PT on the Net Research

Becoming the Personal Training Executive Part 1

As a Personal Trainer it is important that you can identify and then fully utilize your local market. The following is the first part of a series of articles that will help you the trainer find your price, find your place in the market and then effectively penetrate it. The goal is to equip you with the tools, skills and techniques that you require to make you the best trainer in your area, whatever area you choose to be the best in. These articles will be as useful to the in home trainer as they will be to the in house club trainer.

This first article is about you, how you get yourself in a position to market, produce a show, sell, retain and produce clients results. The idea is that you can follow this article to challenge some areas of your current business and highlight the positive areas.

In order to sell, you have to go through many stages, you have to attract the client to your product, get them to experience it and then close the sale. In order to get them to make the purchase, you have to be an exceptional and inspirational leader. After all you are selling an experience and a journey.

So how do you get in to the role of leader?

Step One – Define your ideal leadership model

As a blank page in the leadership field, you have a great opportunity to forge your style. This can be done several ways; one way is to identify your ideal leader, analyse the traits that attract you to this leader and then look at how far away you are from him/her.

Another alternative is to research the many texts available on leadership and compile a list of the common traits that exist. If you want to be very thorough, do both.

For Example

For example, the people I admire have many followers who they influence, instead of driving or pushing. It is not by accident that my choice of leaders is from the entertainment world. Frank Skinner, an English Comedian, managed to turn around a number of negative situations in his life to become a very well respected and well paid representative for my generation in the UK. The leadership trait he displays that I admire most is his ability to communicate anything, on any subject, to anyone, without seeming threatening or insulting. All of the leaders I admire have the ability to communicate on all levels with an ease, sincerity and humour that is rare in many people.

The common leadership traits that I have found from research and experience are as follows:

I am not suggesting that these are the only traits that are important to leadership, or that they are all required all of the time. They are not even listed in a specific order, but they do give me a constant reminder of what is important to me and help me plan my next set of goals.

Step Two - Build a List of Skills and Traits

“Every little knowledge about ourselves calls for corresponding endeavour for improvement” (6).

Once you know the list of leadership traits that you want to adopt, it is vital to evaluate how many of these skills and traits you already display. This list of traits will then lead you to the improvement list.

These improvements will only happen once you are prepared to face some home truths and get ready to change. All of the management jobs in my career so far have been based on taking clubs with higher potential than performance, and changing them to achieve that potential. At each club I have been faced with a personal challenge where I have had to change the way I lead in order to adapt to the new set of people and the new environment. I spent a lot of time evaluating myself and then working on changing my behaviour. As with others I have spoken to, often the change is harder than the task.

“It takes some courage to accept the fact that you must change” (7).

A great book to read when you are considering change is called “Who Moved My Cheese.” It is written in a very similar way to a child’s story, and it is this simplicity that gives you the shock of recognition and the guidance that will set you on your way forward. Two great but simple statements are:

“Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.”

“The quicker you let go of old cheese,the sooner you can enjoy new cheese.”(8)

Basically, you need to take a good look at everything you are doing and start to make sure that all these actions add up to construct the traits that you require in order to make you a great leader.

In all, your second step is about identifying what you need to do to become the leader that you need to be to make your business successful.

A good way to truly identify your goals is to ask the following questions and make a “To Do” list that will take you towards becoming a fantastic leader.

A handy place to look on for help is Goal Setting by Chip Richards, whose article will lead you through the relevant stages.

Step Three - Clarify Your Vision

The final step that needs covering in this article is setting up the most important trait of any leader: a clear vision/goal to achieve. This section is important for you as a trainer; later in the series I will look at how to get a client to effectively set goals and how that impacts your ability to sell. I will also look at the different techniques to get them to adhere those goals. This section, though, is for you; in order to become an effective leader, you need to be able to see the big picture and drive yourself towards it.

When setting up your personal vision, which is vital for your success as a trainer, there are a few rules and procedures to follow.

“…the most important key to goal setting is to find a goal big enough to inspire you, something to unleash your power” (9).

The above quote is something that I firmly believe you need to do in order to create a focused drive, keeping you on track daily to achieve your goals. Once you have a vision, you really need to let it drive you forward. A good way of doing this is to break it down into small parts and then celebrate each achievement.

