A lot of fitness professionals hesitate to call themselves personal trainers. They’ll use inflated titles like “Fitness Professional, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Health and Fitness Specialist” and many others. “Personal Trainer” has become a bit of a derogatory term and that’s a real shame. When I tell people I’m a personal trainer, the stereotype emerges. I’m an inattentive and unmotivated individual that counts reps and sits on my phone playing Angry Birds while my client struggles through a movement. In fact, a mutual friend recently told me that he left the fitness industry so that he could go get a “real job.”
On top of that, you have these “online training gurus” ready to help you build an online training business that brings in $10,000/month while working comfortably from your laptop in Maui. If it’s not them, it’s yet another “wellness coach” that peddles useless supplements from a multi-level marketing company (we’ve all gotten those random DM’s and seen at least one of those ridiculous “I wanted to let you know about this amazing opportunity” videos…) To quote the Joker, “All you care about is money.” In addition to the massive amount of health/fitness/nutrition misinformation that’s pervasive on the web, a lot of people associate personal trainers with snake oil salesmen. The big problem out there is this; because the fitness industry isn’t regulated, there’s a wide array of quality in the marketplace. As a result, it can be hard to know what you’re going to get when you hire a coach. It’s time to change the stereotype…
Let me tell you about my experience as a personal training client. When I hired Sean to train me, the conversation started with what my goals were. Typically, this is where the communication breakdown occurs. Most trainers will listen to the goals, and impose their will, talking about how amazing their training style and certification are. Hell, most coaches are set in their ways and focus less on the needs of their clients. They have the “winning system” and adapt clients to fit that so-called infallible system.
When I came to Sean, I was unmotivated, uninspired and in pain. My wrists, back and left knee hurt and I was not excited about training. I wasn’t into it anymore. I had never worked with a trainer and was very intimidated. Even though I was a personal trainer, I was still nervous about working with a coach.
I knew nothing about the staff as I was very new there, so I didn’t really know who I should work with. Sean had a Captain America Shield tattoo on his shoulder, so that was my sign. As luck would have it, I chose not only a fellow Marvel nerd but one of the best trainers at our gym.
Instead of simply telling me what to do, counting reps and sending me on my way, what occurred was very different. Sean once told me that his goal was to have his clients learn enough so that they could coach others. He focused on teaching me instead of barking orders. It was a team effort, and as a result my self confidence skyrocketed. I learned new exercises. I reached levels of strength I once thought impossible for myself while also getting out of pain. As a result, I also became a much better trainer for my clients. We’ve built a community at the gym, pushing each other to get better at our craft and push ourselves to the next level. We are very proud of our Strong Squad.
To modify the Joker’s iconic statement, “This town deserves a better class of personal trainer.” Don’t lose hope in the fitness industry. I agree that there is an abundance of toxic superficiality in this space, but there are phenomenal coaches out there as well. There are trainers that are worried about one thing; serving their clients. They attend conferences, accumulate continuing education and continue to get better at their craft. You won’t find them posting another useless shirtless selfie in the bathroom, slinging the latest bullshit supplement that probably doesn’t do a damn thing. They’re buried in books, networking with other like-minded professionals and adding value to the marketplace while in the trenches. How do I know this? Because that’s what my personal trainer does.
To your lifelong health and success,