Working for a commercial gym developed my skills as a trainer and expanded my network in the fitness industry. What I didn’t know then that I wish I knew now: How to build my own brand online.
“I have no regrets. I don’t believe in looking back. What I am proudest of? Working really hard… and achieving as much as I could.” ~Elena Kagan
It’s overwhelming starting a new career as a personal trainer, but I got very lucky beginning the journey with a team of hard-working, intelligent and very successful trainers. Most of them I still keep in touch with today, because I wouldn’t be the trainer I am without their support and guidance.
Different commercial gyms have their own policy, and the one I worked for did not allow private training. I didn’t think about building my own brand and instead focused on the company’s goals. However, I could have done things that didn’t break the company’s policy.
Here are the top 5 mistakes I made and what I wish I did instead.
1. Create a fitness blog
In the course of 3 years, I’ve trained probably over 100 clients (complimentary sessions included) and serviced about 2,500 sessions. With all the different fitness goals and personality types I’ve encountered, I definitely could have written a lot of content.
One of the best stories I share is my complimentary session with a gym member who I met on Tinder. Well, I was Assistant Fitness Manager at that time and it was our responsibility to recruit trainers. I was on Bumble and Tinder (no shame), and I realized I was matching with men who are trainers. So why not recruit them! Think outside the box, right?
TIP: Create a free WordPress account and start writing! You don’t even have to publish it. You can also keep a journal and write about your experiences.
2. Fitness-focused Instagram account
Unfortunately, my previous Instagram account was hacked and I lost all my content. I looked at Instagram as a personal page, not as a marketing tool to showcase my work and expertise. Client permission granted, I would have recorded their workouts as well as my own and posted it in a way that my audience can benefit from.
TIP: Here’s an example of a strategy you can apply now:
- Videos of client workouts and progress
- Videos of exercise tips and workouts
- Pictures of meals with nutrition tips
- A consistent look and color scheme to your overall page
- Utilizing stories with workouts of your clients and your own
3. Gather testimonials
I was too busy reaching my personal sales goal, helping manage a team of 25 trainers, AND training my clients. It’s definitely an easy thing to do, but that was the last thing I wanted to think about. I wanted to live a life outside the gym too!
TIP: Create an e-mail template with service questions and send it to your clientele.
4. Create a digital community with my clientele
E-mail and texting were my two forms of communication with my clients outside of their sessions. I didn’t even think about putting my clientele into an online group! An exclusive online community would have given them accountability, support and the ability to connect with a group of people who have similar goals.
TIP: Create an exclusive Facebook Group and add your clients as part of their program.
5. Create video content
Schedule of a trainer: Early mornings, slow afternoons, busy evenings. Most days I had a gap between 11am to 4:30pm in which I would make time to eat, do administrative work (when I was an Assistant Fitness Manager), hang out with my team and workout.
TIP: Have your fellow trainer record a workout and an exercise tip then edit those videos on your free time. Upload them to your fitness blog or share them on your social media platform.
I don’t regret the past and I believe in always moving forward. Becoming a digital marketing specialist taught me a lot of things I would have never thought about as a trainer in a commercial gym.