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How Important Is It For A PT To Be Approachable? 2.0

"How important is it to be approachable?"

Thanks to Josh for sending in this question via Instagram.

Being approachable as a Personal Trainer is very important if you are gym based. A gym-based PT needs between 5 and 30 clients to make a decent living. Being approachable will help you get there. Being approachable will help you stay there.

What does being approachable mean?

An approachable PT will demonstrate the following:

  • Open body language

  • A welcoming vibe

  • A positive attitude

  • A smile at appropriate times

  • An eagerness to help and communicate

  • A connection with people on the gym floor

  • Will know the name of many of the members of the gym they work in

  • Will be polite

  • Will have a calm demeanor

  • Will spend time at the gym between paid sessions

  • Will rarely be late

  • Will constantly work on improving on old methods and honing their coaching craft

  • Will enjoy spending time around people

  • Won't just lurk around reception chatting to the other PT's and reception staff

  • Will have a huge ego requiring two podcasts and a blog to pacify. OK, maybe that's just me!

Let's explore these points in a little more detail.

Open Body Language

Using open body language where you appear relaxed makes you seem like you'd be happy to answer someone's questions.

So more people will ask you questions!

You need to demonstrate value to someone numerous times before they are likely to pay you. By using open body language more people will offer you the opportunity to show value!

Once you're seen as approachable in someone's eyes they are more likely to come to you than anyone else because barriers have already been broken down.

Be open.

Be happy to help

Why would you become a PT?

Speaking personally, it was to help people. Which is why I've accidentally trained people for 6 weeks without checking they've paid me.

Not the best practice if I am to afford the next trip to Disney but at least it makes me realise just how much I enjoy helping people.

You should too. And you shouldn't always expect money for helping people for free but many times it can lead to a sale. Mostly it doesn't but still enhances your reputation.

If someone looks nervous on the gym floor, GO AND HELP THEM!

Be the first person to reach out to them.

If someone has poor technique subtly help them out without making them feel like the centre of everyone's attention.

If someone is suffering with knee pain give them the contact details of your physio or send them some reading material that helped you or someone you know at some point.

The same can be said about online interactions. Help people where you can and where appropriate and your business will be stronger because of it.

Know Names Of Gym Members

If you know someone's name it's easier to start a conversation and to communicate with someone on a deeper level.

You can consistently make people feel special because you took the time to remember their name.

It's a big, high impact win I want you to focus on achieving.

Knowing names of the people in your gym makes you more approachable

A PT Shouldn't Only Be In The Gym For Sessions With A Client

If a PT or coach wants more clients they have to interact with more people. For a PT, time with a client is spent with them not other people on the gym floor.

To chat to other people and build the rapport so important to your business requires your presence

If a PT goes home between sessions and doesn't spend at least some time learning names and meeting people on the gym floor how the hell can they expect to build a good client base?.

Don't do your sessions and leave unless you are fully booked. REWRITS UP TO HERE Do a session, spend a minimum amount of time on the gym floor then maybe you can go home and smash 4 hours of Fallout 76 (even though it's terrible.)

But not before.

Put the work in and put yourself in a place where people can actually approach you.

Will rarely be late

Being late gives the impression of a lack of caring and diminishes the possibility you'll be approached by people for services. Even if you do care immensely for clients, being late comes across as rude.

Side-note: When I originally wrote this piece in 2018, I ran on the assumption everyone can be on time. In 2021, I know some people have neurodiverse conditions which make it impossible to be on time. I'm not sure what I want you to do with this information. It may interest you to knowing had a few clients be diagnosed with ADHD while I'm working with them and upon being medicated, their organisational skills could manifest themselves.

If you think you could benefit from chatting to a medical professional about a condition like ADHD, I would encourage you to do so.

Work On Your Craft

You can always be better at your job. You can coach better, communicate better and help people achieve greater consistency.

Keep honing your skills until you are crowned as MASTER PT OF THE UNIVERSE.

Every Personal Trainer I've met that has worked on their craft by reading, watching and being mentored for a number of years has always had a strong business, always has a large number of clients and more-often-than-not has a great reputation.

The more time you spend researching and learning how to apply your learning to real-world coaching the more you can simplify your language and help people wade through confusion and help them towards their goals.

Helping people is incredibly gratifying. Work on enhancing your ability to help people. Work on being more approachable and work on being better at approaching people. It's not just your business that will thank you for this work but it will carryover to your everyday life in a huge way.

Enjoy Spending Time Around Your Clients

I've lost count of the amount of times I've heard PT's moan about their clients and how they have to motivate them and hold their hand and actually expend emotional energy dealing with a client.

It drives me up the fucking wall.

You most likely don't know how hard it was for that person to get to the gym.

You don't know what their situation is behind closed doors or behind their eyes.

You don't know how training feels for them.

For all you know they have a genetic disposition to hate training yet they turn up every single week, warmed up and ready to go when their time to train rolls around.

And they pay you on time, all the time.

It should be a privilege to spend time with people who put in a great amount of effort to see you.

You can learn amazing things from every one of your clients and every single interaction can be used to make you a better PT. Look for positive experience. Learn from your interactions and learn to love it.

Concluding Thoughts

Coach Brett Bartholomew recently said:

"No skill will separate a coach, or any other professional, more-so than the ability to communicate effectively."

I would change this slightly to the following:

The ability to be approachable and communicate effectively will separate a coach, or any other professional, more-so than any other set of skills.

Being approachable gives you more business opportunities.

Being approachable opens doors.

Being approachable is one of your greatest assets.

Be approachable, communicate well, deliver more value than any other Personal Trainer and you will set yourself far above the rest.

Thanks again to Josh for the question!


Chris is a Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, writer, man of small stature with over a decade in the industry and somewhat less experience as a writer.

He trains everyone from beginners to high level athletes. He writes about gym stuff. His favourite clients are people getting into the gym for the first time because they can make the biggest changes in their lives.

You can reach me through the email address

My Instagram is @theheavymetalstrengthcoach

Thank you for reading!

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