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Session #003 - Generalise vs Specialise


Show notes:

Welcome to the epic personal trainer podcast, I'm Marc and I'm your host. I wanted to go through a quick session today talking about if a new personal trainer should generalise or try and specialise when they're starting out with their career.

Now, if you're not too sure about what this is then generalising is, taking on any kind of client that comes along. With no specific kind of client in mind or goal uh, and you can get different types of experience with all these different types of people, different ages, different goals, different issues um, and you know, anything else that might come your way.

Now, obviously the opposite of that is to start specialising with a certain type of person and, or goal.

If you look at the wider business community they call this uh, niching down um, and it's always recommended for new entrepreneurs. Probably 90% of business coaches recommend that you, um, niche down and get very specific on the kind of people you want to help and how you want to help them. So, the question is, is it the same for personal training?

Now, straight out the gate. I'm going to say that I don't think there's any real right or wrong answer for this. It's going to depend on you. The kind of career you want to have, why you got into the industry in the first place. Now, what kind of personal trainer do you want to be? What experiences you've had, the skills and knowledge that you maybe have.

What kind of environment you want to work in? Um, Now, for example, do you want to be a freelancer or do you want to be online or in a gym? Because what you decide is always going to bring some pros and cons in terms of the business that you want to build. So I'll give you an example, right? Uh, If you're going into a commercial gym setup um, and let's say you want to specialise in pre and postnatal training. Then you're probably not going to be able to find enough clients in a commercial gym just for this goal to help support you and your career, from that gym membership. So being in a gym and having that kind of limited market is just not going to work for you. And you're going to have to take on a lot of general population clients to make ends meet. Right. And then obviously you're not really a specialist in terms of your overall career.

So you can see if you are starting in a gym you might be better off generalising because you don't get really enough of any one kind of person with those very specific niche goals.

So, if it's good to generalise when starting out, what are the benefits of you being a generalist? Well first off, you're going to get all kinds of people, like we mentioned before. So, you know, you might get a lot of uh, fat loss clients, some transformations, but there is a difference with those people as well. You might get some people that need to lose 10%, some 20%, some 30% body fat. All these different types of people, they're going to have a different mindset around their training and nutrition and they all represent. Um, a different challenge because they're in different parts of the journey and they have different needs. They might have different experience levels or fitness levels, movement abilities.

So you're going to have to deal with all of them a little bit differently. Since they're all complete individuals. So you are going to have to take a different approach. So there's this, uh, whole mix, whole mix of goals, a whole mix of ages, a whole mix of genders, injuries and medical conditions.

Now, give you an idea, the youngest person I've ever seen working with a trainer in a commercial gym, it has been an eight year old. And the oldest was 92. So you couldn't get much more different. So there is great experience to be gained with such big variation in the types of people coming through the door.

Now the other thing. Uh, for a new personal trainer is that they might not yet actually know what kind of people they want to work with uh, or what kind of goals they want to help people work towards. And I think the vast majority of new trainers are in this situation because they haven't really put that much thought into it yet. It's not really the kind of stuff that courses cover.

Um, it's not a topic or a module or anything like that. Uh, So, you know, quite often when somebody does. Um, put thought into that is because of a previous experience that they have. So you're going to got athletes that want to work in strength and conditioning and stuff like that.

Now. By generalising, like we said, you get to work with so many different scenarios and people, uh, with different approaches. Now you may discover that you want to specialise in an area you never knew existed before. Uh, And that's pretty amazing. So there's a lot to think about because by working with all these different people, you're exposed to all these different things.

And you know, that can help you uncover, uh, this love for a different type of training or client that you never really thought about beforehand.

Now, you could make the argument that generalising is going to be a waste of time if you do have plans to specialise.

A lot of trainers specialise in something in the end or eventually right, anyway? So if you have an idea of what you want to specialise in, why not work on that from day one? Why put in all this time and effort into learning knowledge that you may potentially not need to know or may never use um, because you're going to specialise in a very unique area.

So it could seem like a big waste of time, when you could get started anyway. So like we said at the beginning, a lot of business coaches, general business coaches uh, in the entrepreneurship space, they always recommend starting there with a niche or in a specialist area.

So. What are some of the benefits of becoming a specialist trainer? Well, when you specialise in something, you're going to create a really good reputation with the knowledge and the experience and getting people results in that very small area. And that means that anybody. Uh, any potential client that wants to achieve that kind of goal is far more likely to hire you than someone that generalises, because they're going to have that confidence that you're going to be able to do a better job because it is an area you specialise in.

So apart from, you know, the potential to earn more money. You're going to attract all the right people that you want to work with simply because you are going to appeal more to them.

Now, if you feel you have the right knowledge, the right certifications, the right experience to be a specialist when you start from day one. And that does happen, then you're going to need the right environment as well. So earlier we talked about the pre and postnatal, uh, example.

So, you know, let's say we have a lady, she's a mother who goes to the gym. Okay. And has eventually done their own transformation after having a baby. And this mother wants to be able to help other women go through the same thing, because for, for her, it's been transformational, it's been an amazing experience and she wants to be able to share that.

