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COACHINGSOLUTIONS

Can you describe your background in fitness? Feel free to go way back!
I started as a track athlete in highschool. This is where my introduction to the weight room began. My weight was up and down from highschool throughout college and it was when I enrolled in my master’s program that I decided to get more serious about my health & wellness. I hired a personal trainer for 6 months and I never looked back. I lost 60lbs 10 years ago and have kept it off since. I’ve been a personal trainer for 8 yrs now and I have been consistently in the gym or training for something. To keep fitness fun & interesting – I always liked to sign up for a race of some sort. I completed over 12 half marathons, LA marathon, Malibu Triathlon, Spartan Races, Ragnar, and many 5k races. As you can see, many endurance sports. In 2017 – Olympic Lifting and Powerlifting piqued my interest. I am a lifelong learner so I avidly went online to do my own research about this style of training and hired a powerlifting coach to teach me proper form for the big 3 movements. I competed for the first time in 2017 and won 3rd place. I have my 2nd powerlifting compeition coming up in July 2020.  I love helping people build a foundation and help them get stronger mentally & physically. 
What was it like working a full-time job and training part-time? What were your challenges?
I enjoyed the best of both worlds – I enjoy managing a business and my fitness career. I always desired to connect with more people regarding health & wellness and I knew that I needed to take the leap
Can you briefly describe your 30-day challenge?
I was looking for women & men who wanted to build better habits, improve their body composition, and be the best version of themselves! I offered 5 weeks of coaching. My challengers received  all inclusive access to Everfit.IO that housed all of their workouts and access to their food journal. The main goal was to strive to get stronger over the next 5 weeks. Along with their focus being on strength,  dialing in their nutrition, and habits.
What were the results of your program?

  • # of clients 23
  • Retention rate 8
  • Client feedback – They loved the community aspect and accountability from other challenges and coach. They loved having a structured training program with videos to follow along and progression/regression options
  • Other insights you had – having the now released feature – food journal to share pics would be ideal to coach challengers to share their meals. Having a similar group page via Everfit would help keep the challenge on one platform

Do you have any advice for a part-time trainer wanting to make the jump to fulltime?
Follow your heart desires and step into your superpower. What do you find yourself constantly thinking about?

Laura is a strength and conditioning specialist and exercise scientist based in Seattle, WA. With her background in athletics and extensive knowledge of exercise physiology, Laura equips her clients with effective and efficient workouts to help them get stronger, get fitter, and embrace their bodies for their abilities.

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COACHINGSOLUTIONS

Transitioning your personal training clients onto an online platform is hard enough. But growing your business? At first, this can seem like a monumental task. We all know how hard it is as small business owners and entrepreneurs to start and scale a business. Generating enough revenue to invest back into your business and pay yourself seems almost impossible at first. And then marketing to get more clients to come to you… Building client-trainer relationships… The list could go on and on.
But you’ve been able to successfully transition all your current in-person clients to remote training. (If you need tips on how to do this, click here to read my previous post outlining 4 steps to help transition in-person clients to remote training). So now what? How do we continue to grow and thrive as personal trainers, but now from the comfort of your own home?
You need a plan. You need a clear vision of what you want your training business to look like to help decision-making seem less daunting.

  1. Do a brain dump. Take all the thoughts you have in your head and start writing! Whatever ideas you may have to start to grow and scale your online clientele – write that down! You never know what may make sense on paper. Once you have all your ideas down, you can pick and choose what makes the most sense for you to do at this point in time, what aligns the best with your business model, and what would best reflect your mission statement. Some examples may be to offer a week of free remote training, start a promotion with your current clients for referrals, build out a referral program and system with rewards. The list could go on. Once you’ve compartmentalized your thoughts, you’ll be able to take the next step to make it a reality.
  2. See what can be improved upon. Let’s face it. You got a lot of free time on your hands now. If you don’t and your schedule is packed full of clients, then why are you even reading this blog post? For myself, I’ve been working on improving my website SEO to make it easier for people to find me. I’ve also been working on social media content to bring value to my program, grow my audience, and potentially bring more business in. Do you need online reviews? Ask for them. Could you be making more content? Plan and execute. Find what you’ve been lacking in and use your newfound time to build and improve upon in.
  3. Don’t forget about your clients. In the midst of trying to scale and grow, don’t forget that the clients you have and the clients you want to add to your base are people. And because they’re people, they do crave a human relationship. So be there for your clients and continue to build up your relationships and trust with them. My most loyal clients who I’ve been working with for the longest have been the biggest source of referrals for me. Referrals are such a strong marketing tool so leverage them as much as you can.
  4. Network! Even though we are stuck at home, this doesn’t mean we still can’t meet and talk with people. Zoom calls are a great way to continue to strengthen your networking relationships, which may be another great source of referrals. Specifically building relationships with other professionals whose services complement yours such as physical therapists and dieticians. Promote each other on social media and help each other build an audience. This will benefit both of you and add more value to your networking relationship.
  5. Productivity! Being stuck at home can be trying on your self-discipline and self-motivation. Your schedule is pretty much yours to manipulate, which can be a blessing and a curse depending on how structured you are. I tend to be the Type A type person; I love checking things off my to-do lists.  

