As both a personal trainer and endurance sports coach, the absolute hours that I work in this capacity typically pale in comparison to that of my friends and former colleagues that work 8+ hours per day. Despite this, I often find myself tired after just a few sessions. While there are likely several reasons for this (i.e., getting up at 4am!), I’ve found that the critical factor is that as a quality coach or trainer – you are always “on” and that requires a lot of energy. Being “on” is often not quantifiable in terms of hours worked, physical energy expended or even the level of difficulty required by a particular client. Being focused takes energy and if you’re not focused on your client… you should not be in the coaching business – period.
Remember how focused you were when studying for a hard exam and the exhaustion you felt afterwards? The attention to a client should be no different.
My non-trainer/coach friends often joke that my job in totality consists of counting to 12 (reps) or staring at my stopwatch while my client runs in circles around a track and due to that, I’ve got the easiest job in the world! Joking aside, this is often how trainers and coaches are perceived. The reality is that the role of a quality trainer/coach is so much more.
No Method Behind The Madness
A well designed and constructed workout program/session takes time, energy, focus and thoughtfulness. Every repetition, pedal stroke, rest period, etc… must have a reason behind it. There is no place for randomness in the training process. While this approach does take energy and time, it is also the correct approach to working with clients.
Only Your Client
When working with a client(s), they are the only one that matters for the duration of the session. Don’t watch the TV in the corner, don’t check your cellphone, don’t engage in conversation for long periods with others, etc…. In other words, your client should be the sole focal point from the start to finish of the session.
Take Care of Yourself
It doesn’t matter whether you have one session or five sessions back-to-back, working with clients takes a lot of energy. As a result, you must take care of yourself so that you can provide your clients with the energy and quality that they hired you for. Its not easy to work with clients, train yourself and deal with all of the other things that are required on a daily basis AND still get enough rest and recuperation. Its a balancing act that to be a quality coach/trainer you must master.
Not All Clients Are Created Equal
Let’s face it, some clients are easier than others. Some clients you will have more in common with than others. Some clients have strong personalities that require you to match in order to get your point across. As such, each client requires a different approach. Now, I’m not suggesting that you alter who you are for each client however it is important that you understand that different clients require strategies when working with them.
The Overlooked Factor
For all the reasons noted above, many new trainers/coaches are surprised by the level of fatigue they experience after working with clients. While the goal should be to reduce this fatigue through better time management and self care practices, the reality is that coaching/training clients is work and therefore it isn’t always what it appears to be (i.e., easy) from the outside looking in.