Games That Help With Self Defence

When it comes to teaching children effective self-defence methods, the usual punch and block drills get extremely tiresome very quickly. And with lethargy, mistakes can be made which means accidents can happen, resulting in a disgruntled child and perhaps a sore nose! When it comes to agility exercises, ducking and weaving drills and blocking exercises there are many more ways to help children and adults alike that do not involve any punching or kicking whatsoever. Here are 4 games you can play with your students that really help with self-defence techniques.

The marker pen technique

First thing’s first, the best way to avoid a knife attack or injury if someone has pulled a knife on you is to run away. However, if you want to show your students just how hard it is to avoid being scraped or stabbed this game is for you. Ask your students to bring a white t shirt to class and hand out red marker pens. Pair them up with a partner and give one of them a marker pen. Tell the student without the marker pen not to run away but to try and block each attack the other student makes with the marker pen. The student with the pen has to try his or her best to make a mark on their t-shirts and the other has to try and block it or dodge it. Pretty soon your students will find out that no matter how hard they try, inevitably they will get marker pen on them, teaching them that the best course of action is to run away but also helping with effective blocking techniques.

Noodle dodge

For younger kids learning Jiu Jitsu this is a fun way for them to practice their rolling. It’s also a great way to teach your students how to duck and weave should someone come at them with a stick or baseball bat. Grab a pool noodle and swing it like you would a baseball bat. This breaks the monotony of dodging hooks and helps with agility.

Attacks on both sides

Balance is a key element to any martial art as is awareness of your surroundings. Draw a line on the floor with tape then pick three students and place them standing in that line. The student in the middle is going to defend themselves from alternate attacks from the students either side of them. However, they cannot step off or pivot outside the line. Taking turns, the students either side of the one in the middle will throw a single attack such as a punch or a kick. The student in the middle has to block the attack and turn to face the next opponent before they can attack. This helps with balance, encourages a good guard and teaches them that they need to be faster than their opponent.

Wiggle wiggle wiggle

A great way of helping younger students to learn how to avoid being physically picked up by a stranger is to get them to throw “tantrums”. Line your students up and tell them to close their eyes. You will ideally need another instructor to help you with this. Keep talking to the students about something so they are focussed on you, meanwhile another instructor will grab a student in a bear hug and try to pick them up. They will be too focussed on your voice and will obviously be surprised when the other instructor picks them up meaning they will panic and possibly freeze. This is where the wiggling and tantrums come in. Tell your students to wiggle like mad and throw a tantrum in mid-air when they are picked up. They cannot stop until the instructor lets them go. Once they can get free they have to run away to the other side of the room and to “safety”. This teaches children to avoid freezing up if someone grabs them as a wiggly child is hard to hold on to!

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Tips to keep beginner clients engaged

A vast majority of your clients are going to be beginners, and fortunately with beginners almost any type of exercise regime is going to work for them. With a beginner client you have the opportunity to establish positive training habits that they will carry with them for life, so it’s important you not only establish these habits but keep them engaged and create a positive experience. This helps you retain clients and also offers them the chance to really see the benefits of healthy living.

Here are 5 quick tips to keep your beginner clients engaged.

Make them feel comfortable in the gym

Joining a gym is easy, but stepping foot in one and trying to use the machines and weights can be a daunting experience for beginners. You know that no one is looking at them when they’re trying to train, but your client may feel like all eyes are on the “newbie”.

Make your client feel comfortable in the gym by giving them a quick tour and showing them how certain things operate.  Make sure you’re not throwing them in the deep end by getting them to use the more complicated machinery, and start them off on the easier things like free weights or treadmills. Don’t place a beginner next to an advanced lifter busting out 30kg preacher curls – they’re going to feel self-conscious and probably not come back.

Communicate at a beginner level

You know the difference between goblet squats and bodyweight squats, but your client may not. It’s easy to revert back to gym lingo as you are completely immersed in the subject, but this may go over people’s heads.  Your client doesn’t need to know the ins and outs of how a certain exercise was invented, nor can they be expected to understand what a preacher curl is and what a hammer curl is on their first day. Explain the names of the exercises like you would a total novice and you’ll find you won’t confuse your clients as much and they won’t feel talked down to.

