Perspective: Why it pays to get to grips with your craft

Learning more about the tools you train clients with is critical for building credibility, trust and career success, says Presenter of the Year, Andrew 'Chaddy' Chadwick.

Life as a PT or group fitness instructor can be very rewarding, but as you probably know, it can also be very demanding. Time is your only real commodity and what you do with it impacts your business significantly. Consider everything you have to do to keep your business running. Conduct your sessions, write your clients programs, set them accomplishments to achieve outside of sessions, do your admin and invoicing, follow up on leads, train yourself, and learn how to use equipment properly and understand which clients it may be suitable for. Hang on, what was that last one? Yes, you read correctly: educate yourself on how to use equipment properly and who to use it with!

Your certification gives you an understanding of the impact of training stress on the body. It does not make you an expert on all the tools on the gym floor and the potential physical and emotional impact they can have on members or clients. Investing time and (tax deductible) dollars into learning more about the tools you use is as important as every other aspect of your business. It shouldn't just be relegated to something a peak body requires you to do to remain registered. It actually provides return on investment in the form of increased confidence and ability to deliver a better experience to clients that will strengthen their trust in your ability to guide them on their health and fitness journeys.

As a Senior Master Instructor for several companies I encounter a lot of course participants who have been using specific equipment for a while and think they're just there to get some points for re-registration. I also get people who claim semi-mastery of a piece of kit because they once did a convention session on it, and then, of course, I get people that Googled it and know all there is to know. At some point in the course, all of these people will say Oh I was doing that wrong or Why havent I been doing it that way? The answer to the last question is because youve been making it up. And yes, your clients can sense it.

Theres some excellent reference material out there that can be a good starting point and give you some insights into training with a specific tool – but unless you undergo some practical training you will never fully understand the application of the techniques, or the subtle differences between, as we say, what good looks and feels like.

Information changes as our applicable knowledge of training human beings evolves. If you did a course five years ago, go back and do it again! Good education providers will update their courses as we learn more about training humans.

Realistically, even if you are trained by the very best and most engaging instructor, youre likely to remember only around 15 to 25% of everything you are taught during a training course. This is why I question the efficacy of clubs or chains sending one team member to do a course in order to then pass on what they learn to the rest of the team. If they recount only a modest percentage of what they were told to their team, who in in turn remember only a percentage of what they learn, it becomes a case of ever diminishing returns. Most courses are only one or two days, so if you specialise in training clients in specific apparatus, it makes sense to invest this relatively small amount of time and money in truly getting to grips with it.

Finally, beware cheap imitations! Go to reputable companies that offer the registered official education. The official TRX Suspension Training Course, for example, runs for at least eight hours – and deals with just one piece of equipment. If another course provider promises to get you skilled in a range of suspension training tools in half the time, you should probably question the veracity of that claim. When considering a course, ask the company if they are the official education suppliers for that tool – and dont let them bulls@#t you!

Education is more than just an investment of your time and money: it is an investment in your current and prospective clients trust in you and your ability to guide them to their health and wellness goals.

Andrew 'Chaddy' Chadwick
Chaddy has been a PT for over 10 years. He is a PTA Global Faculty Member, TRX and Trigger Point Performance Senior Master Instructor, ViPR pro trainer, and SandBells and Kettlebell instructor. Chaddys passion for movement and coaching inspires others to learn more about the human being, not just the human body. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.