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by Casey McIlvaine

Every personal trainer should be striving to become a standout among personal trainers. The question often comes down to what does that mean? Here’s a hint: it mostly comes from within rather than outside of you, which may require a little explanation.

Clients choose personal fitness trainers for a wide variety of reasons. If the reasons that they look for a personal trainer are as varied as their needs, then what can make a personal trainer standout for all of them? It isn’t the latest equipment or the elite clientele or the posh studios that make a personal trainer a standout among personal trainers. It’s attention to detail, consistency, the right attitude and a view of each client that is based on knowing them and their needs individually. Only then can you hope to create a fitness program that serves them well and gets them to their goals.


1. Listening to Your Clients

Believe it or not, clients can tell if you are creating your programming by the numbers or putting in the work to create something that is just for them. When the exercise routines work them too hard or not hard enough; when the explanations of what you want them to do sound canned and devoid of value in terms of information for the short and long term; when you ask too few questions and bring too little knowledge to the table. These are all signs to them that they are not getting the individualized support that they are paying for.

Although standout trainers borrow information all the time, they learn to put it into practice in ways that fit the needs of the individual client. They will work to tweak and rearrange the programming elements to fit the client’s needs and goals. This information and programming elements are also part of a health and wellness assessment as well as a nutritional balance approach that all must be designed for the individual.

2. Taking the Time to Create Individualized Programs

Programming is not an afterthought. It’s an integral part of the safety and success of your sessions. This level of work and detail is what makes the difference between a standout trainer and an average trainer.

A standout trainer will have discussions with each client before starting any training to access their goals, health status, background and nutrition. The best will utilize a number of tools and techniques to get a more accurate assessment of fitness and health as well as ask for some input from your physician to make sure that any health conditions are understood and accounted for. This helps to inform the first one or two general sessions to get a more accurate assessment of what needs to be done to create a customized fitness program for each client.

Patience and consistency are hallmarks of a quality trainer so the ability to calmly and clearly communicate with each client is essential for having a productive and gratifying experience with them. That doesn’t mean that they don’t push and motivate their clients. They just know how to do it without being pushy or aggressive so that the experience is challenging but still enjoyable and inspiring.

a personalized personal training program

3. Working Hard for Every Client (Not Just High-Paying Ones)

Speaking of patience and consistency, they can also be applied to the intersection of fee schedules and work ethic. It shouldn’t matter whether a client falls into the elite range and pays for the most extensive program that a trainer has available or they are getting a discount when paying for a series of general sessions. The standout trainers provide the same high level of service to every client consistently throughout every session.

Being a good trainer means also being a good business person so that you create a living budget that can be adhered to from month to month. That means if you’re dealing with a high percentage of block program payment clients, you make the income from these clients spread across the block period as part of your expenditure budget. That not only helps you to better manage your money, but it also works to help keep you motivated to provide the same level of consistency to the client at the end of the block as at the beginning when the money comes in.

4. Sharing Your Knowledge With Your Clients

Standout trainers are always bringing their clients to the table of knowledge and letting them partake. While a subpar personal trainer tries to hold onto as much knowledge as possible to keep clients dependent on them, the best trainers understand that the more they share with their clients, the stronger the bond.

This confidence in oneself is based on training and hard work for the mind and the body so standout trainers are constantly working to learn new things and create new ways to help their clients. In the end, the client never learns everything there is to learn from a standout trainer, but is always fulfilled and eager for more. This is the key to long-term clients as well as word-of-mouth clients.

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