My top tips for productivity:

  • Wake up early! This is a personal preference. I find that I get most of my work done in the morning around times where I have virtual training sessions. This leaves my afternoon free for more training sessions, my own workouts, errands, and maybe more work if I didn’t get everything done in the morning.
  • Brain dump! I love brain dumps, can’t you tell? Todoist.com is my favorite productivity tool right now. I’ll open it up as I eat breakfast and throw everything that I can think of that I want to get done that day onto Todoist.
  • Work in sprints! I never spend more than an hour on a project. In fact, writing this blog post was done in quick spurts. I have a relatively short attention span so I pull up e.ggtimer.com, set a timer for 1 hour, and try to get as much as I can check off my to-do list. But once that timer is up, it’s hands-off and time for a quick 10-minute Instagram scroll. Then I repeat!

Whether you use these tips or you come up with your own system of planning and productivity, remember to stay true to your brand and who are you. Don’t create and put content out there just for the sake of creating and putting out content. Make sure you stay true to the message you want to convey to your ideal audience. Having a consistent message and branding will help build your online credibility and presence and give people more of a reason to listen and trust you.

If you need help, ask for it! Branding and marketing are probably the hardest things that I’ve had to learn how to do. If you have a friend whose savvy with that kind of stuff, ask them for help. This is also where networking comes in handy. Ask other trainers how they create their content, work on social media, and reach an audience. Build your tribe.

Utilize the resources you have around you. One of the easiest resources and most inexpensive are social media. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn are great platforms to be putting out your content to reach more people. After all, everyone is home so social media activity should be up!

I’m by no means an expert in any of this; I simply am a one-woman team and have experience with building an audience up and building my brand and business up from nothing. It’s taken late nights, early mornings, and sacrifice to be able to accomplish what I have and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. I’m happy to connect with anyone who may have questions on content creation, social media strategies, or networking. You can contact me at laura@lstraining.net. I love connecting with other people in the fitness industry to learn from each other and to help market one another and grow our businesses!

Laura is a strength and conditioning specialist and exercise scientist based in Seattle, WA. With her background in athletics and extensive knowledge of exercise physiology, Laura equips her clients with effective and efficient workouts to help them get stronger, get fitter, and embrace their bodies for their abilities.

Categories
COACHINGSOLUTIONS

Average read time: 5 min
niche
/niCH,nēSH/

  • noun

a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.

  • adjective:

denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.
What do Bret Contreras – The Glute Guy; Eric Cressey – Baseball Development; Rich Roll – Plant powered ultra-endurance athlete; Mark Fisher – Serious Fitness Solutions for Ridiculous Humans and Nicole Wilkins – IFBB Figure champ, all have in common?
They all have a niche that helps them in building their personal brand, and are incredibly knowledgeable in their fields. 
Do you need a niche?
Congratulations – you’re a Personal Trainer, ready to take on the world and become the best there is!
First things first – you need clients. So, you need to start marketing yourself. Perhaps in the beginning of your career you’ll need to take all of the business that comes your way. But as you progress, you will want to work with people that need YOUR skills, doing the things that you love to do. 
Trainers market themselves as experts in fat loss, sports performance, rehab, bodybuilding, helping elite athletes, seniors, and couch potatoes alike. You provide for all of those things, or you should. But isn’t every other personal trainer as well? What makes you special, and why would someone spend their money on you?
Let’s not forget, amidst all of this you’re also going to need to learn to be a therapist, life coach, shoulder to cry on, friend, guide, consultant, accountability partner, and be the general go-to person that will help your client navigate the world of fitness. You’ll also need to do your own marketing, prospecting of clients, time management, accounting, billing, program design, taxes, keep your own training in check… Stressed out yet?
The point is, you are a solopreneur and your time is valuable. You must ensure time spent on your efforts yield the best results. Who you are, what parts of the industry make you tick, how you add the most value –these are critical discoveries to make early on. 
You need a niche. 
Some examples? You can train women only, men over 40, special populations, ultra-marathoners, pregnant women, general rehab, strength training for downhill mountain bikers, calisthenics, mobility for golf, boot camps, functional training, yoga, kettlebells, pilates, focus on young athletes, speed and agility coaching, suspension training, or you can work with Physiotherapists and design injury – specific programs.
The point is, the options are endless. Many niches overlap, and the internet unlocks the entirety of the market to you. A niche is what will cause a client to choose you, over someone else. In a vast sea of trainers, you need to become the go to person, the rare commodity.
Convinced yet? 
Finding your niche
So how do you go about discovering your niche? Some say start with market research on trends and keywords. Sound advice, but having done this, I would rather recommend using the market research to refine, guide, and justify your own gut feel. 
You need to find out what you love and who you are, first.
What do you enjoy most? Internet trends are great, but you need to understand your passions, and trends can’t tell you that. If the fitness trend points to boxing but you enjoy ultra-marathon training, go with what you love and will enjoy getting up at 4:30 am to teach. You will naturally gravitate toward your interests in your reading, research and who you argue with on the internet forum boards. Most importantly, those interests and passions will come through when you’re training. 
(For new instructors: Perhaps you’re new to training and don’t know yet what you love. Don’t worry about getting a niche yet. Go taste. Go try new training modalities, take classes, learn from other instructors, study, experiment with different styles and figure it out. You’ll get there.)
Defining your niche market
Now once you’ve got a general idea about what you’d like to specialize in, define the scope.  Here are some questions to get you started.

