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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Large Men Lifting Heavy Loads

In honor of me moving to a new apartment this weekend, let us watch these inspiration clips of heavy lifting in action. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Build Yourself A Sandbag For Free

I wanted a sandbag. So I went to the beach and made one.

First, I collected all the essential gear:

  • 2 old gym bags
  • 4 contractor bags
  • Packing tape

After collecting the gear, I went to the beach.

I wanted the final sandbag to be adjustable so I could use it with my clients. So instead of just one large sack full of sand, I created two smaller sacks out of doubled-up contractor bags. These smaller sacks can be added or subtracted from the main gym bag as needed. After taping the sacks closed, they look like this:

Individually, each gym bag is old and flimsy so I decided it was safer to place one inside the other, with the sand sacks in the middle:

The final product is a nifty little piece of equipment.

Because of the size of the gym bags, the final weight of the sandbag is about 40 lbs. This is too light for me to do serious strength training so I would like to create another sandbag closer to the 100 lbs mark.

I also think I put too much sand into the sacks, so everything is a lot stiffer than I would have liked. Always remember that 3/4-full is a good ballpark when filling a sandbag. The floppiness of the bag is what gives the equipment its trademark characteristics.

For a first attempt at home-made equipment, I'm very proud of this project. I already know how to improve my design for next time. I truly believe the upgrade is going to be awesome!

Monday, June 15, 2009

6 Ways To Be More Awesome

My boss and I had a short conversation not too long ago about appearance and perception: What kind of trainer do I appear to be? And how do potential clients perceive me when I'm on the floor training myself and others?

Today I want to focus on how appearance and perception lead to success in the fitness industry. Below is a follow-up article to my post on how to become the best at anything. In it I will lay out the steps I feel are needed to become an awesome personal trainer. These steps have counterparts in any field so don't be afraid to apply them to your situation, whatever that job may be.

Step 1: Accept Your Path
First understand that there there is no wrong way to become a personal trainer. A degree in exercise science may shorten the learning curve, but it is no substitute for on-the-job experience. Your background is what makes you unique from the other trainers at your gym. Your personal story can help color how you are perceived by potential clients and can help established a possible niche market for your services.

Step 2: Certify

Certification from a nationally recognized organization (like the ACSM or the NSCA) means you understand the basics of proper program design, human physiology and client relations. Certification from a well-respected organization tells potential employees that you are serious about being a fitness professional and will not endanger your clients or the facility. If your industry doesn't have a certification, ask yourself, "What credentials do the most respected individuals in my field have?" and attempt to obtain similar credentials.

Step 3: Refine Your Technique
Certification is important, but it must always be considered the minimum standard of competence for any profession. Once you certify, you must keep learning new skills and improving old ones. Most fitness credentials require you to re-certify every few years by providing proof of continuing education, so you really have no excuse not to learn something novel and applicable for your clients.

By learning new things, you also refine your methodology as a fitness professional. What populations do you enjoy working with? What techniques get you the best results? Do you work better one-on-one or in small groups? Blend your new-found knowledge with your existing experience and background and see where it takes you. New certifications and specializations help clarify to clients what they can expect while working with you.

Step 4: Put You First
Your physical appearance and how potential clients perceive you are very important. If you claim to be a speed specialist, how fast do you run a 40 yard dash? If you're a nutrition expert, how often do you eat healthy foods? Leading by example is any easy way to build trust. Seeing is believing, and nothing can turn a potential client into an actual client faster than your own proof-positive results.

Step 5: Expand Your Network
Business doesn't happen in a vacuum. Get out of your gym and meet new people!

Attending conferences and workshops is a great way to meet others in your field. It's also a great way to make new friends and establish professional contacts. Find mentors and ask questions of those that know more than you. Never hesitate to refer your clients to other professionals for special services. The deeper your working relationship, the easier it will be for your colleagues to refer their clients to you when the need arises.

Step 6: Expand Your Product Line
The more trust and confidence you can instill in your clients and in the communities you serve, the easier it will be to sell these people new products and services later on. Write an e-book and distribute it on your website. Create a clinic and invite all your past clients to attend. Contact newspapers in your neighborhood and offer your services as a consultant on future articles.

If you appear knowledgeable and confident, your clients will perceive you as trustworthy and worthy of their time and money. The more you deliver on your promises of firmer bodies and smaller waistlines (or heavier lifts and faster lap times, as the case may be) the more your market will turn to you for expert advice. The secrete is delivering on your promises.

Don't let your clients down. They'll thank you time and time again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Need Brass Balls

I've been reading about sales and marketing. And like in any business, fitness professionals must know how to sell their services effectively.

Personal Trainers must identify prospects, ascertain their problem and offer a solution; understand and abate any hesitations they may have; and then finally close the deal. Most importantly, this new client must perceive benefit from this relationship or it will quickly dissolve, so the training program better work in a timely fashion.

Happy clients lead to good referrals and more prospects!

I'm very good at writing programs, but not so good at closing the deal (or maintaining the new account for that matter). I know my service is good, but how do I convince my clients and prospect of that?

And like Alec Baldwin says in the clip above, I will need to find my brass balls and become better at marketing my services and selling my product. But I don't need to do it alone, I welcome your tips and suggestions. Please leave comments below.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Client Testimonials #3

Charlie Danis, 19 (May 2009, Chicago):
I am proud to say that Derek Peruo is my personal trainer. When I came to DePaul, I made it a goal of mine to stay physically fit. I did not want to gain the “freshman 15” and wanted to gain muscle as well. I always look forward to working out with Derek. I get so much out of my workout because he is right there motivating me and teaching me proper technique. I always go 100% because Derek inspires me to put forth my best. It also helps that Derek is a guy who you can talk to and he has a friendly demeanor which makes working out with him that much more enjoyable. I could not be happier with Derek being my personal trainer.