Soft Skills for Hard Bodies

We chose to work in an industry that is incredibly fulfilling and relies heavily on relationship building. For most of us fitness is not only our career but also our passion, our pastime, and how we define our identity.

We are at our best when our clients and members are successful and when we’re getting along marvelously with our colleagues, supervisors, and employees. Whether those interactions are taking place online, via email, during phone calls, or in person, we can get thrown way off track if they are negative. We thrive in an environment that is positive and focused on solutions; it’s what our clients ask of us and what we need from our co-workers.

It’s key to take time to reflect on our various work relationships in order to determine how we are contributing to their success, or lack thereof. Our “hard bodies” industry requires “soft skills” – ones engrained in emotional intelligence and key to relationships that keep us motivated, and motivating!

We can take a few moments to reflect on the following soft skills:


There is a reason we were born with 1 mouth and 2 ears; we’re meant to listen more than we talk. As the “advice” people we do a LOT of talking and sharing. We are so passionate about what we have to share that we sometimes don’t let the person we’re communicating with finish their sentence before we blurt out our answer/solution/idea.

  • Practice active listening: keep both feet grounded on the floor, stay still, open your eyes and ears, keep you mouth closed. Refrain from speaking, or interrupting, until the person has finished their thought and wait 3 seconds before speaking.

Self-Assessment and Self Acceptance

Understanding ourselves, and accepting our imperfections, is critical to being in relationships with genuine compassion. Most people who are very critical of others find it difficult to turn the mirror on themselves and have authentic self-esteem.

  • Ask for feedback: ask your class participants, personal training clients, co-workers, employer, etc. to share 3 things with you as it relates to your relationship and performance.
  1. One thing you can do less often
  2. One thing you can do more often
  3. One thing you can start doing

Positive Thinking

We sometimes rely on thought patterns that add dissonance to relationships, especially in moment of stress. For example, we’ll use language that is “all of nothing”, we’ll exaggerate with “that never works”, we get stuck in “we already tried that”.

  • Be solutions-focused: we rarely strike gold the first time around. Allow yourself, your team, and your members the opportunity to try things with a feeling of safety thanks to positive thinking. And if things don’t go as planned give yourself time to reflect (vs react) so that you’ll have space of mind to get creative; you’ll enjoy the pleasure of generating ideas and solutions.

We are motivating and successful thanks to what makes us unique, phenomenal personal attributes. Focusing our time and energy and becoming an ever-growing version of ourselves will provide the long and fulfilling careers we desire.

Nathalie is a mover, shaker, and joie de vivre giver! She blends her 25 years of international fitness experience with her degrees in psychology and exercise science to passionately connect with fitness professionals.

After a decade as an executive at canfitpro, Canada’s leading fitness education body, she left it all to move closer to family and launch the second half of her career. Nathalie now dedicates herself to coaching leaders and managers in the fitness industry towards mindfully built strategies to run your business from a place of trust, optimism, and joy.

To find out more about how you can thrive in your career join Nathalie at the next SCW MANIA®.



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