So this lady can go and get certified. And then from day one, with the right certifications and the right knowledge and she already has that experience, she can start to work in the industry and know exactly what kind of people to work with and the exact goal they want to work towards.

Like we said earlier, a commercial gym, if this is the only goal you want to work on, and the only type of people you want to work with, is probably not going to work. So you can work from a gym potentially as a freelancer, but you're not going to get clients from that.

So instead of working in a commercial gym, maybe reaching out to maternity hospitals, Uh, different types of clinics and even talking to midwives, might help you build relationships with these people so you guys can work together to, uh, help people with their training. Um after pregnancy.

So, do you have to generalise when you're starting out? Not necessarily. It is going to depend just on you. But I would say this.

For the majority of people coming into the industry, being a generalist and being in a commercial gym environment is probably going to be one of the best starts you can have.

So, what are some of the other benefits of uh, working in a gym? Well, first off, make sure you find a great gym. It's going to have a great facility, great machines, some interest in equipment. You won't have to incur the cost of buying any of this or maintaining any of this, so it'll open up all the different kinds of possibilities and things that you could do with your clients.

It'll help you build your kind of mental exercise library, think outside the box uh, and discover some new things that, you know, you never even knew.

Uh, A great. Jim is also going to have the structures and the processes in place that you can learn from which will show you how to be a personal trainer.

At least a good gym will have all this in place because, you know, your course is not going to teach you this kind of stuff. It's stuff that, trainers learn from other trainers from places that have all these processes and systems already established.

Hardly any course is going to show you actually how to interact with members, how to do effective consultations, how to sell yourself and market yourself and a whole lot more. But these things are really important skills if you're going to be successful, which is why you can pick up and learn these in a gym from the gym, from the other trainers.

Okay. Now, apart from learning all these things, you're going to be a member of a team. That means there's going to be lots of other different trainers with different experiences that you can learn from. So being in a team really helps keep you motivated and it helps keep you learning much, much easier.

And, you know, again, you're going to have to join a good gym with like-minded trainers uh, so you can feel the benefits of that.

See, if you're doing all this on your own, it becomes a lot harder. To learn, you have to take time off from sessions. You have to go on courses, workshops, and you have to pay for all this, invest a lot of extra money, you know, since learning, isn't a part of your employment.

So being in a team and working at a gym can give you a lot of other opportunities you wouldn't get if you were working outside of a gym.

And then probably the main reason for working in a gym, especially in the early days. Uh, is it's going to take a lot of pressure off you having to try and find members and clients.

This is because the gym gathers everybody interested in fitness in one space for you to go and market yourself too. That's amazing right!

Now, if you're doing this outside of a gym. You have to market to a lot more people and then you have to filter out all the people that maybe are not interested in, just to start with.

Then you have to keep filtering and filtering until you reach the people you want to train with. So you need to find people that are interested in fitness, people that live in the right area, people that want your help, people that can afford your services. So that filtering goes on and on.

And um, when you work in a gym, they take care of most of that for you. They get hundreds, sometimes thousands of people, depending on the size of the gym, in one spot for you to market to first. So you get to focus on that membership.

So you being in a gym, you get to take advantage of that community that they have built over time and you get to talk and engage with them.

So, unless you do have a very specific experience or knowledge in a particular area, that is what I would recommend for you to generalise in a gym.

Now. When you start off. Uh, don't, don't be this person. If you're going to be a specialist, do not say that you're a specialist in 10 different things, because that means you're not a specialist, that means you're a generalist.

It's common to see a lot of gyms and a lot of trainers put on their flyers and their boards. And then we'll write specialists in fat loss, muscle building, CrossFit, mobility, rehab, pre-hab and 10 of the things that doesn't make you a specialist. It makes you a generalist. You can't be a specialist at everything.

So the whole point of a specialist is to niche down into one of these things. So maybe you are a specialist in fat loss, or you are a specialist in mobility or rehab. Right? So. Um, you know, maybe knowing a little bit more than the average personal trainer about these areas is great, but it does not make you a specialist. A specialist specialises in one thing.

So find your one thing and stick to it. If you are going to specialise so you can appeal to that very specific person that needs your services, and needs your knowledge and the experiences you have. Okay. So. I hope this session has helped. Um, you know, a few of you have come and asked about how to start off in industry.

Because the main thing is there is no right or wrong answer, it's really going to depend on you. And you're going to have to answer a few questions.

So the first one is, do you have the knowledge and the experience or the certifications to be able to specialise in an area that you're passionate about or skilled in?

What kind of environment are you going to need to set up for yourself, so you can find enough of the right people to deliver on those services.

Now, if you don't know, don't worry. That's completely fine. You get yourself into a gym where you can start serving people, uh, and you be a generalist. And that should give you the best possible start.

Okay. uh, That's it from me today. I hope you have enjoyed the session. Really appreciate you listening.

Thank you so much. And I'll see you in the next one.


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