How To Be a Great Personal Trainer: The 10,000 Rule.

How To Be a Great Personal Trainer: The 10,000 Rule.

It requires 10,000 hours of specific practice for sportspeople to attain top-level success. This rule also applies to every Personal Trainer.


Talent obviously also plays a role, and is taken into account in the 10,000 rule, by the fact that people are drawn to things they are good at. As children realize they are talented at different activities, they participate more and practice more. They commonly get put into representative teams, helping them to accrue the 10,000 hours earlier, and at a higher level. This 10,000 hours, whilst a proven phenomenon is really in effect a representation of the intense drive that these individuals have. They have a desire to be great, and a will to be the best. This is why they succeed, and this is why they complete 10,000 hours of practice.

Specific practice is also essential. Specific practice is not hitting thousands of golf balls; it is hitting thousands of golf balls within meters of the pin. It isn’t sinking thousands of putts; it is sinking thousands of putts from different situations and positions on different greens.

What is ‘greatness’?

This article looks at the 10,000 hour rule and being a great personal trainer? Do I need to do 10,000 hours of Personal Training to be a great Personal Trainer?

Before these questions can be answered, it is important to define: what is greatness in the field of personal training? For the purposes of this article it will be described as, “having the ability to positively influence people’s lives through changes in lifestyle, health and wellness; being able to explain reasoning to those who ask; and convey knowledge to others in the industry. All of this should be done whilst leading by example and having a passion for the work.” This to some will look like the job description of a personal trainer, rather than a description of greatness in the field. Why then do so few trainers attain the highest level? It is because only few personal trainers strive to attain their 10 000 hours in the fields of education and experience!

Let us examine these fields. Education incorporates both ongoing education and educating others. Experience incorporates time spent training clients as well as time spent training yourself and experimenting.

Ongoing Education

10,000 hours of Ongoing Education– A requirement to maintain accreditation. How does a Personal Trainer achieve 10,000 hours of ongoing education? Referring back to the golfing analogy; turning up and doing boxing courses for CEC points is like hitting drives. We want 10,000 drives within meters of our target! Engaging the course content, asking questions, doing pre reading and doing your own extra study in the specific area of boxing, is like hitting drives within meters of the pin. It is essential that extra reading is done and that as much knowledge is gained as possible. It is also imperative that the trainer spends hours practicing the skills themselves (but we will get to this 10,000 hours later!). If attaining a personal training qualification takes 300hrs; and CEC courses account for 100hrs a year (in pre reading, doing the courses etc., and practicing these skills); and a further 10hrs each week are set aside for specific practice and research / reading; then there will be 820hrs in the first year; and 620hrs in the subsequent years. This means it will take 14 years to attain greatness in the field!

Educating Others

10,000 hours of Educating Others– To be a leader in the industry, and considered great, you must have the respect of your peers. How do you achieve this? Answer: 10,000 hours educating others! You need to be able to answer questions when asked, you need to write articles, present and provide courses to your peers. Educating others is a powerful tool for reassuring your own knowledge, as well as progressing yourself in the field. Those in the industry who are considered ‘gurus’, are consistently educating others, and are providing feedback to others. Their opinions are sought, is because they have earned respect in the industry.

Training Clients

10,000 hours of Training Clients– there is no substitute for time spent training your clients. The hours of preparation and training clients is where the knowledge is applied. The gap between knowledge and practice is bridged. To have the respect of the industry it is essential that those who are educating others are still working in the industry themselves. Otherwise they will not believe they know what it is like to work and overcome the problems often presented. I refer to programming for different people with different circumstances and goals and getting the best out of each and every one of them. It is probably the easiest of the areas to gain the 10,000 hours, as it is the one that is considered ‘work’. If 30 clients a week are trained the 10,000 hours will be accrued in 7 years.

Training Yourself

10,000 hours of Training Yourself– It is essential that the personal trainer spend time training themselves. For a trainer to understand what the clients are going through they need to have done so themselves. Too many personal trainers are living unhealthy lifestyles and not practicing what they preach: training. This is not acceptable! Leading an active lifestyle is essential, as is eating a healthy diet! These should be priorities for any personal trainer! Trainers must also be role models.

10,000 Hours!

10,000 hours of training is what it takes to be great personal trainer. Hours of deadlifts, squats, chin-ups, burpees, gymnastics, plyometrics, running, rowing, swimming, boxing, wrestling, stretching, and any other variety of exercise imaginable. 10,000 hours of sweat, tears, injuries, questions, sore muscles, and other tests, are what it takes to be the best in the industry of personal training. This equates to 14 years of training at one hour a day for 5 days a week. This might seem like a lot, but isn’t much at all, when considering fields such as medicine. It takes 10 years of hard work to attain a qualification in medicine, and even more to be considered great in your field It is not essential for all personal trainers to be great and thus not all are. The commitment to attain these levels of knowledge is immense and only those with motivations and passion will attain them.

10,000 hours is what it takes to be a great personal trainer!

Want to become a personal trainer? Check out our courses and you too can become a great personal trainer.

If you enjoyed this article you may enjoy reading strategies for success ,or the 10 Commandments of a Personal Trainer

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