Don’t go too hard too soon

An effective training regime doesn’t have to consist of your client lying face down in a pool of their own sweat, hating the world – and you. An effective training regime, as you’ll already know, has to present the body with enough stress that the body has to adapt to and then recover from. Presenting too much stress will result in overload and potentially hurt your client. Ease them in to a workout that is easier to recover from but also allows them to feel like they’ve actually done a workout. If you annihilate them on the first day, they’re not only going to be in pain, but be scared of working out.

Address their goals first

A client has come to you because they want to improve their health in some way. Listen to what they want to achieve with their workout and provide them with the steps to achieve those goals. If they want to improve mobility, take that in to account with your first session. Allow your client to feel like it’s a first step to a better, healthier lifestyle and they’ll be more engaged, and more likely to keep coming back. Help them become confident and competent within the gym atmosphere whilst addressing what they want to get out of a training session.

 Get them excited about how training will improve their lifestyle

A new client may be feeling a little sceptical as to the effectiveness of training and eating healthier, so describe how each exercise will help them improve. If you highlight how each part of their dedicated workout is helping them reach their goals, they’re more likely to engage with what you’re saying and realise that what you’re doing for them really matters.


How to encourage your clients to recommend you to a friend

Client referrals are one of the most influential factors in gaining new personal training clients. Positive word of mouth referrals from satisfied clients encourage others to approach you with their personal training requirements and establish you as a trainer that people can trust. Positive reviews = more business for you!

So how do you go about encouraging your clients to refer you to their friends and drive more business through referrals? Here are 5 tips that really help.

Be amazing at your job

The simple fact is; if you’re amazing at your job and get results for your clients, they’re going to recommend you to their friends and colleagues. The first step to any successful business venture, including personal training, is to offer a high level of service. Really taking an interest in your client’s goals and helping them achieve them will lead to your client happily referring you to their friends. Good vibes travel fast, but bad vibes travel faster, so make sure you’re doing the best you can. Your focus should be on helping your clients first and foremost – anything after that is secondary.


Offering incentives to your clients for every referral is great way to increase your reach. Whether it’s a discounted rate for every person they bring on board or organising group sessions where they bring a friend for free, an incentive can go a long way in encouraging referrals. Don’t be pushy or put the hard sell on clients though, as this will do more to alienate people than you think. If they bring up the fact a friend is struggling with their trainer or their own training regime, ease your incentive scheme into the conversation.

Client testimonials

Get your clients to leave reviews on your blog or website (ALERT – if you don’t have a blog you absolutely need one!) as real testimonials from real clients with a link to their twitter account will increase referrals. And don’t try and fake them either – as everyone knows when they’re not real!

Branded training gear

Free stuff like training gear, sweatbands, socks or t-shirts that people can wear at the gym and outside are a great way to advertise your services and generate enquiries. Just as bands sell merch at gigs, you could think about offering free items to your clients if they stay with you for a certain amount of time. If they wear your shirt when they’re out jogging with a friend and your design looks great – there’s a conversation to be had as well as a potential referral.

Keep it fun and interesting

Training is hard. In fact sometimes it’s downright disgusting. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Keep your training sessions fun and interesting and you’ll find your clients will not only stick around longer, but tell their friends about how great your sessions are. No one wants to just run on a treadmill whilst having you bark half-hearted orders at them. Change it up, use the different machines and keep it focused but fun. Show them exactly why they need you to help them and you’ll find your client base growing as they not only enjoy their session but really feel like you’re making a difference, recommending you along the way.


How to turn a negative thinking client into a positive one

As a personal trainer, you’ll often become the bane of your client’s existence, but in a good way! You’re pushing them harder on that treadmill, encouraging them to move outside of their comfort zone and lift heavier weights to build muscle, but often your client can start to become the bane of your existence.

You’re a personal trainer, you’ve worked hard to get here and you love your job, Monday mornings are amazing for you, but for some of your clients, not so much. Negative thoughts are definitely not what your client needs to change their fitness levels and reach their goals, and definitely not what you need at any time!

A negative client can be the worst thing to deal with, and unfortunately they can be a troublesome client to keep hold of. A positive client is more likely to stay with you if they enjoy training with you and are getting the results they’re more likely to keep the relationship going.

