When I traveled to the US last year to speak at the New York Health and Fitness Expo, I suffered a serious cold that kept me bedridden for two weeks. While I was recovering, I read several books on health and fitness. Guys, I have to confess, I’ve never been a gym-goer. I had a running, biking, and dancing interest in my youth, but I’ve never belonged to a gym.

I’m a sports coach and as a coach, I constantly get asked to share my knowledge with other coaches and newbies alike. If I could give a few tips on how to become a better coach, I would.

While there are many aspects that contribute to the success of a successful coach, there are several common traits that make the difference between a coach who drives their players to success and a coach who fails to earn their players’ trust. These traits are often misunderstood, but they are important factors that can have a lasting impact on a coach’s success or failure.

In this article, I’ll go through the top ten things that the world’s best trainers and nutritionists are doing. I’ll also suggest six books (many of which you’ve probably never heard of) that will help you become a better coach. If you read them with an open mind, I guarantee you’ll get a fresh perspective and a larger skill set.


In this post, we look at the top ten things that great coaches, such as fitness experts, personal trainers, and strength coaches, do to set themselves apart from the pack.

We also suggest six books that can help you become a better coach right now.

Follow the action actions at the conclusion of each course if you want to become an elite professional yourself.

The following are the top ten things that exceptional coaches do.

#1: Professional coaches evaluate

Before doing anything else, the top coaches in the world do comprehensive evaluations with prospective clients.

In terms of training, this includes mobility screenings and basic performance assessments. In terms of nutrition, this entails determining the client’s current food consumption as well as evaluating lifestyle factors such as the client’s schedule, main complaints, present degree of social support, desire to change, and more.

The only way to get a true understanding of a client and make crucial coaching choices is to conduct thorough evaluations. “If you’re not evaluating, you’re simply guessing,” as the phrase goes.

What to do: Define the most essential information you’ll need to create the greatest application for a customer. Then devise the appropriate evaluations for determining this information. Remember to only track what has a direct effect on your program. (Check out our free 5-day course for fitness professionals to discover some of the tools we utilize.)

#2: Elite instructors maintain meticulous records.

Clients from all around the globe are paying a lot of money to get in shape. Thousands of dollars are often involved. And if we can get them in shape, we’ll be well worth the money.

But we’re only worthwhile if we can get people in shape. And the best proof of our worth may be seen in our customer files.

As a result, the most effective coaches do the following:

  • keep track of client compliance
  • keep track of how their customers’ bodies are evolving throughout time.
  • performance and changes in lifestyle
  • Keep before and after pictures in photo albums.

Coaches that are great have nothing to conceal. They keep meticulous records and may provide convincing proof that they know what they’re doing. Even better, the top trainers can connect you with previous clients so you may speak with them directly.

What you should do is: Keep a comprehensive book that highlights a diverse variety of your customers and their triumphs. Show this book to all potential customers, highlighting before and after pictures, body composition change statistics, and testimonials. Blurb.com is a fantastic website for making inexpensive – and attractive – books like this one.

#3: Great instructors continue to learn throughout their lives.

Yes, this may imply a college diploma. Diplomas and certificates are other examples. But it’s not simply about adding a few letters to your name. We’ve all heard about how the fitness industry is rife with bogus nutrition courses and weekend certifications.

I’m referring to proper instruction. Certifications, mentorships, and internships with some of the best coaches in the industry. These are difficult to come by. And, no, they aren’t always inexpensive. Elite fitness professionals, on the other hand, find a way to get the best training regardless. They develop into lifelong learners.

Clients are aware of this. But this isn’t only about elevating your position or boosting your profits. It’s also about genuine knowledge and education. It’s invaluable to know you’re worth every penny you charge – and that you’re at the top of your game.

What to do: Pick a few instructors you respect and like, and from whom you believe you can learn a lot. Then go out and soak up all of their knowledge. (While reading their books and articles is fine, I’ve found that organized mentorships, internships, and certification programs are where you learn the most.)

#4: Great coaches put their words into action.

Would you put your confidence in a real estate agent who has never owned a home? What about a bankrupt financial advisor? Most likely not. So why would anybody employ a trainer who is out of shape?

Please don’t misunderstand me. Top trainers don’t have to resemble fitness models or bodybuilders to be effective. They must, however, model the lifestyle they teach to their customers.

They should have a bit more muscle than the typical person, a little less fat, and a superior health profile. This is compelling proof that they understand both how the body and the mind function (exercise/nutrition physiology) (change psychology).

What to do: Put your personal fitness first, even if it means sacrificing the fitness of your customers. Even if it means accepting fewer customers at first, set aside time each day for your personal exercise and food preparation.

