The Anatomy Of A Killer Personal Training Session

Posted on 08. Aug, 2010 by in Marketing Fitness


It takes a special kind of trainer to be in charge of this body (still looking mighty fine after two kids, I must add).

It takes a special kind of trainer to be in charge of this body.

What’s up trainers …

While flipping through this month’s issue of Muscle & Fitness, past the photos of the juiced up circus side-shows and ads for NO EXPLODE, I saw something I wasn’t expecting:  a small article about Personal Training, from a real trainer, giving some non-traditional, real-world advice.

It was Gunnar Peterson’s monthly column in the magazine.  If you’re new to this game and don’t know who Gunnar is, he practically owns the term “celebrity trainer” in the dictionary.  The question isn’t who does he train;  it’s more like you’d have an extremely hard time finding an a-list star he hasn’t.

He was one of my original inspirations to get serious in this business; it was reading his book, THE WORKOUT while sitting in a Barnes & Nobles when I was flat broke, that showed me that becoming an independent personal trainer was a real, viable business (not the freak show I was used to at Bally’s).  Since then I’ve got to talk to him several times, he’s collaborated on fitnesss business products I’ve produced (and a new one coming soon), and has in ways been a mentor to me.

Well, the reason this article suprised me was because there was such little talk of actual “training” in it.  In that way, it’s very similar to Super-Trainer, in that although we deal with the fitness industry, there is hardly anything here that is exercise specific.   All of that stuff is important, and if you’re on my customer list you know that we do talk about product integrity.  But for the most part that’s not what this site is about.  This site is about moving your fitness services and products to as many people as possible, plain and simple.

And if you have a industry “purist” like Gunnar, who still does all of the training himself, echoing the same message in his talk about putting the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE first and foremost in the session, you know there’s something to it.  That’s exactly the point he made in his article – here it is so you can take a look:




This guys in a league of his own.

This guy’s in a league of his own.

GUNNAR PETERSON, CSCS, CPT, is a Beverley Hills-based personal trainer with more than 20 years of fitness experience.

What qualities do the best trainers possess?

  • Knowledge of training physiology, biomechanics, and kinesiology should be a given for a trainer just like food prep is for a restuarant’s head chef.

I expect a chef to know how to prepare the items on the menu the same way I expect a trainer to be qualified to guide someone through a workout.

But just as you remember the taste of the food when you leave a restaurant, consider your client’s overall feeling after the session.  Was it fun?  Too fun to be considered a workout?  Was it serious?  Are you a personal trainer and personable trainer, or are you just a trainer?

I believe you have to be as invested and interested in your clients as you want them to be in your services.  I try to provide an unbelievable overall experience: parking, music, cleanliness, lighting, and workout beverages, and I focus on ending each session on a high on a high note.  Personal training is a service industry, so I serve.


Hope you caught that- he was giving you a BIG hint to the secret of his success right there.  Notice how he said technical knowledge is a given, but IS NOT the deciding factor.  What is, is CLIENT EXPERIENCE.  Customer psychology.  Those are the things he’s focusing on.   I hope that gives you an idea of where your head and focus should be at when planning how to sell and administer your services.

Although it was short, there was a lot of info in that article from someone who serves the most affluent and discerning clientelle, and has probably the highest priced training services, known to man.  I’d pay attention to the meaning in it.  And a word to the Muscle and Fitness editors: in the future, leave the fitness business stuff to us!

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Greg Justice

08. Aug, 2010

“Personal training is a service industry, so I serve….”

I love that line! Gunnar is at the top of his game and we can all learn from his expertise.

Ben London

09. Aug, 2010

I hear where Gunner is going with his chef analogy, but I haven’t met too many ‘personable’ chefs in my time!

You don’t need to be a chef to run a successful restaurant, just like a personal trainer doesn’t need to know EVERYTHING there is to know about exercise science to be successful trainer.

You can learn exercise and nutrition, you can’t learn to be personable, though there are ways to become better at it.

I encourage my trainers to spend time evaluating their strengths and weaknesses on all levels and to go so far as to formally survey their clients on opportunities they feel your business lacks.

Timely and great article on one of the industry’s best Kaiser!


Travis Tucker

09. Aug, 2010

Good call – he never would have got to where he is without all of that customer experience stuff. The social proof is huge too – once you get one of the Bennifers, the rest will come running.

Raquelle Valderama

09. Aug, 2010

Loved this post Kaiser! Yes, Gunnar really is the best – I remember watching him on VH1 years ago, before I was even a trainer. Life is so strange, that now I’m a trainer learning lessons from him. I can relate totally to what he was talking about here. I’m paying attention to everything he’s talking about with my clients – and your course is helping a lot.

To anyone thinking about getting Kaiser’s THE SIX-FIGURE TRAINER PROGRAM, I really, really recommend it. What Gunnar is talking about here is exactly what you teach in the program Kaiser. All about customer psychology.

Again, I can’t thank you enough – less than a 8 months ago I was still working at a gym. Now I make more than my Dad, have moved out of my parents house, and am thinking about opening a studio. I owe it all to you 100% Kaiser.

Another great post, and looking forward to reading more – thanks again!

Jason Aurman

09. Aug, 2010

Good stuff here Kaiser. I get M&F and saw the same thing, and that was the first thing that came to mind – how he was talking about service, and not about training. It’s the same mistake I was making for years, thinking only about training. Now I’ve “got it” so to speak, and have way more clients.

Good stuff and looking forward to what you have to share next!

– JA

Devon NYC

09. Aug, 2010

Hey kaiser –

Real good reminder here – it’s something you talk about over and over again in the program and I love it –

Godd job.


15. Aug, 2010

I got the chance to meet Gunnar Peterson. He was talking to a lot of people, but made time to talk to me, he shook my hand, made eye contact, and wasn’t too busy to talk to reagular folks. A real stand up guy.

I remember you telling me Kiaser that the people at the top of training are really nice and helpful, and I’m starting to realize that’s true, it’s only the guys in the gym that are CUT THROAT.

Greta article.thanks.

– Victor

Graeme Teague

18. Aug, 2010

Service service service, without it you are just one of the many. Training is the same, without good service clients will recommend you or follow you. Gunnar takes this to the nth degree.

[…] long-time struggling complainers) and they will tell you the same thing.  I’ve featured how Gunnar Peterson mentioned this very same fact in a national magazine, and I’ve never spoken to a successful trainer who would argue against […]

Eula Lanzarotta

06. May, 2011

I don’t normally comment on blogs.. But nice post! I just bookmarked your site

Brian Walpole

20. Feb, 2013

If you have decided that your true calling lies in becoming a personal trainer, you might want to know more about the entire process of getting the required qualifications and also about what to expect from the courses. I have included in my blogpost, various aspects associated with training to be a personal trainer and the qualifications required to begin your career in personal training.

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