3 Reasons why I HATE being called a Personal Trainer
25 years ago there was hardly such a thing as a “Personal Trainer.” Fitness was an “up and coming fad” and had barely any such thing as a “Fitness Professional” outside of professional sports, college, or the Olympics.
Times have changed. Now, it seems that everybody that ever had a goal to be fit, healthy, or sell multi-level marketing supplement products such as HerbaLife or Advocare wants to call themselves a “Trainer” or a “Health Coach.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of people who sell these products that are qualified to help others get better. (although most are just in it for the money when we’re completely honest)
The problem lies in the fact that people “flippantly” decide that they are going to be a “trainer” or a “health coach” and quite a bit don’t get any sort of education to justify such a statement. I’m not here to say someone needs a 4 year-degree, or 12 certifications-but at LEAST go get a weekend certification to get yourself started.
IF you’re unwilling to invest even $500 into your personal fitness and wellness education don’t expect clients to trust you enough to pay thousands of dollars per year to train with you.
Gyms internationally are FULL of people who call themselves “trainers” who represent this profession with very little professionality, respect, and even work ethic. A lot of “youth” desire to be a “trainer.” I get it. I started when I was 21 and have loved it since I started.
The immaturity that is prevalent in these age categories has infiltrated this industry making it somewhat of a “joke” profession to certain communities. How can we expect to change people’s lives through fitness if there is a growing population of people who lack trust, lack respect, and see hardly any value in this profession.
Trust me, Grandma probably doesn’t want to train with 18-year old Johnny who “trains” because this is “cooler” than working at a “normal” job for $9 an hour bagging groceries or loading trucks.
At this point I sound rude. My point is that I’m sick and tired of seeing people-young or older treat this profession with such a lack of respect and don’t take their education or business skills seriously.
So, without any further complaining…here’s 3 reasons why I HATE being called a Personal Trainer:
1. Being a Personal Trainer signifies that we inflict pain on people.
Yes, part of getting better physically requires “pushing” and “challenging” our clients to be better. Unfortunately, too many meat heads train every single client the exact same way. (grandma needs more exercises than bent over rows and big bicep curls) This method of training leads to chronic pain and movement dysfunction which has more than likely set the client back even further leading to less movement, which then leads to more weight gained, and functional deficits are then increased.
This kind of training, in turn, has led to the industry professionals being “labeled” as “professional torcherers” and “fitness tyrants.” I’ve even seen and heard of plenty of trainers who will tell their clients to “push through the pain” when that pain is being caused by a muscle or a joint-related problem as opposed to the pain being from fatigue. People need to see us as PROFESSIONALS-NOT drill sergeants looking to inflict unnecessary physical pain and make a profit for it.
2. Being a Personal Trainer means we are full of ourselves and are intimidating the average Joe.
How many times have you seen this? –A trainer with big muscles, a half-scowl on his face as he downs his next load of chicken and rice, and so unapproachable its a wander that anybody would train with him-let alone be his friend.
Now, this might seem extreme, but the general public can be intimidated by us. You have a body they don’t. You have the dedication that they probably don’t. You represent what they want to be but currently are NOT-and this scares people. They may not say it, but subconsciously they are thinking it. There are those who are scared of the gym-period. They’re scared of what the other members might think of them. They’re scared of that feeling of helplessness and not knowing what to do. What they NEED at the gym are trainers who are humble, helping, compassionate, approachable, and overall just welcoming.
To truly reach people, you have to show that you care, are relatable, and are professional with what you do. Too many trainers are more concerned with their personal “aesthetics” than they are helping people improve their lives through health and fitness.
This arrogant, self-centered aspect of our industry is why I hate being called a personal trainer. We’re here to help people. Take your mind off your own ego and focus on genuinely being the kind of person, let alone being a trainer, that will impact people’s lives.
3. Being in great shape means you should be or are qualified to be a Personal Trainer.
Being in great shape doesn’t mean a person knows enough about the human body to train somebody else.
Having a vein in your bicep doesn’t mean you’re qualified to train other guys on how to get their biceps to look like “yours.”
People, especially men, will “dismiss” the notion that they have a need for a trainer as this is a issue of pride for them. They will attempt to train their girlfriend/wife, and wander why their significant other never gets the results she wants.
I guess my main point is that people are respecting the industry less and less to the point that they don’t even see the value or need for our services. WE are the professionals. THEY are just gym-rats. The lack of education, and frankly the ignorance that is prevalent here is simply why people get hurt, never see results, and why people end of quitting.
So….the question is? What do I call myself? I call myself an Exercise Professional who specializes in helping people move better, function better, and feel better through exercise.
This establishes what I do in a direct way and communicates my professionalism at the same time. Maybe I’m a bit “picky” about this name of “Personal Trainer,” but the problems associated with the industry have spawned this distaste.
Until things improve, i’ll proclaim my profession as “Exercise Professional”. Until the standards rise, don’t call me a “Personal Trainer.”
Jesse Jackson-“Exercise Professional”
Inner Strength Fitness CEO