Calgary's Top Personal Trainer’s Secrets to Success!


18 years is a long time to be in the fitness industry. Over this time, I have worked with so many amazing coaches, taken over 20 courses and have trained over 50,000 session hours or clients. I hope from all this I can earn your attention for this quick read on how to set yourself up for success as a Personal Trainer in the fitness industry.

This ever-changing industry that so many of us call home can be very difficult at times. We have all had rough patches, days when multiple people cancel on you for no reason and you think to yourself, "Am I doing something wrong?" The long hours and no benefits can be tough on people mentally and physically, just dealing with so many personalities on a daily basis who have all come to you for their physical ailments, but also require you to be their nutritionist, shrink, marriage counsellor, friend, you name it. This can all be very draining on anybody over time. Some weeks in the past I would see clients more than my wife. As if making people believe in you enough to spend 10’s of thousands of dollars on you every year to make their bodies perform at a high level or to lose that stubborn belly fat or to gain muscle isn’t hard enough already. You also must be on call to their diet needs or injury fixes, checking in on homework workouts or be there to pull people out of tough times. We’ve done it all… So here are some tips from one veteran coach to another that hopefully will help improve your business and keep you in the game!

Our game needs more Great Trainers!


Treat it as a Business!

Most people when they start out in the fitness industry (myself included) just love working out and being in the gym. It can easily be taken for granted. Make sure that you know, and your clients know that this is how you pay your bills, this is how you feed your kids. I have yet to meet a trainer that has worked part time at it and been successful. If you are doing well in this industry it is because this is what you do, and you do it well.

So, you should be compensated well for it!

a)     Charge what your worth – When your start your business it can be tough to ask for large amounts of money. As you become older and wiser your rate per session will go up and this will get easier. I know trainers who charge $300+ per session and some who charge $50. Usually there isn’t much difference in their training philosophy’s or knowledge, but rather a difference in demographic and audience. If you’re in Manhattan, you have to charge more to cover your rent is different than, I’ve trained 1 athlete or celebrity and now deserve this amount. Find an amount that you are comfortable charging, but also won’t let you scrape by. This career can be very profitable, but you can’t be the nice guy and let everybody have discounts every time they renew.

b)    Make clients pay up front – This is not only to make sure you don’t get screwed out of your hard earned $$$. It is also to provide you some insurance that you will have that time filled for the next month or two. It allows you to focus on other areas of your business instead of counting down that days to when your 3pm is open again.

c)     Use a terminal or Square to take payments – This is a no brainer, not only for bookkeeping purposes, but for keeping your money in your business account. If the 2.65% fee is too much of a loss you need to build that into your price. This will make your business able to budget, see trends and see all your income in one place. Know where it came from and know where it is going out.

d)    Have a professional website and Google Business account – This goes a long way into generating new business and for people who want to check out your resume. Most of my new clients now are referred to me, but they all say that they went on and looked me up before they came in to their consultation. The website doesn’t have to be amazing, just something that people can reference. Google account is free to set up and it is easy to update and even easier to ask for reviews. Having a high rating will push new clients your way. More on this in #4.



Your current clients are #1

Treat the clients you have now like gold! They will stay with you because they trust your service. Most of your new business will come from treating them great and them telling other people about you. Referrals are my only stream of new clients at this time and I have even been in patches where I tell my clients no more for right now… This is right in the sweet spot for a trainer. If you have a business that runs itself and you don’t need to spend extra $$$ on Google ads. That is more money in your pocket.

Your clients will be just as loyal to you as you are to them. Over the years I have had a very high retention rate strictly because I treat people how I would like to be treated. I learned this from my mom at a young age.

Make time for your clients, respond to their questions, texts, emails in a timely manner. Be present in their sessions. Check in on them. Ask them how their day is going. Remember dates in their life. If they were super excited on Friday about a dinner they were throwing on Friday, remember to ask them how it went on Monday. This all goes a long way in building that client/trainer relationship. If you show them you care, they will be a client for life.