So how do you turn a negative thinking client into a positive one?

#1 Be a source of positivity

Your client has potentially come to you because they are unhappy with their body or their fitness levels, so chances are they are feeling a little bit down already. It’s not only your job to get them in shape, but it’s your job to be a source of positivity. Create an atmosphere that your client will want to be a part of.

When you radiate positive vibes your client will feel them. Lots of positive reinforcement and encouragement can change a negative outlook into a positive one. Tell them they’re doing a good job, that they’re really making a difference. They may feel terrible before they set foot in the gym, so try and make the experience with you enjoyable. Have a laugh with them, ask them about something you know they enjoy and never feed into their negativity.

#2 Change the training program on the day

Training is hard, that’s why it works! Your client may be dreading coming to you as they hate lifting weights or running on a treadmill, and as a good personal trainer, you should be able to detect those feelings of negativity early on. If your client hates it, they won’t put as much effort in and therefore won’t realise the goals they’re paying you to help them achieve.

So change it up on the day.

Create a class with something new for them to try. Get off the treadmill and try a cross trainer instead. Change the weights for resistance training or go outside and use the park instead of the gym – literally anything you can to change the atmosphere. Your client will appreciate the change and hopefully their mind-set will be more positive for it.

#3 Don’t ignore the fact they have an issue

After you’ve built a relationship with your client, you’re most likely going to hear all about their problems from time to time. Although you may not be a psychiatrist, you should take the time to listen to their problems as they may just want to vent, just don’t get too involved with private matters and don’t let discussions eat into training time.

However, if they have an issue with their weight or their fitness, you need to listen and offer advice. Offer your expert opinion on what they can do to improve. Are they over or under eating? Are they not putting 100% into their training regime or do they find it hard to stick to running three times a week? Either way, offer them a positive option and remind them of what they have to gain (or lose) from sticking to the plan.

Willie Nelson once said – “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”

Although he wasn’t a personal trainer, his thoughts on positivity can translate across all aspects of life. So keep the positive vibes coming. Your clients will thank you for it.


5 sure fire ways to lose your personal training clients

Keeping hold of your personal training clients is a task in itself, of course your focus is on helping them achieve their goals, but you should always keep one eye on ensuring that you’re doing everything you can to make sure they come back the next day, right? WRONG!

Let’s face it, you’ve got far too many clients and you really need a day off, so let’s jettison those clients quickly so we can start hanging out with your mates on the weekend rather than having to listen to Steve whine on about how his pants don’t fit anymore! Here’s 5 sure fire ways to help you lose clients – and fast.

1. Use your phone constantly

You really don’t want to listen to Heather go on about how her cat has run away again, or how Tom’s weight loss isn’t going so well. So whilst they’re training away on the squat rack, just take a few moments for yourself and look at Facebook or Instagram – literally anything you can to give your clients the impression you’re not bothered. Monday’s a free day now – huzzah!

2. Pile those weights on

Remember everything you’ve been taught about keeping your clients safe? Well, just forget about that and pile those weights on. Let’s see 70yr old Margery try and bicep curl 55 KG dumbbells. Yeah, didn’t think so. She probably won’t be back after she’s popped her elbow out and that means you can have Tuesday mornings off again! Winner.

3. Forget their names

You’re a busy person! You‘ve got clients knocking your door down for the opportunity to work with you. You don’t have time to remember these people! So don’t bother. Who cares if Terry, or is it Dave (?) has questions about their diet. You don’t need to care as you want rid them anyway. For fun, just start making up names on the fly – it’ll help your day go faster and put them off coming back to you. Well, there’s Wednesdays freed up again!

4. Turn up late

Just watch Jeremy Kyle a little longer, Denise can wait. Plus you’re not about to walk out now – you need to know if that guy is the father of that little boy! You want Thursdays off anyway, and Denise knows how to lift weights on her own, she won’t mind if you’re half an hour late. Just text her and tell her to get started on her own.

5. Don’t worry about what your client is eating

Diet plan shmiet plan! Diet means absolutely nothing anyway, so just tell them to eat whatever they want. Hey, your clients might not lose weight or achieve their goals but at least they’re paying you every week right? Besides, you want Friday’s off!

