How To Become a Successful Personal Trainer in 2023 (According to One of the World’s Most Sought-After PTs)

If you’re a PT or fitness professional, then you know that the world of personal training is changing. It’s no longer just about creating a gym workout plan – to succeed as a personal trainer today, you need to offer your clients more, and constantly improve your product.

We recently sat down with one of the world’s most sought-after personal trainers, Luke Worthington, to get his insights on how the fitness industry has evolved as well as his top tips on how to grow a successful fitness business.

Luke began working in the fitness industry more than 20 years ago. He started out his career in commercial fitness, and has also spent time training other PTs, as well as working with professional athletes, models, and now specializing in the entertainment sector helping Hollywood stars to prepare for big action movie roles.

Common Challenges of Working with PT Clients

No matter the type of client, there is one common challenge that Luke has found working with individuals from all types of professions and backgrounds: A training program is only useful if someone follows it.

Luke explains, “You can have the most fantastic training program ever, but if someone doesn’t follow it, it’s no use at all. So, getting someone to actually adhere to what we’re trying to do is always the most important challenge a trainer has, no matter what kind of client it is.”

Luke believes that personal trainers need to rely on as much extra ammunition as they can that will work to make clients actually do what you ask them to. This is where using a professional tool such as Firstbeat Life comes into play.

Firstbeat Life is wellness technology designed especially for fitness professionals for use with their clients. It allows personal trainers to track their clients’ stress, recovery, sleep and physical activity with a high degree of accuracy so they can offer the most tailored personal training and lifestyle coaching ever.

The data insights from Firstbeat Life are shared with the PT’s client via a mobile app which function as a powerful motivator and tool to create long-term lifestyle changes.

Luke says, “With Firstbeat Life I can show you why I want you to do something with information and numbers. So rather than just do it because I say so, do it because it’s good for you.”

Picture 1. Firstbeat Life connects the dots between your client´s body’s reactions and daily activities. It turns stress, recovery, sleep, and exercise data into actionable insights.

A Greater Desire for Data

In the last five years, Luke has noticed huge growth in the number of people who are seeking wearable tech out and using them, however data only provides value if it’s accurate and interpreted in the right context.

“I think this growth really indicates a greater desire for information and data from clients. Something I’m very aware of in the industry is that people want to know why they’re doing stuff. So, we’re moving on from receiving instructions and saying, ‘well I should do that because my trainer said so’, and they want to know why. So, I think there is a greater desire for data. But then data is only as useful as it is accurate.

Something I was very aware of and that I can see from clients and people in general is that they were wearing the tech or watch, ring or band, whatever it may be, and they were also using bits of cardio kit in gyms, and they were receiving data from one and it wasn’t matching data from another so they didn’t know which one was right and which one do I follow. So the accuracy of the data was clearly an issue. And as soon as people lose confidence in something they stop using it.”

Firsbeat Life’s personal HRV measurement device is a professional-grade wearable which provides highly accurate and detailed data that detects every beat of the heart using ECG-based measurements.

Unlike most consumer wearables which require continuous measuring, Firstbeat Life provides clinically accurate data on stress, recovery, sleep and exercise with only 1-5 measurement periods. As PTs can also follow their clients’ results using our online platform, it works as a reliable tool for professionals to get a true picture of a client’s well-being.

How the Pandemic Has Changed the Personal Training Industry

Luke has noticed a big shift in the health and fitness industry since the pandemic first began, from an emphasis on fitness and looking good pre-pandemic, to clients now caring more about their overall health as well as becoming more resilient to disease. He explains:

“Pre-pandemic the health and fitness industry was booming. It was cool, everyone wanted to be part of it, there were gyms and studios opening all around the world. Then it was taken away, and as it started to come back, health and fitness has probably never been as widely discussed as it has been in recent years.

I think that the big change now is that pre-covid fitness was cool, there were competitions and functional fitness events, but maybe the health part was slightly overlooked.

Post-covid, the health part is now more dominant. People want to know how they can become more resilient to disease if this happens again. How they can live a healthier, stronger, life. And so I think people want to know the genuine health benefits of what they’re doing as opposed to just wanting to look better or run faster.”

Figure 2: Number of very passive working days (less than 1000 steps per day) in 2017–2022 based on Firstbeat database.

Luke’s Most Important Advice for Building a Successful PT Business Today

Luke’s advice for building a successful fitness business is simple but effective; always be looking to improve your product, and don’t be distracted by things like social media or creating a fancy website. He explains:

“In the age of social media there can be a temptation to think that’s where it’s at and that’s what success is about. It’s about an Instagram following or a big YouTube channel. And people can earn money from that, and it can be a viable business, but if your business is actually training people, whether that’s face to face or a group setting, constantly looking to improve your product is the key to a successful business. Being a good coach is the key to making that happen.

You have to be able to show your clients two things – success and progress. If we can show them these two things, we get buy-in, and then we have a business. Meet the client where they’re at, create a program they can do and find success with, then look to progress them from there.

If all your energy is spent on developing your brand, as opposed to developing your product, it can be a tough business and an exhausting process to be trapped in. So, my advice is to develop your product. Be really good at training people, be really good at coaching, and upskill yourself technically before you look to build a brand or following.”

Want to improve your personal training product and upgrade your professional skills as per Luke’s expert advice? Now is the time to prepare for personal training success in 2023! Join the Firstbeat Life partner network today for free.

Firstbeat Life for Fitness Professionals

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