Top 5 “best practices” for elite fitness pros


Fitness is changing rapidly, providing tremendous opportunity for some and threatening the very careers of others. But a handful of timeless practices will always put you among the elite in the field, enable you to change lives, and keep your own fitness level inspiring.

Precision Nutrition is built around coaching. We have a team of some of the best-trained fitness professionals in the world working full-time to get our own clients in the best shape of their lives.

Thousands more, in over 87 countries around the globe, have gone through our certification program to learn how to do the type of coaching we do — with clients of their own.

In the 12 years since PN began, I’ve seen people and trends come and go in the fitness industry. But some things are timeless.

Today, I want to share the top 5 pieces of advice that I give our own coaches. 5 practices that, in my experience, define what it means to be an elite fitness professional and have your business flourish.

1. Study all aspects of fitness, not just exercise.

Fitness is more than exercise. Your clients will inevitably need help with recovering from injuries, with changing behaviors, with improving their nutrition — and the list goes on.

The elite fitness professional must know enough about manual therapy, nutrition, change psychology and other aspects of fitness to help on the front lines — and to send clients to specialists when needed. Broaden your studies outside of pure exercise and you will become indispensable.

2. Be a student, not just a teacher.

Over time, most teachers tend to stop learning — or worse, they start to believe they know it all. Though it may not become apparent immediately, that is the moment their career is over.

The point isn’t to know it all — you can’t. And it’s detrimental to even try. Instead, the point is to maintain a willingness to learn, to improve, and to question long-held beliefs.

This very moment, anything you want to learn is a click away. Take advantage, because the gap between those who pursue excellence and those who merely coast along is widening by the day.

3. Aim to connect with clients, not to control them.

The better your relationship with your clients, the more results they’ll get. Simple as that. The trust and rapport you have with your clients matters far more than the specifics of what you teach them, the degrees you’ve earned, or your coaching style.

The easiest way to build that trust and rapport? Spend less time telling clients what to do, and more time listening to them without judgement.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman calls it “attunement” — the agenda-less presence you give someone when you’re genuinely trying to connect and understand. The most capable coaches I’ve seen have mastered that skill, whether they called it that or not. And you can’t facilitate change in someone else without it.

4. Prioritize your own fitness, even over the fitness of your clients.

As the airplane safety video says, “Put your own oxygen mask on first.” In order to help others, you must first help yourself — you become useless to them otherwise. You don’t need to be a fitness model or an Olympian, but you do need to walk the talk and be capable of the same practices you ask of your clients.

In many ways, a career as a fitness professional makes that more difficult than it may seem to outsiders. Yes, you may work at or near a gym or fitness facility, and you may be immersed in the world of health and fitness all day. But often, and with good intentions, we try to meet the needs and demands of others before meeting our own. Give yourself permission to put your own fitness first, because everything else depends on it.

5. Get your own coach.

Everyone who coaches should have a coach. You can’t do it well until you’ve experienced the coaching relationship from both sides: as a coach, and as a client.

The best psychotherapists, for example, have therapists of their own; it’s a process called “clearance”, in which the therapist “clears” their own issues so that they don’t get projected onto the patient.

In the psychotherapy field, it’s common practice to receive the same service you provide, and for good reason. In fitness, it’s not, and clients suffer as a result — because most fitness professionals don’t understand what it’s truly like to be a client.

Ask yourself: how much do you believe in what you do? And do your actions reflect that?

If you’re a trainer, do you have a trainer? If you’re a massage therapist, do you have a massage therapist? If you’re a nutrition coach, do you have a nutrition coach?

If not, find one. More than anything else, practicing what you preach brings a degree of integrity, empathy and experience to your profession that will forever mark you as one of the very best in your field.

In fact, for anyone who aspires to make a real difference in the lives of their clients, I strongly recommend you go through a program like Lean Eating at least once in your life; for the coaching you’ll be able to get, for the coaching you’ll be able to observe, and for what it’ll say about you as a professional.

Not only will a program like Lean Eating change your body — it will change the way you coach.

Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 18 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their physical and mental health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list now. You'll get a free gift today, save up to 54%, and have the chance to secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Tuesday, July 16th, 2024.

If you're interested in coaching and want to find out more, join the presale list below. Being on the list gives you three special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.
  • You’ll get a free gift—plus an inside look at the program. When you join the presale list today, we’ll send you a free 35-page ebook: Your Best Nutrition Starts Here—a complete guide to building a health plan for your body, goals, and lifestyle (no calorie-counting or restrictive dieting required). Plus, you'll get our new Enrollment Packet, giving you an inside look at the PN Coaching program, complete with stories from past clients who’ve overcome huge obstacles and achieved the transformation of their dreams, and more.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].