So there you have it, 5 easy ways to free up your week! You’ve easily alienated your clients and showed them that you really don’t care about their well-being and now you can do whatever you want with your week. Besides, you don’t need to be nice to clients to get them to keep coming back right? …oh wait!

Have you got a horror story about your personal training experience? Had a client from hell? Comment below and let us know.



5 signs your personal training clients are about to leave you and what you can do to prevent it

As we’ve previously discussed, maintaining a positive relationship with your clients is vital should you want to retain them as long as possible. But another major part of retaining clients is understanding or at least spotting the signs that they might be losing interest in their training, which means they’re losing interest in you.

So how can you spot these signs and what can you do to prevent them leaving you? Let’s take a look:

1. Failing to show up

If clients are simply not turning up for training, only to offer pitiful excuses, like they lost their keys or “forgot” about the appointment, there’s something wrong. If it happens once every few months, then don’t worry about it, but if it’s happening every week, you need to address the situation. Approach them in a non-confrontational way and try and find out why they’re not turning up for training. It could be lack of motivation, which means they’re probably not getting the results they were looking for, or it could be a number of reasons. Either way it’s bad for business, so try and find out why they’re not showing up. Remember, you’re running a business too, so if they just don’t want to train anymore, move on and try to find another client that will fill that gap in your timetable.

2. They’re not following a diet plan that you provided

If your client doesn’t see results, they won’t want to pay you for your time. You should be able to spot whether your client seems to be following the diet plan that you have set out, and any good personal trainer knows when someone is eating more than they tell you. If they’re not following a diet plan or listening to your advice, they might not see the value in what you’re trying to do. Again, you should address this sooner rather than later and try to motivate them. Once they see results, they’ll be eager to keep up the good work.

3. They start complaining about money

As a personal trainer, chances are at some point you’ll become the agony aunt to your client. Of course you need to be attentive when they’re complaining about their cat dying or next door neighbour cooking too much, but when they start talking about finances, alarm bells should start ringing. Everyone struggles with their finances at some point in life, but if your client is constantly talking about money, they could be trying to alert you that they can’t afford your services anymore. A great way to combat this would be to offer your services on a group basis, this means that they could bring a friend and pay less than they would normally, which means you’re still getting the same income and they’re more likely to attend class.

4. Clients aren’t interested in trying new things

As part of your training regime for your client, you will inevitably have to change things up every now and then. This helps motivate people as they start to use muscles in a different way and feel a different “burn” but also shows that you’re trying new things to get better results. If your client is resistant to new exercises or changing their workout plan, chances are they’ve lost interest in what’s happening. Could this be that things are working really well, or could this be down to the fact they don’t see the value in your sessions, and therefore you? Keeping lines of communication open and addressing any issues like this in a friendly manner really helps retain clients. Are you the root cause of the problem? Is your workout too difficult? These are some questions you need to ask as well, because at the end of the day it’s your client that needs to benefit, not you.

5. They’re complaining of pain all the time

There is a major difference between pain and the burn. Fail to see the difference between these two aspects and you’re going to lose your client. If your client is injured whilst working out they might be out of action for a few weeks, and worst of all it might be your fault. If you push your clients too hard, they won’t enjoy training with you. Yes, push them to their limits, but understand where those limits are or you just become an angry shouting person that they no longer want to hand money over to.

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7 tips for retaining your personal training clients

Trying to find new clients can be extremely difficult, but instead of focusing on bringing in new business all the time, you need to make sure you’re putting a lot of time and effort into retaining your current PT clients – after all, these are the people who are going to refer you to a friend and keep you in business.

If you’re waking up in the morning and looking at your schedule only to find that more and more of your clients are dropping off, you need to make a change – and fast. So how do you maximise your retention rates and turn those clients from once a month to once a day relationships?

Here are 7 tips to help you retain your personal training clients.

  1. Always use their name

Frequently using someone’s name establishes that you are invested in them personally. Using someone’s name in a conversation means you are creating an individual message and goes a long way to motive them. A simple but effective trick you should use in conversations and when you’re shouting at them to push that bicep curl one more time.