Keep Learning

The game of fitness is forever changing for the better. If you aren’t on board with keeping up with it you will find yourself left behind. When I started training we all static stretched before and after each workout. Could you imagine if I still made my clients do this now??? Sure it might work fine, but what if they went to another trainer or class and this trainer had built them a workout specific warmup that mobilized their joints and increased blood flow that was fun and got them engaged into the flow of the workout right away? Would they quickly leave me for him? You bet your ass they would. Or they would have some serious questions for me as to why we are still doing static stretching. (New blog just on this coming soon!)

I tell my clients that we all should try to get 1% better every day! To do that as a trainer you must be constantly listening to podcasts, reading books, following high achievers on Instagram or watching them on YouTube and taking specialized courses that bring new love and coaching tips back to your business.

I am so excited for this whole pandemic to be over so that I can go to a live course again. These online courses and webinars are not as funL



Make a Website, Google Business & Professional Social Media Accounts

The 1st thing people check nowadays is your google business & reviews.

The 2nd thing people check is your website.

The 3rd are your social accounts.

All of these must be in line of the service and lifestyle you provide. Do not have pictures of you out drinking with your buddies. In the year 2022 this is a glance for potential clients to view inside your business and your lifestyle.

Now I know a website may take time and money, but it is worth investing. This will put you above all the other trainers without one and start building your ranking on Google. The website will cost you anywhere between 2-10k to start up and anywhere from $100-$500/month to host and run. Then Google ads would be on top of that if you are advertising. A good website will host SEO keywords and get you noticed in your city by search results that apply to your field. You will be able to write blogs (like this one) to boost your search ranking and get your website noticed by more potential customers.

Next step is making a Google business. This is FREE!!! All you have to do it put up your business name, address phone # and hours. Then add a couple pictures (like a logo, another key stamp on a business. Bonus Tip)

3rd step is building and branding all your social media accounts. This will require high grade photos or video. Not a bad idea to hire a professional photographer to shoot your profile pictures and some other content. Make sure you keep these pages professional. Not a bad idea to have a private personal page on the side.

4th Bonus step… ASK FOR GOOGLE REVIEWS!!! These will go on your google business and can easily be linked to your website for people to see the AWESOME work you have done!



Make time for yourself!!!

This last tip is more about keeping you in the game and keeping you sharp. The Fitness industry requires long hours. The more we work the more we make kind of mindset. I Limit my hours on odd days. Not only to have a life outside of the gym and to hang out with my son Miles, but to keep myself sharp between the ears. At the start of my career I would take clients at all times. Work 5am-9pm 4 days a week and then work mornings on Fri-Sun. As I’ve aged looking back those hours take their toll on you. Anybody who says sleep is not important and that they are up grinding every day is a liar. Not only will your body suffer, but your mind will lose focus and your work will get sloppy. Not to mention your personal life, family, friendships, & hobbies. Right now my schedule is Monday & Wednesday I work 6am-7pm, but then Tuesday & Thursday 6am-4pm (off early to spend time with my son in the evening) Friday I work 9am-4pm then I have weekends off. So 53hours a week in the gym to train 120-140 client hours.

Set your own workout time or business development daily. For me it is a daily reset. I need it! I have an hour every day that I workout. I will not take clients in that time, not for any amount of money. If I have a cancelation or no show at another time of the day I use it to work on the back end of my website, program, social media posts, blog, listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos. When I’m in the gym I try to treat it like I’m at work, (even though I feel like I haven’t worked a day of my life since my father sold the farm).

Work hard, plan trips, set goals (both work and personal) that you can strive for outside of the gym. Building your business is important but having a life outside of that is the ultimate goal. Work hard at the start to build a business that lets you live the life that you want. Now at the age of 37 I’m very thankful that I built my business to where it is now when I was ready to have a family and other priorities in life.


So I hope at least 1 of these tips have helped you in making your Personal Training business more successful! Being a coach is hard enough, running a business is harder!

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me or direct message me on any of my social media platforms @12Fitness.

Until then, keep working hard and bettering lives!

Coach Mitch


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