When you say “personal trainer”, what comes to mind? For me, it’s someone who helps someone else achieve their health and fitness goals through hard work and encouragement. For others, it could be blood, sweat and tears. For other still it could be the fear that they once had for their high school gym teacher. Whatever comes to mind for your clients when they hear those two words, they will always look for the same things when they’re deciding whether or not to use you as their personal trainer. If you’ve ever wondered what these things are, here are a few you should be aware of.

Patience
This is the most important quality a personal trainer can have. As a personal trainer you are effectively a teacher. Think back to when you were at school – if you couldn’t work out 7×5-6 and your teacher screamed at you, what would you do? Well, not a lot, you were in school. But let’s say you couldn’t do that third press-up and your personal trainer screamed at you, the chances are you would give up, wouldn’t you? Patience and communication, motivation and positivity are all highly important, and if you can’t keep your cool with your clients, you won’t have many clients.

Chiselled abs
As a personal trainer your body will often work as your resume. This isn’t clients being shallow – you need to be seen to practice what you preach. If it looks like you don’t enjoy keeping fit, can’t build muscle or lose weight, then the chances are that your potential clients will simply look you over once and move on.

While you may not need Adonis’ abs per se, you do need to show that you have the determination to stay physically fit. If you get out of breath before your client does, something has gone very, very wrong.

Professional Certification
Protein shakes alone will not make a personal trainer. While you may look like Arnold Schwarzenegger circa 1975, if you don’t have the right professional certification as an accredited personal trainer, you won’t generate many clients. Unfortunately the only real requirement for being a personal trainer is calling yourself one. This means that the market can quickly become inundated with uncertified people who do not know how to train anyone but themselves.

Remember that your clients will probably want to know how you intend to stay ahead of the curve, and may ask you which certifications you’re going for next. If you reply with “I’m already certified”, it makes it look like you think you’ve reached the top and are resting on your laurels, which is never good.