#5: Elite coaches are rewarded for their actions rather than their results.

One result is, “I need to drop 10 pounds.” It is a habit to say, “I need to exercise five times a week.”

Elite coaches understand that the result is their duty, while the client’s conduct is their obligation.

Have you followed this week’s habits 90% of the time and haven’t missed any workouts? Regardless of the result, it merits a reward since it is this pattern of conduct that will ultimately lead to success.

Elite coaches, in addition to monitoring results like body weight, body fat, and so on, discover the best methods to monitor and track client behavior. Success is virtually assured by rewarding basic actions, monitoring those behaviors, and rewarding follow-through.

What to do: Instead of establishing result objectives with your customers, talk to them about developing conduct goals. Then, regardless of the result, create a method to reward them when they master the behaviors you’ve set out for them. Recognition in the public eye, fitness-related presents, or complimentary exercise sessions are always welcome.

#6: Elite coaches take measures on a regular basis.

Clients want to accomplish something specific, therefore guess what the greatest instructors do? They take measurements of everything that is worth measuring.

Sets, repetitions, and rest periods will be monitored and recorded by elite fitness professionals. They’ll keep track of your eating habits and conduct. They’ll keep track of who shows up for workouts. They’ll keep track of your body composition. They’re going to snap photos.

Without measurements, no one can tell how much — if any — progress has been achieved. On-the-fly changes are almost difficult without analytics.

What to do: Identify the most critical outcomes and behaviors to track. Then, figure out how to measure them using the appropriate instruments. And then you may start measuring. (Again, if you’re interested in seeing some of the tools we utilize, have a look at our free 5-day course.)

#7: Elite coaches understand how to assist all types of customers.

We’ve encountered three kinds of coaches in the fitness industry (as well as high-performance sports). Then there are the coaches who aren’t very good. These people have the most basic training, yet they don’t consistently deliver client outcomes since they don’t know enough or care enough. These instructors, fortunately, are simple to identify and don’t stay long.

Then there are the excellent coaches. These people are great at achieving success with a certain kind of customer (typically one that is similar to them). They’re not very good if you’re not in their ideal demographic or look exactly like them. This is an issue. Because of their restrictions, they can only assist a tiny proportion of the customers that employ them.

Finally, there are the top coaches in the world. These individuals have been well-trained and are flexible. They can provide outcomes for every kind of customer. They can do it everything, from 18 to 65 years old, from level 1 novices to level 3 professionals, women or men. As a result, they are essential. (As well as in high demand.)

What to do: After you’ve mastered the fundamentals of exercise and nutrition physiology, focus on change psychology. This area is brimming with methods for dealing with clients of all types, from the most obedient to the most difficult to reach. (Note: the finest of these are covered in The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, which is included in the Certification book.)

#8: To get results, elite trainers combine exercise and nutrition.

Top trainers understand that exercise alone is ineffective. Dieting alone does not work, according to renowned nutrition coaches. Exercise and diet are equally essential to the body transformation process, according to science and real-world data.

That’s why, as part of their programming, top coaches provide combined nutrition and training solutions. They are in charge of workout programming. They are in charge of the movements. They help to motivate others. They also provide private dietary consultations. They monitor dietary intake and compliance on a regular basis. They take their customers shopping and urge them to prepare and cook their own meals.

What to do: Make sure you’re well-versed in all areas of your trade, including nutrition, whether you’re a personal trainer, physical therapist, sports medicine doctor, or sports coach. The next 5 years will introduce nutrition, just as the previous 5 years brought “physio” methods into the fitness industry. Make sure you’re in the driver’s seat.

*Keep in mind that laws regulating the terms and services a nutrition coaching professional may claim differ by state/province and are based on education type/degree and licensing requirements. Please consult your local laws or get legal advice to determine what you are permitted to say and do.

#9: Elite coaches are concerned about their clients’ well-being.

Let’s be honest about this. If you can safely state that you follow the preceding nine criteria, you’re someone who really cares about your customers and your craft.

[It’s also OK if you aren’t following all of them.] There’s no better time than now to start working on the skills needed to become an exceptional coach.]

Every coach, in my opinion, has a duty to assist everyone who comes to visit them. And it means really caring about them and going out of your way to help them better their bodies – and their lives.

What to do: Surround yourself with other professionals who are really concerned about their customers and their profession. The larger your network of high-quality individuals who care about making the world a better place, the more you’ll care and improve.

#10: Coaches that are at the top of their game read more than simply training books.

I read approximately 4 novels each month and about 50 books per year. Many of them have to do with fitness and nutrition. Hundreds of books directly relevant to what I do professionally have been read over the course of my work.