  • Who do you want to work with? Who is your target audience? 
  • How narrow do you want to go – how wide? You don’t want to go to too narrow (being the bench press person), nor do you want to go too wide (“I train men”). But, perhaps you train men over the age of 40 in functional weight training to mitigate the effects of ageing. 
  • What do you want to sell? Are you offerings time based – perhaps an 18 week BUDS program, or a 3 months to look good naked on the beach program? Or event based training, such as prepping for a marathon or a body building competition? Or would you like to focus on lifestyle based interventions? Perhaps plant based nutrition and lifestyle modifications?
  • What is your demographic? Are you focusing on men? Women? The older populations? Young athletes? Are you coaching locally, globally, or both? 
  • What do your clients need? And more importantly, what value do you bring to the table? 

Define the scope.
Differentiate yourself from the competition. 
What makes you different, or better? Research the competition. Who is doing it? How are they accomplishing it? Do they have products? What’s working, or not working for them? 
Differentiating yourself might even be based on an accomplishment you’ve achieved in your field. Perhaps it’s being the first woman to cycle the globe, or an plant-based IFBB Pro.
Become the expert
Upskill, get new certifications, and level up your knowledge. Then start writing articles about your niche, create programs that focus on it, take classes from other – more experienced – trainers and most importantly – showcase your results. Become the go to person for your niche. This takes work, and time. Have patience.  
Get the word out
Once you have found your niche, it’s not all you’ll do; but it does help build your reputation.  It helps with your messaging, website content and marketing. You’ll be able to build a community, or become a resource for a certain community and thus a client base. 
Work to develop the story surrounding your niche. Perhaps you lost a leg and now run marathons, or were addicted to Ben and Jerry’s and learned the psychology change a habit. Find your story. People want to connect with something real.  Give them a part of your personal fitness evolution that is accessible and inspirational.  
You’ve identified your niche, defined the scope, upskilled, and you know your story. Now you’re documenting and showing people your results, talking about it, teaching it, running seminars on it. 
Become about it.
A final piece of advice
When you start out, don’t stress too much about finding your clients or making the money right away. Worry about getting better at what you do, perfecting your craft and putting your client first.  As you add value, all of the rest will come. 
Good luck and have fun.

Laura is a strength and conditioning specialist and exercise scientist based in Seattle, WA. With her background in athletics and extensive knowledge of exercise physiology, Laura equips her clients with effective and efficient workouts to help them get stronger, get fitter, and embrace their bodies for their abilities.

Categories
COACHINGSOLUTIONS

If you’re going through similar experiences as I am, you’ll be taking an unplanned vacation at the moment because the gym has been shutdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Your clients may be texting and calling you frantically, wondering about the game plan and worried that they’ll lose progress. You may be panicking a little because all your clients have so many different individual needs and it seems impossible to manage them all. At the same time, you’re worried about losing income over this shutdown and you’re stressed about paying bills and retaining clients!

I’m based out of Seattle, the epicenter of this outbreak in the United States. Things went from 0 to 100 real fast and I can confidently say that none of us were quite prepared for the magnitude of impact this has had on gyms and trainers financially. My training program includes weekly programming with workouts for clients to do on their own when they’re not training with me, so transitioning them to remote training was not entirely too difficult. However, with the gym closures and statewide quarantine, there are other things to consider when transitioning in-person clients to strictly at-home remote training.

