While your goal as a personal trainer for special needs kids and adults is to help your clients, you are still running a business. It is in your hands to “make it or break it” as a special needs personal trainer for special needs. If all you do is hang out in the gym with your current clients or go to their homes, your business isn’t going to grow. Waiting for word of mouth advertising to work is a good way to watch your dreams crumble.
Here are a few of our favorite tips for the personal trainer for special needs clients:
You spend a vast amount of your time worrying about your clients and ensuring they meet their health and fitness goals. As the saying goes, “you can’t get anywhere on an empty tank.” In order for you to flourish as a personal trainer for special needs, you must take care of yourself. Be sure you take regularly scheduled breaks and days off. Make sure you carve out time each day for yourself and if you have a family, for them as well. Anything less than this will lead to burnout, leaving you unable to help your clients effectively.
2. Strategizing for the Personal Trainer for Special Needs
One of the most important parts of being a personal trainer for special needs is developing training strategies. You spend hours creating individualized training programs that help your clients meet their goals. If you can do this for your clients, shouldn’t you be doing the same for your business? You need a business plan that includes a range of marketing and social media strategies. As your business grows, you can adjust your strategies for more growth and success.
3. Keep in Touch
Over the course of time, you will have clients that move on and no longer require your services as a personal trainer. However, it’s important to realize that this doesn’t need to be the end of your relationship. While you don’t want to become a pest, it won’t hurt to reach out to them from time to time. You should do this in the hope they might come back should they ever need the type of services you offer.
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4. You Need a Risk Management Plan as a Personal Trainer for Special Needs
If you don’t have a risk management plan in place, you should do so immediately. As a private personal trainer for special needs, you work in a gym, fitness center, or in your clients’ homes. No matter how you look at it, there are a number of inherent risks. From injuries to lawsuits these risks are not something you should take lightly.
There are two good things that come out of putting a solid risk management plan into action:
- Doing so does not guarantee you will never have to deal with a liability lawsuit, but it can help. No matter how many certifications you have or how hard you try, you may have some of your clients injure themselves. Sadly, in our litigious world, it doesn’t seem to matter who may or may not be at fault. The slightest injury can be cause enough for a client to hire a lawyer and file suit against you.
As part of your risk management strategy, every personal trainer needs a liability waiver. But you can’t use just any old liability waiver, you need one that is ironclad. At the same time, you need to understand what constitutes negligence and what you can do to prevent it. The more you protect yourself, the less likely you are to lose against this type of complaint.
- As a personal trainer for special needs, it falls on you to ensure your clients have a safe place to exercise in. As part of your risk management plan, you need to identify any and all risks. You must evaluate each risk and then decide how best to address them. You must follow this up by implementing plans to correct the situation and evaluate the results.
Keep in mind that your risk management plan is not stationary. It should and will evolve over time as your business grows and you make changes in your facilities or techniques. You should perform routine inspections and evaluations. You must perform these to ensure your technique and facilities continue to provide your clients with a safe environment.
5. Build Your Network
As a personal trainer for the disabled, you are in a unique position to build your network. By taking the time to build a rapport with each of your clients, you are taking the first step. At the same time, you can’t afford to skimp out on networking with other professionals in your network. It’s a proven fact that the bigger your network is, the more likely you are to succeed.
Be sure you take the time on a regular basis to go over your referral network. Take a good look at who is in it and how often you stay in touch with them. Consider inviting your colleagues to lunch on a regular basis. If you have too many to afford at one time, you can always rotate through them.
One of the best ways to keep in touch with your clients is to host open houses if you have a gym or in a rented hall if you don’t. Businesses that still offer customer appreciation nights tend to flourish. The small amount of money spent can result in a significant increase in business. Try doing something like this once a month, the results will surprise you.
Special Strong provides nutrition and adapted fitness for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs fitness certification courses for educators, professionals, and parents who want to learn how to adapt fitness to serve the special needs population.