Edited by: Lisa Herbert
I had the pleasure of attending the IdeaFit Conference this weekend in Alexandria, Va. I could write for hours on all of the things I took away from this extraordinary experience. I decided to focus on one main point. It was a resounding theme throughout all the presentations. It was almost like they were trying to subconsciously pound a message into our heads. Eventually the light went on and now I want to share it with you.
I AM NOT A PERSONAL TRAINER!
There I said it. I know that sounds foreign because for years all I’ve done is call myself a personal trainer. These days if you peruse the internet, and you jump on any social media platform, you will find thousands of personal trainers advertising their business. I learned an interesting statistic while at the conference. There are over 300,000 personal trainers in the United States alone. To become a personal trainer, you simply have to say you’re a personal trainer. We have certifications in our field, but you don’t NEED one in order to train clients.
Simply take a look at Youtube, Instagram, or Facebook pages and you will see tons of people having clients do things that are unsafe or not conducive to the goal they are trying to obtain. All that is really required in this day and age is that you “look” the part. The danger in that is that looks can be deceiving. Genetics can play a role in what people look like, and you can’t out train genetics. This is why some people are 6″7 and go to the NBA and some of us are just good at basketball but will never touch a professional hard-wood floor. You can’t train yourself to be 6″7. I don’t care what you do.
Our eyes manipulate us into thinking our bodies can do something that someone else may have done without factoring in all of the variables. This isn’t to say you should place limitations on yourself. It is, however, to suggest that we should be realistic in our goals and factor in more than what someone else looks like when seeking personal training. What they look like is important, which is why I take good care of myself. It just isn’t the end all be all. When you leave out what they actually know, it does you a disservice. You can actually toss tons of money down the drain from wasted training session or even worst, injury.
So, what do I call myself if I’m not a Personal Trainer? I am a professional. Better stated, I am a Fitness Professional. I lead people to their goals using my extensive background and training. What separates me and other Fitness Professionals? Continued Education. This doesn’t have to happen in the form of school (although I suggest doing that too). Does your trainer read? The next time you’re in the market for a trainer ask them, “what’s the last book you’ve read on fitness and what was your biggest take-away from that reading?” If they stutter or can’t produce an answer, you’re probably dealing with a glorified rep counter.
Our industry changes every day. New research is done and ideas morph. Certifications are great, but they can become a crutch. A lot of trainers think the learning is done once you obtain a certification. I always say, “that’s where the real learning begins.” Think about it, once a doctor graduates medical school, technically they are certified to work on patients. Does that doctor know more than a doctor who has been practicing for 20 years? Probably not! There really is no ONE tangible measurement of a good Fitness Professional. It is cumulative. You must assess the “ALL” of the trainer, to include the training experience itself. You could have all the knowledge in the world, but if you deliver a boring session, who would come back? Would you?
So, for these reasons I have retired the title of “Personal Trainer”. I am a Fitness Professional. I have studies movement for years and offer a specialized set of skills to my clients. I am able to train practically any client, no matter their skill set or injuries. This is what I attribute my success to in this field. I study and deliver an awesome training experience to my client backed with knowledge of what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we should do it. I pride myself on being able to answer any questions my clients may have and if I can’t, I go to work to figure out the answer. I am NOT a rep counter or a workout babysitter. I am NOT an app that just shoots out timed stops. I AM a Fitness Professional. GO HARD, TRAIN SAFE!