Monday, January 31, 2011

11 Tips For Being a Successful Intern

In keeping with the theme from the last blog about my experience as an intern, I have come up with some tips to help you succeed as an intern.  

As I have mentioned in previous posts, an internship is extremely important if you want to get into the fitness field.  When you land an internship, you want to make the most out of it and learn as much as possible.  So use these tips to help you impress your co-workers and bosses and get the most out of your internship.

Disclaimer: These will mostly apply to people who want to work in a gym setting, but they can also be applicable for other areas as well.

1) Know your responsibilities.
I know this may seem trivial, but it is important.  Know what time you should be there each day, what time you get to leave, how long you get for break, etc.  Try to reach out to previous interns if possible to learn what is expected.

2) Know the gym/facility.
What I mean by this is know their philosophy about assessment, training, programs, etc.  One way you can do this is to watch and/or read all the material that the gym and/or the owners have produced. 
The owners will not be very impressed if you ask multiple questions that are answered in one of their products.

3) Learn first with your eyes, then your ears, and lastly with your mouth.
    I cannot remember who I heard this from, but it is true.

4) Ask questions and have a notebook close!
When I interned at IFAST, Bill Hartman and Mike Robertson dropped knowledge bombs like crazy so it was important that I had a notebook handy.
Do not be afraid to ask questions.  Just make sure you have thought your question through and cannot figure out the answer on your own.

 5) Be professional (appearance, attitude, timeliness, etc.).
    Enough said.

6) Try to be on the gym floor as often as possible.
This does not mean try to coach every person who enters the gym, but be prepared to help if they ask.  Some people do not want to be coached all the time. 

7) If the gym is slow, still be productive.
Use this time to clean up the gym a little or get some reading or writing done.

8) Practice what you preach. 
Train yourself and work hard in the gym.  It is good to be able to demonstrate the exercises that you are coaching well.

9) Get to know the clients (introduce yourself and be friendly).
This one is VERY IMPORTANT!  You can be extremely smart, but if you cannot get along with the people you are helping, then it is likely they will not stay long - even if you write them a great program.

 10) Work with a variety of clients.
You need to have good people skills if you want to be a trainer or coach.  Working with many different people will help with this.
It will also allow you to see the many ways people can compensate on different exercises.
And lastly, it will help you build a variety of cues to use because a specific cue may work for one client but not another.

11) Make the clients know that you care!
This profession is ultimately about helping clients, and a client will never be happy if they do not believe you care about them and their goals.  

Anyone have any other tips or suggestions?  Let me know in the comments.

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