The fear of rejection: ‘new trainer, new gym – scary times!’


Guest blog from Greg Small, Registers Operation Manager here at REPs

As a trainer, gaining; retaining and training are in my eyes the three principal foundations to a successful business. One out of the three above is easy. We are qualified; we know our clients and we know the exercise methodology required to get the results our clients want. The other two are more difficult. Many trainers have cottoned onto the concept of image as a sales technique with some undesirable affects others over preach technical and somewhat confusing newly learnt anatomical tag lines to impress clients. ‘Have we gone over the top’ the basics in health and fitness – that work, should be used, abused and recycled; this of course has nothing to do with programming but is about the way that we work. Gaining a new client should stem from our personal ability to speak to any member that we come into contact with. Practicing our personal skills on a daily basis starting with body language and tone of voice will allow you as a practicing instructor to be able to approach ‘potential’ clients more easily. As a human we have an inherent fear of rejection so we often lower our heads and hide in the corner fearing that someone may see us or ask us something we don’t know. If we can change our mindset and greet everyone with positivity and enthusiasm rather than anxiety and a fear of rejection, this can potentially make us the first point of contact for future interactions. How can we change our mindset?

  • Smile: a welcoming smile will generally return a similar response
  • Speak clearly and factually without being condescending – big words may impress some but it may just irritate the hell out of others
  • Headphones are not a barrier – body language does not need to be heard
  • Offer your services – the amount of business I have personally generated from being approachable and available to assist is substantial
  • Have confidence in your skills – not arrogance. Your ability to be humble in an arena where most people aren’t confident or comfortable will set you aside from others
  • Go above and beyond. Let’s be real! We befriend a lot of our clients. Keeping a professional manner about yourself at all time will not only allow your clients to reach their goals but ensure your abilities as a trainer are clear
  • Set yourself realistic goals.

My first ever role 11 years ago as a fitness instructor back in Australia my first manager wasn’t exactly the easiest manager to work for. His one task for me went a little like this. ‘Greg, here is a clipboard I want you to speak to 100 members in your shift. I want their name, phone number and three things about them.’  What did I learn from this? I learnt that I had to speak to anyone and everyone (with varied results) and that I actually had it in me. It was a shock to the system! Was this the right industry for me? A lot of us don’t think we can talk but we actually love talking! We should see ourselves not only as trainers but sole operated businesses. Our ability over the trainer to the left or right of us needs to be quantifiable. Putting the fear into ourselves does one thing, it allows us to grow and improve as trainers and people. Challenging yourself will yield this result, you will learn that you don’t just have it, you need to take what you have and improve on it over and over and over again. Education, trial and error and self practice are all steps that I have taken to improve my skills as a trainer that I would recommend anyone and everyone to undertake not only those in the fitness industry. The fitness industry has changed in so many ways in the brief 11 years I have been involved. The one thing that hasn’t changed though is what is required of a trainer. We are the sole provider of motivation, technical advice and life changing support. With this in mind we should all take the responsibility to shape not only our clients but also our careers and mentality to ensure longevity and continued development for the future.

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