However, I made a critical error early in my career. I concentrated only on physiological texts, ignoring one of the most important aspects of coaching: shift psychology.

So you don’t make the same mistake I did, here are six books you probably haven’t read yet that will greatly benefit you as a coach and top fitness professional.

Over 150,000 health & fitness professionals certified

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Gain a better grasp of nutrition, the authority to teach it, and the capacity to convert that knowledge into a successful coaching business.

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There are six books that any top coach should read.

1. Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less

The author’s examination of his own development and transformation is described in this wonderful small book. There is no better book to learn how change occurs and new habits are established in the real world than this one.

A quick book that’s jam-packed with straightforward, practical, and sometimes surprising insights on the change process. It’s something we suggest to all of our coaching clients. You should also read it if you want to understand how to train individuals who are dealing with change.

2. Motivational Interviewing, by William R Miller & Stephen Rollnick

When it comes to talking to clients or knowing how to assist them change, most trainers and coaches are completely confused. That’s a pity and an opportunity squandered. Because few people understand how crucial the conversation between the coach and the client is, and how crucial it is to the change process.

Motivational Interviewing is a kind of conversation that is intended to provide clients a safe environment in which to consider change – and all coaching, whether with top athletes or rank novices, is about enabling change. The reality is that the way you talk to your customers either encourages or deepens resistance to change. If you haven’t read MI yet, you’ll be shocked to discover that a lot of what you’re doing is really making change less probable.

3. Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch

Change is said to be difficult. If that’s the case, we certainly don’t behave like it. People are joyfully starting on new professional lines, getting married, having children, and more on a daily basis. And these are significant shifts. So, why can’t you persuade your customers to eat more broccoli and less junk food?

That’s exactly what Chip and Dan Heath’s outstanding book investigates. Change isn’t always difficult, according to their findings. Change may be easy when the two sides of our brains — our logical and emotional brains – work together in harmony. Of course, any change attempt requires the completion of certain stages. And in Switch, the Heath brothers will take you through each of them, providing a step-by-step guide to assisting people in changing any aspect of their lives.

Kerry Patterson et al., Crucial Conversations

Pandering to a client all of the time is an indication of a coach’s weakness. But berating them or being totally indifferent to their needs is also ineffective. A successful coach must be able to keep clients responsible, which includes talking about tough topics (eating habits, behavioral patterns, problems with a spouse, compliance issues, etc.).

I’ve read a lot of books on the subject, and Crucial Conversations is the finest one I’ve discovered. The writers walk you through a step-by-step procedure, from identifying when a conversation is becoming crucial (i.e., being aware of the emotions at play) to being honest without being harmful, to resolving a disagreement and moving ahead in agreement.

5. John Bear’s The Blackmail Diet

Because it has been out of print for so long, it is very difficult to locate. I found it at a secondhand bookstore a few years back and bought it for $2 based only on the title. And the brief book did not let me down. The author presents a number of weight-loss studies centered on a single concept: individuals make a legally-binding promise to reduce weight or suffer an unpleasant result.

It’s a fascinating book for a coach, with two key takeaways: 1) anything is possible when individuals have enough power over themselves; and 2) clients must make choices and commitments while motivation is strong that will endure when motivation wanes – which it will surely do.

6. Robert Cialdini’s Influence

A famous collection of psychological studies and stories that look at how influence works in real life. Cialdini makes a compelling case that humans are hard-wired to seek for very particular signals before being persuaded. Your customers will be scrutinizing every aspect of you and your practice, even in ways you didn’t expect.

I strongly advise you to read this book, even if just to get a better understanding of your customers’ thinking processes while assessing your services.

What to do: Pick one of the books listed above and start reading. Start with the smallest one, “The Power of Less,” if you’re not a big reader. Here’s where you can get a copy. Consider joining the forthcoming PN Certification group as an alternative.

Developing becoming a world-class coach

Great coaching takes time, knowledge, and practice to master.

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

It’s both an art and a science to guide clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a manner that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.

Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.

Are you a coach? Whether you have your own team or just help out with a friend’s, you’ve probably started to see things you wouldn’t have before. While you’re busy teaching, you’re working on putting together a training plan, making sure the people you’re working with are healthy. That’s why the following are seven things that we believe are absolute musts for a coach. At the same time, don’t feel you have to do these things for everyone you work with. There’s no formula for success. However, we feel that these will result in the most success for the people you coach.. Read more about business coaching for fitness professionals and let us know what you think.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • how to be successful in the fitness industry
  • nutrition coaching template
  • precision nutrition business coaching
  • how to become a millionaire in the fitness industry
  • fitness coaching companies
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