You can have all the qualities common to professionals (honesty, reliability, etc.) and all the qualities particular to the field of exercise (knowledge and experience in the field). That is often sufficient to be successful, but it might not be enough for the more advanced client or those who want to go to the “next level”. The really good trainers possess the quality of being able to be “in the moment"; this special quality will enable a trainer to take the client to the next level.
The next level? Someone exercising is willing to exercise at a certain level by themselves. That level is less than the absolute maximum they are capable of. A good fitness trainer who is in the moment will get the subject to go to the next level - somewhere above what they are willing to do and closer to what they are truly capable of. As one of my clients once told me, “I pay you to give me a workout I could not possibly get by myself”.
What is being in the moment? The trainer will know what the client is experiencing every repetition of every exercise. To do so the personal trainer will pay close attention to cues –breathing, breaks in form, facial expressions, and what the client tells them. By paying close attention to the client the trainer will be able to anticipate the breaks in form and be able to talk them through it without an interruption in the flow of the exercise. As the set becomes difficult the trainer will be able to help the client with breathing and help the client avoid the panic that can happen when doing demanding work. Each client will respond differently on each exercise. A personal trainer should intimately know how each client will respond on each exercise or each exercise sequence. A personal trainer might ask for “one more” when the client is about to throw in the towel. The client is thinking, “OK just one more, I don’t want to quit so close to the end”.
Years ago at a health club during one set I heard a trainer tell the client “one more” six times. He had no idea what that client was capable of. He had no idea where that client was in the particular set. The trainer was constantly looking at his watch. His body language shouted out boredom. That personal trainer was not in the moment as the client was going through a difficult workout.
The trainer who is in the moment will be totally consumed with what is going on with a client during those most difficult repetitions. There is great satisfaction in taking the client to a level the client could not possibly achieve by herself. The trainer will draw upon all her knowledge of that individual client and all her past experience working with that client. She will use whatever psychological ploys she knows that had worked in the past. The client will really appreciates it, and it is anything but boring for the trainer.
At Austin Fitness Trainers and at New Orleans Personal Trainers our workout program involves high intensity interval training. It is a challenging workout, but the trainers slowly build the clients up to that workout. Our trainers have been through the same process. Our New Orleans fitness trainers and Austin fitness trainers often spend months working out and interning before they take on clients for one simple reason: Before being able to be in the moment with a client the personal trainer must first have been there themselves.