As a self-employed personal trainer I hear many misconceptions about the industry I work in. People ask what I actually do and how I make a living doing it so here it is.
I do not sell any products; I do not work for a large corporation that requires me to meet a sales quota. I did not get into this line of work to work less. I started personal training because I love learning about the human body, exercise, nutrition, and disease prevention. And I really want to improve the way people feel in their own skin. There is an enormous amount of marketing out there for “health” products and quite frankly crap that gets a lot of hype because people make money selling it. But does this stuff actually help?
As a personal trainer, my job is to reduce pain, increase strength, flexibility and improve my client’s quality of life, not to sell products. Call me a purist, but my job is to educate and therefore I study a lot. I went to grad school to study exercise science and health promotion, I went through Integrative Nutrition to learn about dietary therapies and specialized diets. I've obtained various certifications, I read and listen to lectures about Yoga, strength training, nutrition, massage therapy, postural differences, diabetes prevention and care, Alzheimer’s prevention and care, stroke rehabilitation, drug interactions, pre and post natal exercise, and the list goes on because every client is different and presents more learning opportunities. I’m not here to tell people what is wrong or right, but I am here to provide information and resources. I am not a Doctor, Physical Therapist, Psychologist or Dietician. Each of them serve their own very important role and those defined roles must be respected. But in this career like the ones mentioned above I work with people from all walks of life, except I see my clients at least once a week if not more and I get to help via a listening ear and education as preventative medicine. I believe in what I do I think well informed Personal Trainers can play a huge role improving their client’s physical and psychological health. Personal trainers are not just cheerleaders and rep counters they should be far more than that.
To all Personal Trainers out there keep learning and take everything you learn with a grain of salt. To all consumers of Personal Training, coaching etc take everything you hear with a grain of salt and be your own advocate; find a trainer that fits your needs, because even if you think “you’re good” in a group class I guarantee that time with a well-informed one on one trainer/coach will bring a new awareness to your body and/or your health. Even if you hate to exercise there is a trainer for you. ;-)