“Seeing ourselves as able to master the hoped for change raises our motivation to take the steps to get there” (10).

At each stage of each goal, you need to spend some time working on what it looks like and how it feels, sounds and smells when you arrive. This will start to make your goal feel achievable.

“You never know. So don’t assume that you should. Plan for several possible futures” (11).

When you set your goal and vision, it may be worthwhile making it a little fuzzy and moveable. During my career, my long-term goal and vision has changed several times, although it has always had one recurring theme: to be the best educator in the world at taking complicated issues and making them accessible, entertaining and useable to individuals. Initially it was in Soccer, then it moved to fitness and now it is in business. Who knows where my career will take me; no doubt my long-term goal will continue to change. I visualise now that it will be to educate my son and maybe his brother or sister one day. I do know that it will always be based in education. Another constant is my total belief and confidence in my ability, and the ability of all humans, to achieve all of their goals.

“Have a healthy distrust of what experience has taught you” (11).

The above quote helps a lot of people who enter into something and get accused of having beginner’s luck. If you do not have any pre-fixed beliefs of boundaries and you have never been told what is impossible, then you have given yourself a good chance of success. When I first took on a gym in London, I went with the belief that you could charge any price you like in London because everyone is very well off. So when I got to my first club, they were charging only £35 per session for Personal Training. This to me was far too low, so I put in a price increase that meant that the best trainers in the club were charging £65 per hour. The trainers in the club that had previously believed PT should cost £35 per session could not sell at this price, and hid the fact by striking deals and charging less. My new trainers, though, came in only knowing these prices and so went ahead charging at the new rate. These new trainers sold a phenomenal amount of Training at the new price (thank you Karen, Neil, Alan, Matt, Lizzie and James!). This shocked my older trainers into action and meant that we increased income through PT by 700% in two months! The following quote from Beckwith sums this up:

“You Gotta Believe”(11).

So the following are my steps to setting and achieving your vision.

Imagine what you want to achieve, leave in fuzzy areas, and do not fix the goal posts!

  1. Draw it, describe it, tell people about it, listen to it, imagine how it feels and do this everyday.
  2. Break it up into small achievable chunks, and try and achieve one daily.
  3. Celebrate every time you achieve anything.
  4. Take some risks to get your goal, be quick to have a go and quick to get out if it does not work.
  5. Celebrate days that you try something that does not work, as at the very least you know what not to try tomorrow.
  6. Anything you think about your goal, write it down, draw it and display it somewhere.
  7. Put a smiling face on the diagrams and posters every time you get a step closer.

A final thought on the above though:

“Goals are important, a vision is a good idea, but do not let them become blinders. Make sure they are moveable, so you can flow and change daily” (12).


So in order to help you get through the stages of becoming a successful Personal Training Executive, your initial starting point has to be leadership and vision. The references used in this are full of fantastic hints, tips and plenty of contradictory information. If you have the time to read them all, then you will get a chance to interpret them too. For me, though, I achieved my goal by doing the reading for you and making the education you receive accessible, entertaining and useable! The stages that follow truly will make you better at sales, marketing, retention and take you towards becoming a successful Personal Training Executive. I would like to leave you with a final quote that sums up what I truly believe.

“No Vision, No Passion” (1).


  1. Goleman, D (2002) The New Leaders Time Warner, London, UK
  2. Wren,T (1995) The Leaders Companion The Free Press, New York, US
  3. Marten, R (1987) Coaches Guide to Sports Psychology Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, US
  4. Kouzes, J and Posner, B (2003) Leadership the Challenge Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, US
  5. Maxwell, J (1999) 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader Thomas Nelson, Tennesse, US
  6. Lombardi, V (2001) What it takes to be #1 McGraw-Hill, New York, US
  7. Capodaghi, B and Jackson, L (1998) The Disney Way McGraw Hill, New York, US
  8. Johnson, S (1998) Who Moved my Cheese Vermillon, London, UK
  9. Robbins, A (1991) Awaken the giant within Omnia Books, Glasgow UK
  10. Goleman, D (1998) Working with Emotional Intelligence Bloomsbury, London, UK
  11. Beckwith, H (2002) Selling the Invisible Texere, London, UK
  12. Peters, T (1994) The Pursuit of WOW Vintage Books, New York, US