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Here are 4 things to remember when transitioning in-person clients to at-home remote training.

1. Not everyone has equipment.

This is a big one. While at-home workouts with little to no equipment are fairly simple to write, it can be hard to customize these kinds of workouts to people with injuries or limitations. I suggest putting together a small list of affordable equipment people can order to start a mini home gym. This is the list I gave my clients:

  • Long resistance bands and short resistance bands
  • Dumbbells: 10 to 30lbs or adjustable dumbbells
  • Furniture sliders
  • Foam roller

Having these pieces of equipment helps you assign exercises for those with limitations (i.e. those who shouldn’t be doing 50 air squats or jump squats) and also can help to safely increase the difficultly/intensity for those more advanced clients.

Here’s an example of an advanced workout I’d assign a client with these pieces of equipment:

Warmup

Standing Fire Hydrants with short band around knees

5×10/side

Overhead Dumbbell Squats (keep band around knees)

4×8

DB Floor Press ss with Pushups

4×10/10

Reverse Lunge with Back foot on slider

4×10/leg

Bent Over Banded Dumbbell Rows

3×15

Hamstring Curls with Sliders

4×15

Plank Walkouts with Foam Roller

x20 total

 2. Stay engaged with your clients.

Whether this means setting up weekly Zoom calls or doing virtual training sessions through Zoom, you want to make sure you’re not just sending clients workouts and leaving them to their own devices. This not only devalues the trainer-client relationship, but can discourage clients. Make sure you set up a ready channel of communication with each client so you can stay connected and engaged in the time you won’t see each other in person. Make sure you make it clear that you’re there for them to ask questions, communicate concerns, and that you want weekly updates to increase engagement.

3. Make sure your clients know the plan!

With all that being said, make sure you clearly state your plan of action! Make sure your clients know what to expect from you, how available you’ll be to communicate, and what their workouts will look like. Make sure your clients are willing to purchase equipment and if they’re not, tell them they need to communicate that with you so you can design the best workout for their situation. Be on the lookout for any potential questions that may come up and address any unexpected questions readily.

4. Above all, listen to their needs.

Transitioning clients from in person training to remote training is hard, especially if your clients are not used to remote training! Be there to listen to your client’s concerns and needs. Remember, you are their authority when it comes to exercise, but you need to make sure you’re addressing questions and concerns. A disinterested trainer is usually a fired trainer. This is especially important when you are dealing with in-person clients who are more used to the attention provided in a training session. Remote training may seem like less work, but it can be hard to keep up with texts and emails. Make sure you have a system in place to help you stay on track.

I’ll usually respond quickly to client text messages but I’ll have a designated time to reply to emails, since those can easily get lost in my inbox. I’ll spend an hour or two each morning, either responding to emails from clients or writing an email announcement to send to everyone. I find this to be the most effective in that I have enough time to formulate thoughtful responses and address each question in depth.

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Everfit has made my transition for entirely remote coaching a lot easier for my in-person clients.

If you’re like many of us personal trainers who are scrambling to get workouts to clients, you might want to consider investing in Everfit. I’ve found it extremely easy to start using unlike other training platforms out there. With its intuitive interface, clients are able to very easily start tracking their workouts, logging meals, and recording body metrics with little to no guidance from you. Plus you can see workouts being logged in real time. Everfit has made my transition for entirely remote coaching a lot easier for my in-person clients.

Besides investing in a training platform to make your transition that much smoother, set yourself up as a resource on social media. A lot of people spend time scrolling through Instagram when they’re stuck at home. Post tips on how to set up your home workouts on your feed. Have videos of you in your story doing your own home workout. Reshare clients when they post themselves doing workouts at home that you programmed. There’s a lot of content you can put out to present yourself a competent fitness professional as well as provide resources and ideas to people.

Go into these next couple weeks with the mindset to give and to help. Be there as a resource but also as a friend and support system.

Lastly, exercise is more than just a workout. For a lot of people including myself, exercise is a stress reliever. It’s a way to let out pent-up stressful energy. It’s an outlet. Helping people to exercise safely and creatively with the resources they have available to them is a huge gift. Go into these next couple weeks with the mindset to give and to help. Be there as a resource but also as a friend and support system. Working out may not be at the forefront of every client’s minds, but you can help encourage your clients to stay active and to not take their health for granted in these uncertain times.
Stay Healthy!

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Laura is a strength and conditioning specialist and exercise scientist based in Seattle, WA. With her background in athletics and extensive knowledge of exercise physiology, Laura equips her clients with effective and efficient workouts to help them get stronger, get fitter, and embrace their bodies for their abilities.

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