with C’s and D’s. PE was my highest grade – a B. The only real qualification I held as a personal trainer was the Level 3 Certificate In Personal Training. (Okay, I had the Les Mills RPM Certificate, too).

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon. Daddy never set up a trust fund. Or trust, for that matter. Both parents were of the die-hard, working-class stock. Apart from a few quid playing football, and a few more slaving in the factory warehouse of Next, I was poor. In between not studying and not-really-working, I found books.

This “love of books” started a long time ago. It wasn’t instilled in me by my parents. No John Keating-style teacher who “reached me” and awakened a deep yearning for knowledge.

I suppose I always had the ability to make good judgements and quick decisions. And at some point, despite being unacademic, I was able to add 2 + 2 together: reading books helped me make good judgements and fast decisions. The lightbulb moment: the more books I read, the better my judgement and decisions.

The brightest bulb came later: better judgments and decisions helped me make more money.

I was prepared to take risks because it made perfect sense to me. Reading books and using the author’s’ ideas would increase my knowledge. I could then combine this knowledge with my own experience and perspective. This would help me to become more successful.

Reading a book by someone with 20 years of experience helps me to increase the depth of my knowledge by 20 years in just the space of a week. Reading five books over the space of five weeks would give me 100 years of experience. The math sounds crazy, but it’s true.

Most trainers focus on how to become more qualified in exercise and nutrition. I took a different path and chose to study business. I learned about all the key things that a personal trainer needs to make themselves a success: business, marketing, sales and leadership. I read the autobiographies of successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, from cover to cover, in order to absorb their secrets.

Reading helped to give me a better understanding of my personal training business, which consistently turned over £100,000 to £200,000 a year. I did this by training only 70-100 clients. I worked as a trainer only 4 hours each week, to keep my head in the game, but had my team do most of the work.

I realized through my experiences, and by reading, that clients don’t see personal trainers as what they really are: a business. No client in their right mind would cancel a doctor’s appointment or refuse to pay their mortgage. Why should personal trainers allow clients to cancel at a moment’s notice or fail to show up at all?

So, yes, I read a lot of books.

I read one book a week over the course of a year. It’s added up. 350 books in the past several years.

Six of those books changed the way I think as a personal trainer. In the same way that reading amazing books allows me to quickly absorb years of knowledge, I find it’s also helpful to get access to the reading lists of other people. Not every book is a winner. And you could waste a lot of time chasing wisdom in the wrong places.

I’m 100% sure these books will enrich you in ways you never thought possible:

Think and Grow Rich

It is said that Napoleon Hill has made more millionaires than any other person in history. “Think And Grow Rich” has also created hundreds, if not thousands of motivational speakers.

All the books I’ve read by great authors such as Dale Carnegie, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield are explicitly influenced by Hill. This book is bedrock. Not to be missed.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

The time-for-money trap makes you value wealth over your personal life. This was the book that taught me that.

Change your way of thinking about your personal training business, and create something that makes you rich without sacrificing all of your time.

I highly recommend “The E-Myth Revisited”. I read it in a day as I was between clients, back when I worked 40 plus hours a week.

The Magic Hundred: How to Break Away from the Crowd and Go From Serial Goal Setting to Serious Goal Getting in Just 100 Days!

My dreams of becoming a professional footballer had slipped away. This book made me think big. I lost the despair and was empowered to live big once again. Sentences like “how to break away from the crowd and go from serial goal setting to serious goal getting” got me back in the game, albeit a different one.

This book asked me to do unfamiliar things. I remember lying in bed trying to be quiet, as I still shared a bedroom with my brother in our parent’s council house. I was creating a list of goals. God knows what kind of goals I was writing but one thing is for sure: it certainly made a difference in how I went about life. Hill says, “whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.” The Magic Hundred helped me believe it.

Awaken The Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Life

A well loved classic. Completely changed the way I thought about how personal trainers coach their clients.

The book is littered with inspiring and thought provoking quotes, like this ringer: “changing an organisation, a company, a country or a world begins with the simple step of changing yourself.”

Results Fitness Ultimate Fat Loss Programming for Personal Trainers

I couldn’t leave out Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove. These two people have helped me in more ways than they know. I consider myself a great salesman, leader, influencer and performance specialist. However, as I was shifting from being a personal trainer to a business owner, I was in the dark. Alwyn and Rachel was there to guide me.

Secrets of Closing the Sale

This book includes more than 100 different ways to close a sale depending on the situation and 700 thought-provoking questions to use with your prospects. You’ll also find suggestions from a hundred of America’s most successful salespeople.

Not only did Zig Ziglar do a great job at showing me the importance of selling, but he also made me realise that the fitness industry is doing a bad job at selling: trainers are making the quick sale and forgetting about their clients afterwards.

These are just 6 from the 350 plus books I’ve recently read. I haven’t mentioned the courses I’ve completed, or the guests I’ve interviewed on the Fit Man Collective Podcast. Just not enough room to share all of them here, but I’m confident that with these 6 books, you’ll begin to think differently.

Prepare for your worldview to be upended.

Are these books already on your list? What did you get out of them? Have a book which rocked your world. Let us know in the comments below.

Reading books can fast track your experience level and wisdom. So can meeting a mentor. Just a 90 minute call with an experienced mentor can shave weeks off your personal development time. Book a call with me to accelerate more of the gains which really matter.



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