“Knowledge is Power”, one of my favourite phrases. I think that whatever field you are in (and indeed in everyday life) you should constantly strive to learn more, I for one have wowed many a folk with useless yet amazing facts. Did you know for example, that 13 people a year die because vending machines fall on them? A fact that I’m sure if I think long and hard enough, has got me somewhere in life. But the point is we should all try to increase our knowledge especially if one is working in the health and fitness industry which is a minefield of information. Now before I start ranting about misinformation, fads, gossip magazines and false advertising (which is a whole new post altogether) I want to get onto the point of this blog entry – knowledge may be power, but to be a good personal trainer / coach / advisor / whatever you label us weird, over energetic oddballs as, much much more than a qualification or two is needed.
I have been in the industry for a while now and I won’t lie, when I first started out I thought I knew it all. How could I! I had very little experience and actually had a lot to learn. Fortunately I got in with an awesome team of trainers and over the years gained a lot more from the guys and girls that surrounded me, courses I went on and experience during my time on the gym floor, than I did from the standard certification course necessary to work in the game (though a Sport Science degree did certainly teach me a lot more than a hell of a lot of certification courses I have come across!). I still continue to, and have a lot to learn and if any trainer out there tells you they know it all, they are not a good trainer, because they don’t. It’s impossible. What I have learnt the most over the years though, is that knowledge is just one “spoke” of a good trainer’s wheel and a list of qualifications as long as your arm, is only good if you have the ability to deliver that knowledge successfully (and have some clients to deliver it to in the first place). A trait that is bloody hard to be taught and only learnt through good experience and one reason as to why many trainers have second jobs and turnover is so high.
So becoming a good trainer takes time, commitment and dedication but becoming a bad trainer is very easy and even the most qualified trainer can invalidate their amazing knowledge in a few easy swoops. Here are my top five:
- Eating, drinking or using a mobile phone whilst training a client. AAGGHHHH I HATE THIS!!! Unprofessional, rude and a bad advert.
- Charging for absolutely everything. Hey we all need to make a living but ultimately we are there to help. Good trainers will make a good living but would never say money is their main motivation for being in the industry. Without the passion to help people succeed, a trainer will become disinterested and you won’t get what you paid for – results.
- Too much science. Whilst some people love hearing about the role of the sarcoplasmic reticulum or the role of pyruvate dehydrogenase in the Krebs cycle, others quite frankly could not give a flying monkey! A good trainer will have an adaptive teaching style. Bombarding someone with knowledge is not always the way to a clients heart (Deadlifts are…)
- Standards. Yes many of us are self employed and are our own boss but it doesn’t mean standards should slip. A trainer who is constantly late, smells like beer from the night before or not acting like you feel a trainer should, is a bad, yes I said it “bad” trainer.
- Non-motivating. Arguably the most important trait of a good trainer is the ability to motivate even the most unwilling of exerciser. Sure you know some amazing techniques to get strong and shift fat but you BORE ME TO DEATH! Not cool.
So that’s what I think. Any half decent trainer will not only have a brain stuffed with awesome knowledge to amaze you with, but they will be able to use that info effectively to help you justify employing them If not, or they are displaying one or more of my top five swoops above, get rid!