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Empathy Training for Personal Trainers

May 28, 2019

Keeping fit is something that many people struggle with. Though it certainly helps to have a personal trainer there to keep them motivated and to provide each person with a tailored experience, a lack of empathy can affect the service.

Empathy training is essential for fitness professionals. Many of us are too quick to pull out the “just do it” attitude, but more often than not, this can lead to clients cancelling their contracts. You may see it as a motivation tactic, but they may see it as being shamed. This is why empathy is something you must bring on board with your personal training service. Here are some things you can do to help get into the habit of empathising with your clients

Pay attention

Sometimes we are too busy focusing on getting the entire workout down to stop and listen to what our clients actually need. They could be struggling in particular areas and failing in certain diet aspects. Perhaps it would be a good idea to set aside some time at the beginning or end of each session to discuss their needs and struggles to come up with a solution that will make things easier.

Ask open-ended questions

People who empathise tend to ask questions. It’s a simple way of getting to know your clients and help them feel more understood. Ask open-ended questions that respond in more than just a simple “yes” or “no”. However, asking “why” may encourage your client to put their walls up, so opt for “what” and “how” questions instead.

Find common interests

It’s likely that you and your client have more in common than just the workout. Do you both have children? If so, you’ll understand the difficulties of fitting exercise into a schedule that isn’t just for you. What about any health problems? No matter what it is, there may be something that you can both connect on, making it easier to adapt your services to their needs.

Mirror their words

Repeating back what your clients have to say is a great way to help them feel understood. After they explain to you what is bothering them, respond in a way that perhaps helps summarise what it is that they may need. You don’t need to repeat what they’re saying word-for-word, but you could simply respond with something like “So what you’re saying is…”

Walk in their shoes

Think about your client. Imagine yourself having their body and think about how the weight of the work must feel to them compared to someone who has been doing this over and over. Does this help you begin to understand what they are going through? By putting yourself in their shoes, it’s easier to help provide a service they will truly appreciate.

Bring the best experience to your clients with courses from Fit2Train

As well as being able to provide a comfortable experience for your clients, you need the right physical training to provide them with accurate guidance. With a range of courses from Fit2Train, including our upcoming Superset course that covers two qualifications in one, you can relax knowing you have the knowledge you need to provide the best service. Email us at to find out more.

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