Over the past 25 years in the Fitness profession, I’ve seen 95% of trainers not only have no older clients but also NEVER speak to older folks in gyms all over America. I have to ask, “Why?” These are some of the many lame excuses I’ve heard from Trainers who worked for me:
“I have nothing in common with older people.”
“I can’t help that old dude. He’s way past gone.”
“I’m too cool.” and so on.
I feel the need to pass on some items that may actually help a few of you who are struggling and are still looking for the money to start falling from heaven now that you have some certification. I may not know what I’m talking about, but some 4,500 clients later, being a published fitness writer, having a six-figure income and being selected to the NFPT SME panel tell me otherwise.
First point is to speak to someone with gray hair at your gym today. Although you’re bulletproof in your twenties and thirties, you may live long enough to have gray hair also. Maybe 2% of all the clients I’ve ever worked with actually walked up to me in the early years. That has changed as I became more specialized and attained advanced certifications. Over the past three years I’ve had an “ongoing” waiting list of people willing to come and train with me on short notice! This happened after I developed a website, vehicle signs and by word of mouth in my local gym and community. Of course it didn’t hurt that I wrote a Sunday fitness column for the county newspaper reaching over 75,000 subscribers!
Next, get some advanced certifications. Study your butt off and have some creativity. Dozens of times my clients have told me, “You’re so different from any trainer I’ve ever known.” That, my friend, is THE ultimate compliment I could ever hope for. Why? Because 95% of trainers I’ve seen do the same exercises, same reps and basically the same weights with every client every day! If you can’t create enthusiasm, motivate, customize and keep your clients challenged, they’ll find someone like me that will.
My last tidbit is that the vast majority of the “expendable income” in America is in the hands of those of us over 55! If you didn’t know this, let me inform you that we trainers are in a service industry. Why then wouldn’t I want to endear myself to my clients and become the only trainer they’d ever use? For the record, this is the case with me. I never worry that a client will go somewhere else once we get acquainted.
Maybe this will be of some good service for trainers that want to develop as Fitness Professionals. That’s my hope.
Bill McGinnis is an NFPT-certified Master Fitness Trainer, and trains exclusively at the University of Texas Medical Branch Alumni Field House on Galveston Island, TX. He has over 25 years in the Fitness Industry, including work as the Men’s Fitness Trainer at the Betty Ford Center and as a Fitness Manager in Southern California. He currently specializes in training older clients for balance, strength, endurance, golf, tennis and an improved quality of life. He can be contacted at [email protected].