Great Trainers ADVISE

As our industry experiences a paradigm shift where the focus becomes “member satisfaction” rather than member enrollment, the trainer/client connection becomes the key to long-term prosperity. Great trainers, given the right compensation plan, can generate significant revenues for themselves and the organizations they work for. Too few clubs recognize the inherent value of a great trainer.

I've identified three types of personal trainers. “Good ones,” “great ones,” and…the others. Find the good ones, create the great ones, and send the others packing.

The others fall short on professionalism. They are notorious for leaning on the front desk, they are exceptional at counting backward from 15, and they display attention-deficit tendencies as their clients perform repetitive movements with little actual direction.

Good trainers show up on time, prepared for each session. They prescribe safe exercise routines and hold their positions in high esteem. Hire good trainers and you're at the starting line. What would elevate someone from being a good trainer to a level of excellence? Greatness training.

Great trainers are prepared for each session, and they approach each client relationship with a result-oriented long-range strategy. Great trainers are invaluable to clients, not only on the workout floor, but also during time spent in an office reviewing lifestyle strategies. Great trainers are exceptional at developing rapport and using that rapport to act in the role of advisors.

Every great trainer has had a client remark, “this is unbelievable! I lost 20 pounds!” The question that begs to be asked is, “why is it unbelievable?” Isn't that precisely what the client paid for?

When it comes to fitness and weight loss, people are so used to failing, and so willing to blame themselves, they're shocked when the desired results manifest. With a commitment to excellence, and a focus on outcome, a great trainer can facilitate results with every client, but not by exercise alone.

A mechanism must be in place whereby the trainer can act in an advisory role, serving as a resource for truth in the area of supplementation, fad diets, fat reduction strategies, functional exercise strategies, and exercise psychology. The most important aspect lies in the trainer's ability to get inside the client's head and understand and avoid the obstacles that limit achievement.


If the trainer learns to ADVISE, results, satisfaction and financial and emotional gratification all fall into place. ADVISE is an acronym that breaks down as follows.

  • Activate

    In order for results to manifest, members must commit to motion and momentum. A single workout isn't enough to bring about a result, but it is a step in the right direction. Great trainers become adept at not only activating the motion necessary to start the process of positive physical change, but also activating necessary momentum and follow through.

  • Direct

    In a perfect world, clients would comprehend and follow every suggestion made by a personal trainer. In a perfect world it would also rain hundred dollar bills. Until green starts to fall from the sky, great trainers will have to accept that their clients will stumble, misstep, and falter, and require ongoing guidance to zero in on their goals.

  • Value

    Great trainers not only satisfy their clients, but they deliver more value than clients expect. In the first session a client will recognize a great trainer's passion, commitment, and knowledge, and will walk away immediately seeing the value in continued investment.

  • Integrity

    A person of integrity is one who is consistent and congruent, who “does the right thing,” even when doing so is challenging. A personal trainer of integrity is someone who walks the talk, maintains a fitness lifestyle, and who can stand behind every suggestion, recommendation, and prescribed action. As fraud and deception have permeated the fitness and weight loss industries at a disheartening level, great trainers offer a steadfast resource for truth.

  • Sincerity

    In Roman times, sculptors could command significant fees for flattering imagery carved in stone. Inferior sculptors learned to hide mistakes by creating paste from wax and dust, and they'd use that wax, which was invisible at first glance, to sell imperfect works. In the marketplace, the words, “sin cera,” translated to “without wax,” became the representation of “the real thing.” Great trainers are “the real thing.” Not only do they exhibit integrity, but they maintain a “real” devotion to each and every client.

  • Empower

    Great trainers educate their clients and empower them to keep results consistent and ongoing. Great trainers' clients rarely “need” their trainers, but they continue to train because they enjoy the interaction and treasure the payoff.

Create a team of great trainers and position them so they can prosper as they generate revenue, and watch member satisfaction translate into revenue, retention, and financial abundance.

Phil Kaplan is a fitness professional, author and speaker and has worked to escalate the effectiveness and profitability of fitness professionals worldwide. He conceptualized and has helped to create and structure the Fitness 21 Team in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Visit

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