If you’re new to the fitness industry, there’s a good chance you’re a generalist. You probably haven’t had the chance to build up a clientele base loaded with people wanting to train with you for one specific purpose. When I first started, I had clients there for back pain management, fat loss, sports performance (all sports, not just one), and people trying to bulk up to look good for the ladies. I didn’t really care honestly. I needed money, so any client wanting to work with me…I worked with.
I’m all for doing this initially. It’s not always easy to fill your books with clients and make a good living initially. It took me months before I was able to count on training alone to pay my bills, but after awhile, I had more clients than I could handle. I was working from dusk til dawn training people from all walks of life. One hour I would be working with an elderly individual wanting to enhance their life by feeling better, and then the next hour I could be working with a 16 year old football player.
Being a generalist, I got pretty good at helping people no matter what their goal was. However, I was never the go-to trainer for any one specific trait. There was someone out there better than me at just about everything. Basically, I took the Crossfit approach. I was good at a lot, but not great at anything. After being in the fitness industry for a few years, I really started to find out what I really liked in regards to training. Personally, I fell in love with the FMS and clients that wanted to not only look better, but also feel better, and move better as well. After some careful thought, I decided to slowly weed out the clients that were there only for looks. If you were the type that wanted to stare at yourself in the mirror, odds are your days training with me any longer were slim to none. Slowly but surely, I weeded out the clients I didn’t want to work with any longer and I had a calendar loaded with people that actually cared about performance and doing things the right way.
All of this happened because I found something I loved. I found something I was passionate about. I found my calling! I started to become a specialist versus a generalist. I was no longer a “jack-of-all-trades” kind of trainer. I was now a movement specialist. Clients started referring me people that wanted to move better and feel better. Members of the gym started to notice as well and started inquiring about what I was doing with my clients. Nobody else was screening or looking at movement. The trainers at the health club I worked at were still doing the same things they were doing when I first started. They were still throwing a bunch of random exercises together and working with just about anyone willing to pay. They were still generalists.
My love and passion for cleaning up movement patterns not only enhanced my results; it also created a work environment that I thrived in. I was able to wake up everyday and work with my ideal clients. My calendar was still jammed up, but I never had an hour I wasn’t looking forward to. All of my clients were a joy to work with, and I attribute this solely to being good at one specific thing. If you knew you wanted to move better, I was now the go-to guy in my community for that. I didn’t have to market myself all that much. The clients began to find me. Referrals were blowing up and it became known that if you want to look better, feel better, and move better…I was the guy to help you get there. Finally, I was a specialist!
You may not know exactly what you love yet. You may love working with a lot of people. I still work with a wide range of people; however, I only work with people that care about quality. If you’re whole idea is to get smashed every workout, I’m not the guy to go to for that. I’m the kind of guy that gives you only as much as you need to get the results we’re looking for…nothing more…nothing less. I screen each and every client I work with. I consider myself to be an expert at fixing movement dysfunctions and managing the whole training process, and I absolutely love it! I love doing what I do. I don’t really feel I have a “job” anymore. I never wake up and regret having to go in to work.
If you haven’t found your passion yet, don’t give up. Just keep on learning and continue to hone in on one or two areas you really enjoy. Maybe it’s being an expert at shoulders. Maybe it’s fat loss. Whatever the niche may be, own it! Become the go-to guy or girl in your community. Become a specialist and I assure you that your own personal happiness, and your clientele base, will never be fuller.
Train Hard and Train Smart!
Steve & Jared