The term “personal trainer” was not made up by accident. What has become the title for our profession is still the definition of what we do. It is a definition of how we train people. For the most part our job as personal trainers is one-on-one training with clients. Group training is becoming more and more popular recently but, it is important not to stray away from the roots of our profession.

I believe that at the heart of our profession is the one-on-one, client to trainer relationship. Without this we would simply be professional spotters. I am not saying that to diminish our profession or our abilities to help people. I am simply stating that being personal is what separates a personal trainer from a gym employee.

So what does being personal mean? That could depend on your own personal views, but I like to think it represents the manner in which we as trainers handle and treat our clients. Making each client their own workout routine based on their goals, designing a custom diet plan and listening to their feedback to make improvements. This may seem like common practice for most of us, but are the foundation of what separates you from another trainer that doesn’t do that. If you take that away we would treat everyone the same and give them all the same advice.

The most successful trainers that I know have mastered the art of being personal with their clients. They are not overly nice and they don’t take them out for coffee on Saturday mornings. But they give each client the personal attention necessary for them to be successful in their fitness goals. Doing things like going with them to get a gate test to see what type of running shoe they should buy, or going to the grocery store to help them make better choices in purchasing healthy food. Things like this are what separate them from the average trainer. If you are already doing things like this that is great. You are ahead of the game and on the right track.

Being personal with your clients doesn’t have to mean making them your best friend or crossing the line with friendly gestures. It simply means taking the extra steps to ensure they feel like you are giving them what you are charging for, personal training. Being personal with your clients will help ensure that they are repeat customers. There is nothing wrong with teaching group fitness classes, they are great, and many people feel more comfortable in them. Just remember what it means to be a personal trainer.