As a personal fitness trainer, if you do end up making a name for yourself, you’ll somehow or another rope in a Very Important Person. Whether this is an actor, CEO, top dog lawyer, political figure, world-class surgeon or anyone in their entourage, the following tips and tricks for training a VIP will apply.
Know Everything You Can About the Situation
You may go to their house where they have a private gym or they may come to your facility. If they are super rich, you will be on call for when they are ready.
Depending on the various scenarios, you would always want to know as much as possible about the set up and the person’s life – specifically how you fit into it. Don’t go prying around, just get a solid idea of the problem you are being hired to solve.
Sometimes this is as easy as “Keep me healthy and moving well, I hired you to walk me through this because I won’t do it myself.” Sometimes it is as difficult as “I have this new part and I was told I need to be more svelte.”
Example: If you don’t know what “svelte” is, well, I didn’t either. I had her look up some images on her phone and come up with a good idea of what it was because she was also confused. We looked up the definition, then we looked at pictures of svelte women. We agreed on a picture of a svelte woman as the target that she was aiming for, I took her picture (with her phone) in the same pose as the woman we found and then compared her to this woman.
Taking her through this process actually helped clarify her goals. She then had the pictures put up side by side and sent them to whoever told her she needed to be more svelte and they loved it and said, “That’s exactly what I’m looking for!”
With the goal clarified and everyone in agreement, we proceeded to move forward and I worked out a full plan on how to get there.
Understand that if this person is a VIP, then likely they have their own chiropractor, doctor, chef, massage therapist and dog walker on call. You are an addition to this group of people.
“Giving Orders” to a VIP
You are not just providing a service. That service involves giving orders and getting the VIP to execute your commands. Control isn’t a bad word or anything, people just screw up a lot with it. As a personal fitness trainer, you should be good at this already.
Every human being is different. Everyone responds to training in a different way.
This also relates to what the exercise session means to them. If they are doing exercise only to chill out and get their mind off of things, you would train them differently than an actor who’s going to be naked on screen in 2 months.
Privacy is Obviously Important
As you can see from the above, I had to dig into her life a bit to clarify what she was going for. Get your clients to talk. Every piece of information is valuable in helping you figure out how to help them.
Most people are hesitant to invade someone’s privacy but if you don’t, then you’re not doing your job. When I have a client who talks a lot, I can read them like an open book. It is the quiet once that keep me on my toes.
If you dig much into their privacy just for the glamour of knowing some “inside data” on a public figure, you are very far from doing your job. You’ll get a reputation for being a blabbermouth and no one will want to work with you.
Your Demeanor and How You Address a VIP
This is something that is different for every VIP. Some want to be on a first name basis with you. Others prefer a specific title.
Some want to work with a fitness trainer who’s in their face the whole time and counting every repetition. Some just want to space out for that hour, but still have you around to work out a plan and make sure they are doing things right.
There is one woman I have worked with and once I set her up and she she’s rolling, she looks at me and says: “Go away.”
Objective Measurements, Objective Results
You may get away with some of your regular clients by not keeping good paperwork, but you’ve got to have it all in with your VIP. There is no “winging it” or doing something off the cuff. Document what was done with every workout and let the VIP know that in the future, when you both part ways, the VIP can keep it and show their future trainer.
I found that this is very, very helpful. Both from a training point and from a client satisfaction point. This way the person doesn’t have to remember what was done and explain it. The VIP can say, “I like what this guy did, could we do some more of it?” or “This is my old workout. I want something more intense.” I started doing this because I found myself wishing that the prior trainer had written something down. Non-Fitness Trainers aren’t always good at explaining exercise.
It is also good to have for a doctor or chiropractor if there are other physical issues being addressed.
In fact, start doing this with all of your clients and you’ll be a shining star of a trainer. You’re up front. You’re honest. You don’t have some delusions about marrying your clients forever. AND you are thinking of their future without you. Congratulations, you just made yourself more valuable.
Take Your Clients to a Win
If you’re training someone of importance, take them to a win. Take the workout to a good point. This is actually good advice for any client you train.
There’s a sweet spot between “not enough burn” and “too much burn.” Orient everything towards the stated goal.
VIPs usually like their privacy. Sometimes you’ll have to sign a waiver or twelve just to see them. Don’t brag to your friends or put it up on social media. Whether it is a small VIP (like a local TV news anchor) or a big one (like a movie star), treat them with the same amount of respect.
If you’re good, you’ll get paid more and they will recommend you to their other friends and word will spread without you even opening your mouth. This is the usual way trainers get clients
Otherwise, just be yourself and train as you would train anyone else. I have found that most VIPs I work with like me because I treat them like a normal person. We are just two people spending an hour together in the gym.