  1. Be excited

We don’t mean jumping around like a puppy or talking so much that you look like you’ve taken too much pre-workout. We mean being excited about training with the person and their progress. Positive vibes create more positive vibes. Chances are you’re going to have to act as a therapist on many occasions with your clients, so turn negatives into positives and create an exciting atmosphere for them. It’s a good chance they’re going to be unhappy about their current physical health, so create excitement about making a change with them.

  1. Know your stuff

Make sure you know how best to get results for your clients and use that knowledge to help them. Have they heard about a new weight loss regime or training program? You need to be all over that with your critique and let them know what you’re planning for them is safer and gets better results. Be the go-to expert in your field not just in the gym, but online as well. Start a blog and talk about the best way to achieve results and critique the fads out there. Chances are when someone pays a compliment to your client they’ll refer that person to your blog or social media page so it pays off to make sure you’re seen as a good knowledge base.

  1. Talk about the future

You should be planning your client’s journey for them over a 4-6 week period or even further. Say things like “In 4 weeks we’ll be adding extra weight to your squat rack to get better results” or “In 4 weeks’ time we’ll be changing your diet to accommodate your weight loss goals more aggressively”. Planning ahead sets goals for your clients and lets them know they need you to help them achieve those goals.

  1. Find out why your client wants to improve

This sounds simple, but discovering exactly why your client has come to you for advice is vital to creating that all important relationship. For example, your client may struggle to build muscle on their legs or struggle to lose weight in general. You won’t know how to help them achieve their goals until you A. ask them what they want to achieve and B. discuss their past efforts. Only then can you really understand how to help people achieve their fitness goals. If you have a lot of clients it’s easy to try a one-size-fits-all approach but the truth is; that won’t work. No results= lack of retention.

  1. Track results

Your clients will be keeping tabs on how they are improving, but you need to be all over it. Make sure you’re keeping lists and documents tracking their progress so you can show them how well they’re improving a few weeks down the line.

  1. Keep in contact with your clients

Any client wants to feel like you are tuned into their progress, so keeping in constant contact really helps build a strong relationship and lets them know that you care. Go easy on the “how is the dog feeling” texts, but send them an email or text every now and then to let them know that you’re pumped for the next session or to offer good advice on some new supplements that may help them. In addition, being available when they text you really helps strengthen retention rates as they now have access to advice when you aren’t around.


10 motivational quotes to help get your clients motivated (as well as yourself)

Just like getting out of bed in the morning, the motivation to drag yourself to the gym can be lacking even on the best of days. But when it’s your job as a personal trainer to motivate people and keep their “eyes on the prize”, there’s simply no way you can have an “off” day. Your clients look to you for enthusiasm and positive reinforcement to be able to give them that extra energy they need to realise their goals, so it’s wise to have a few motivational quotes in your back pocket to really get them focused on results.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of motivational quotes that really help get your fitness clients (as well as yourself) motivated.

Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a championMuhammad Ali

Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.Uncredited

Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.Bruce Lee

Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two earsLaird Hamilton

If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to failMark Spitz

You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivationHomer Rice

You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a one hundred percent effort that you gave–win or loseGordie Howe

You only get out what you put inUncredited

Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at itTed Williams

It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get upVince Lombardi

So happy training, and remember – if you haven’t got the will to succeed, you won’tinsure4sport (yep we came up with that one!)

smoothies blog

5 reasons why smoothies are great for your health

Smoothies have seen a sudden rise in popularity over the past few years. At the end of 2013, retailer John Lewis recorded a 93 per cent rise in sales of what they describe as ‘health inspired’ kitchen appliances. These figures are continuing to rise.

Now, in 2015, more and more people are heading for the smoothie maker rather than the coffee counter for their usual mid-morning cappuccino, latte or espresso.

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5 things you shouldn’t do as a Personal Trainer

As a Personal Trainer, your job is much more than just helping someone lose weight. You’re a confidant, a friend, a motivator, a disciplinarian, even a shoulder a to cry on. Your job is to help people with their goals and provide support no matter how bad your day has been.

Remember, your clients are paying for your services and you have to deliver, every time. And providing you do, everybody wins. Your client wins as their fitness goes from strength to strength and their weight tumbles. And you win, as you see your client reach their goals. What’s more, your client is far more likely to recommend you to a friend. And as your network expands, so does your reputation and work.

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