Tips for Personal Trainers and Coaches / by James Leath

*Links are bold and underlined Certifications: "What company should I get certified with?" is a question I get all the time. Between my brother-in-law trainer and myself, I think in 5 years we have been asked twice. The general public is not interested in who you are certified under, only that you know what you are doing and you can deliver results. Get certified to build confidence and knowledge, not to impress people. Trust me, a trainer with 10 certifications is not impressive to anyone but themselves. Whoever you go through, stay current through continuing education units and ALWAYS have insurance. Some companies to check out for certification are: ACE, NASM, ACSM, and ISSA. There are many others, but these are the ones I know of the most because I have gone through their programs. TIP: Find out what is popular in your area, and what certifications are accepted at the place you want to work.

Websites I have always used GoDaddy for domains. Start a blog, not a stale website. Wordpress has been the blog of choice for me. Many reasons, too many for here. They are the best in my book. Stand alone websites pale in comparison to blog in regards to repeat traffic. Buy your name (, or your brand and forward the domain to your blog.

Email and Calendar Connect your free GoDaddy email account to a Google Apps account. That way you have a calendar an can use the Google Docs with clients.

Mindbody for your business I use MINDBODY to run my business. It is the most comprehensive, easy to use program I have ever come across. You can even get a merchant account that cost WAY less than using PayPal. In fact, when I went to headquarters for training on the software, I was offered a job. So, full disclosure, I loved the product/company so much I now work for them. If you are considering using Mindbody, click here to shoot me an email for a free demonstration. It truly is an amazing product. I wouldn't promote it if it wasn't.

AWeber for Newsletter Its a toss-up between AWeber and Constant Contact. Both are great. If you go with Mindbody, they have an integration tool with Constant Contact. But these are the best two out there. I was with AWeber for a while but switched to Constant Contact when I started with MINDBODY. I am pretty happy with the switch. Most of my clients keep track of their own measurements and keep a food journal using Its a great tool, plus there is an iPhone app.

Google Docs Again, Google Apps is the way to go. Using Google Docs to create forms for your clients is an amazing way to keep them accountable. Great for food journals and exercise prescription.

Register with Fitness Connect IDEA FitnessConnect is the largest fitness professional directory, connecting more than 16 million consumers to more than 200,000 fitness professionals with credentials verified by the top 23 fitness certification bodies...and its FREE. (I copied that straight from their site.)

Get a mentor You need a mentor/coach. Grab someone you respect and offer to buy them a sandwich in exchange for picking their brain. I have a trainer/coaching program you can find here if you want that person to be me, or you can click here to shoot me an email. Whoever it is, it is very important and valuable to have a mentor.

Read good books Don't waste too much time reading about anatomy. Your clients don't give a crap what deltoids are. Its called a shoulder- call it that. Search out books on psychology and self-help. These are the subjects your clients want to talk about. Some favorites include:

  • Think and Grow Rich
  • The Influencer
  • The Talent Code
  • Man's Search for Meaning

Dropbox Account Use the above link to create a dropbox account to share files with clients that are too big to send over email. You get 2GB for free and extra if you share it. I use this to share videos/clips with my clients.