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Professional Personal Training: Does It Exist?

Phil Graham Bodybuilder

When you pay for a service – What kind of standards do you expect? How do you like to be treated?

The answers pretty simple…

If you’re like me, you’ll seek the best possible service and want to get the most out of your hard earned cash.

Professionalism is important in any industry. However, it’s even more important in an industry saturated with highly unprofessional self-proclaimed experts.

We’ve all heard of the trainers taking calls/sending texts behind clients backs during sessions. The trainers who claim to know it all and consider their limited level of knowledge/experience as the only approach to each and every client regardless of inter individual goals, medical conditions and level of skill.

We have the glorified fitness model personal trainer built on a wealth of fake purchased facebook likes, gear and photoshop. Then we have the bully trainer, who’ll do everything they can to break you down, belittle you and make you fear for your life if you decide to leave.

Heck, there are plenty of trainers sleeping with ‘plenty’ of their clients – this list could go on for quite some time, so i’ll stop here before I get someone in trouble.


As a whole I feel standards in the industry need to change! Especially when I consider the role of a highly educated/experienced personal trainer/nutritionist just as, if not more important (in certain cases) than other health care professionals (Doctor, Nurse, Psychologist, Physio) as a means of promoting health.

How Would I Know?

Because, I’ve played a vital role in helping improve the quality and longevity of many peoples lives.

It’s my passion and my job to ensure Results – the evidence speaks for itself; improvements in client body composition, movement, performance, blood work and mindset.

You can’t argue with solid results – they speak volumes in my line of work.

I’m inspired to write this for two reasons:

  • If you’re a personal trainer and want to make a living as a fitness professional, it might be a good idea to start acting Professionally for once! I outline my thoughts on what it takes to provide a professional service.
  • I want the public to differentiate the wood from the tress when it comes to choosing a honest, educated and highly passionate trainer over a money grabber who will put your health at risk.

What Do I Mean By The Term Professional?

Q. Are you insured?

If so, who with? (are they Kosher?) and for how much? (More services – more responsibility)

Q. Are you qualified?

You could argue experience is just as if not more important. However, qualifications are important factors that add both credibility and respectability to your brand. Never mind stand you in good stead if shit was to ever hit the fan. Also just because you have a qualification doesn’t mean your learning is over, strive to know more – question everything, listen, apply, adapt – LEARN!


Q. Is your fitness facility friendly, tidy, accessible and most importantly equipped to do the job?

The paying public (your clients) deserve high quality service at all times. Give them a service you would love to experience yourself. Do you have a cleaner? Do you re-invest in new equipment? Is equipment maintained? Do you have car parking access? Always put yourself in your client’s shoes!

Q. Are you advancing your own knowledge and CPD?

Are you seeking out ways you can improve your current business model, academic and practical understanding of what you teach, coach and promote? This includes business acumen.

Q. Do you expect too much too soon?

Are you patient with your client? Everyone needs to start somewhere, especially when it comes to lifestyle change and partaking in exercise. Expecting your client to be 100% perfect from day one is not realistic. Keep the pressure on, but don’t be too forward, no one likes a pest! If their heart is in it, everything will fall in to place provided your coaching strategy is well planned.

Q. Do you purposely run down other trainers and gyms?

Forget it – such a waste a time. Don’t lower yourself. Let them find out for themselves. However, there may be the odd exception, an article like this or pre-warning a client who really wants to train with you but can’t because you’re fully booked. Even still it should be done in a professional manor. I’ve always found the personal trainers bitching about other trainers aren’t really that busy nor successful – go figure!

Q. Do you have a website/online presence?

Does it provide credible and useful content? Does it add trust to the viewer? Is there a call to action? Can you speak to the person directly?

Q. Have you bought Facebook likes?

Not the smartest thing in the world to do. Yes, it may make you look famous. But truthfully, fake likes aren’t paying or genuinely interested customers! If you suspect sculduggery just click into a post and see who’s engaged, its highly obvious whats fake vs real. Such practices say a lot about ones way of doing business – The saying fake it till you make it comes to mind!


Q. Got an E-mail address?

Maybe you think I’m being too fussy here. Truth, there isn’t much wrong with Google or Hotmail accounts – they get the job done. But, a bespoke email looks sharp and sounds so much better; for example: info@pro-fitness.com

Q. Do you wear a uniform?

Again, not essential but shows you take pride in your brand. Certain customers will take note of this and well, like it! This helps create culture within your brand.

Q. Do you use make shift Equipment?

In some cases yes this proves intuition. However, some things need to be built by a professional. I guess walking along a 10 foot wall holding two sledge hammers isn’t the safest of exercise drills. (True story)

U.S. Marine lifts weights in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province

The One Major Exception – Are you in control?

  • Is your service in high demand?
  • Do you have a massive waiting list?
  • Do you achieve incredible results with your clients?
  • Does most of your business come from word of mouth and reputation?
  • Do you back all of this up with a good personality and high level of customer service?

If you answered yes to any of these you must be doing something right, you’re in a much more flexible position to dodge some of the points I’ve mentioned. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them. Keep going!

On The Other Hand….

If you answered no, I advise you re-read my previous points seriously.

As always I’d love to hear your thoughts…