“What are you even doing? What is that?! People take your advice?!” Far too often I find myself saying this about videos and posts I witness while scrolling through Facebook or “the gram”. Constantly inundated by “booty pump” pictures followed by a motivational quote as the caption. The only thing you are motivating me to do is roll my eyes and read your Pinterest quote in a satirical voice. There is also the ever favorite “Cardio harder than me” shot of only a woman’s boobs. Yep – we are all totally looking at the sweat… nothing else.
Before there was Instagram and Snapchat, there was this thing called personal interaction, it took place in… believe it or not… real life. IRL YOU GUYS. I started my journey as a fitness instructor and certified personal trainer almost seven years ago before #fitspo was a thing. Before you could have a sweet Flex Friday photo and get followers who would then pay asinine amounts of money for your copy and paste “Booty Builder Program”. In turn, now we live in a society of Everybody’s A Trainer.
I have my own in-person personal training business and studio, where I have been lucky enough to build a great reputation and following for being knowledgeable and good at what I do – and PERSONABLE. I have had to develop skills in making adjustments to programming on the spot and hold a depth of knowledge that allows me to treat every single client and class attendant as an individual for their physiological, mental, and emotional needs.
Before you think I am villainizing the entire online training world for capitalizing on popularity contests, I am ALSO a part of a successful online coaching and training team that prides ourselves on custom programming and overall lifestyle wellness for our clients. We do constant assessments and evaluations to all areas of clients programming via videos, email, text, informational posts, team group, and strategic progressions to programming based on THEIR body and THEIR goals. (A little shameless self-promotion never hurt anyone… This is MY blog after all.)
The problem with this influx of online trainers or quick certified box gym trainers, is that most of them have no understanding of fitness, mobility, and health beyond what they have used in competition preps that allowed them to completely deplete themselves of body fat and happiness. They usually have a one track mind on fitness, and when encountered with somebody that does not fit their mold to what they can apply, they have no idea what variables to fix. “Well, just do it. Just be adherent.” Easy enough for you to say Mrs. Body Dysmorphia who hasn’t had a cookie in two years because it’s not “clean”. People are not robots – clients are NOT a one size fits all. They have lives, and emotions, and different synaptic responses in their brains to how they deal with situations. Everyone has been through some shit, seen some shit, injured more shit then they are divulging to you. If you are not fully confident in answering basic fitness and nutrition questions on the “why” behind specific instructions without sitting behind a keyboard and spitting out a Google’able answer…. Please, quit making us all look like assholes.
Every time I see someone pop up with “Now taking on new clients!” after they have done a few competitions, or started doing Beach Body – I want to scream at them for making me feel I would even be considered in the same department as them as far as profession goes. You will never hear me apologize for knowing that I am good at what I do, and sticking by my guns that if you don’t know what the fuck you are doing, and can’t relate to all people… your career in this fitness industry will be short lived. Hundreds and thousands of hours of studying and implementation has gone into my knowledge base. I am lucky enough to work with business partners who share the same passion and mindset, and who push me continuously do better and be better still, after seven years at this.
YOU ARE A GLORIFIED CHEERLEADER. You are motivating and spitting out phrases that don’t bear any actual impact on the outcome. Motivation and inspiration are crucial to being a leader, a coach, and a fitness trainer – but you must be multifaceted. You MUST bring something to the table that will actually better people’s quality of life. What do you actually do for your community? The people you can interact with and engage with – that know you personally. I once had a conversation with a good friend about how he met a very popular “online trainer” in person… and she was dumb as a box of rocks. BUT I mean…her glutes doh. Naturally she made six figures, on a single path fitness approach. I got so angered by this and had to put it into perspective for him “I could have a much larger ‘following’ and clientele base if I posted half-naked pictures of myself daily, if I decided to have my ass all over the internet, if I used sex to sell my programming… but I am SOMEONE in my real community. I want respect. I want my dad to not be afraid to look at my social media. I want my siblings to be proud. And when people bring me up in the town I live in, I want them to personally know me for the impact I have made in their life, and not have to make my profiles private so they don’t see me face-down/ass-up over sexualizing exercise for profit.” Money is amazing, but if you are good at what you do and passionate to the ends of the earth about it – the money will come regardless. Personal trainer means, personalized – It is in your professional duty to be paid for your worth, but also only take on what you can handle and continue to give every client the unique and specialized attention that they all deserve and spend their hard earned money on.
POST THAT SHIT; Be proud of your body, encourage the world with your posts – but remember to do your due diligence and put in the work to learn, or divert potential clients out of your scope of knowledge to people that can really help. A good trainer (including myself) should know when to pass on a client they aren’t knowledgeable enough to train, and direct them to the right place. If you became a coach for money, you’re doing it wrong. You are not anyone’s financial advisor and you can’t tell them to not spend their money on you, but jesus… be a good human and quit taking advantage of someone who is literally entrusting you with their LIFE.
Luckily for us “old-school” trainers it all eventually comes out in the watch. In the meantime, I just keep taking care of my people, and doing my damndest to be honest to my principles and practices. Do you boo, but don’t make me look like a stereotypical fitness douche.
Someone who actually gives a shit about people