As a personal trainer, you are constantly in a fishbowl. Your actions, appearance, and mannerisms, both in and out of the gym, are studied closely. You are expected to be accountable to a higher standard.

First impressions mean more in the fitness industry than in any other. If you are in peak physical condition, well groomed, and dress appropriately, you will have already passed the first and most crucial test of the prospective client. Right or wrong, that’s the way it is. For example, a prospective client may be apprehensive to trust you as a personal trainer if you do not workout yourself. What this boils down to is if you’re going to talk the talk, you’d better walk the walk.


At NFPT, we believe, as a personal trainer you need to develop and adhere to a self-imposed “code of conduct” or “etiquette”. We all have different characteristics, personalities, values, demeanors, etc. Creating your own code of conduct should be as unique as you are. There are four areas that can function as a foundation for your individual code of etiquette. Leadership. Enthusiasm. Knowledge. Experience. This week we want to tackle just the first two on that list.


There are two fundamentally different types of people. Those who lead and those who follow. As a personal trainer you are a leader. A true leader is self-motivated, driven, and devises plans of action. Your leadership is best demonstrated in your ability to gain the client’s confidence and their willingness to follow your recommendations.

Being respectful, complementary, and sincerely interested in helping others reach their fitness goals. These are more admirable qualities of a leader. Some clients are stepping into the gym for the first time with you. They need you to lead and guide them. That is why they hired you.


Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are not excited about the services you provide, how can your clients be? You do not need to go overboard. Just be there to compliment and push your client. They are paying you and are likely expecting support. When a client doesn’t have his or her “head into it”, you need to motivate them yourself. You need to always be the source of encouragement, inspiration, and determination.

Has your leadership abilities been a key to your success? How have you seen enthusiasm benefit your clients? Drop by next Wednesday when we will be discussing how important knowledge and experience are to the foundation of your code of conduct.

Photo Credit: Ulrik De Wachter

Ron Clark

Ron Clark is the Founder of National Federation of Professional Trainers, NFPT. From U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant to Competitive BodyBuilder, then Firefighter and Certified Personal Trainer – he founded NFPT in 1988 with a mission to make fitness training careers accessible to every day fitness enthusiasts who want to turn their passion into their livelihood. Ron has always led with a heart of service, and, in that spirit, he helps people to achieve real and practical career goals that serve a greater good in changing people’s lives. He lives and leads by example, being a personal trainer himself for more than 10 years before setting out to develop a certification program that is real-world and foundational to the goals of personal trainers and their clients. Click Here to learn more about Ron’s story and NFPT’s inception.