If you’re somebody who leads a group with lives at stake, consider this your cell phone telephone. But does the exact same mindset transfer over into the gym? Would you honor a Personal Trainer whose body or athleticism is not exactly impressive?
You’ll get both sides of the opinion being argued heatedly on the internet, and in my career as a coach and trainer, I’ve definitely seen both sides perform in real life.
Appearances Are Deceiving
Trainers, it is often said, are their own best advertisement, and several strive to keep a healthy and fit physique for this specific reason. But regardless of what keyboard warriors may say underneath your videos or articles, you do not have to be ripped to be physically competent. A shredded exterior isn’t a sign of peak fitness because many other factors contribute to functionality and performance.
As importantly, someone with remarkable muscle development and single-digit body fat might be totally not able to transfer these results to your body. Every person is unique, and a well-rounded coach should have the resources to train outside their own physical traits.
A thorough strength-and-conditioning program includes flexibility and mobility training–neither of which develops sculpted stomach or massive quad sweeps, but both are vital for better fitness. These imperceptible facets of fitness are on the mind of each fantastic trainer, but it likely will not manifest in their look –and that is OK.
Put another way, as a muscular look by itself isn’t an indicator of fitness, your trainer’s strength doesn’t dictate their capabilities. A skilled strength coach doesn’t need to be a strongman that will assist you get results. The difference is that they excel at educating others, which is precisely what you need in a coach.
Weak Trainers, Weak Results?
On the other hand, personal trainers don’t have compulsory PT tests. The sole requirement most gyms need of the employees upon hiring is the ability to lift at least 45 pounds–the equivalent of one unloaded Olympic barbell. And that is by no means an industry-wide standard. This means your typical big-gym trainer has the power to load up a squat rack, but anything beyond that depends on their particular training efforts.
If your trainer can not lift more than the pub, you would be right to wonder if you will one day find yourself on the wrong end of a PR effort gone bad. But a fantastic trainer knows your limitations in addition to their own, and they won’t ever put you in a dangerous lifting posture if they are not ready to jump in and help. A terrible coach, well, is just a poor trainer.
No, trainers do not need to look like fitness models, however if they’re intentionally out of shape and do not seem concerned about it, consider that as a big red flag. They don’t have to be obsessed with their own reflection–in actuality, there is nothing more annoying than a coach more worried in their reflection in the mirror than about your form in a set. But if a personal trainer lives the life and genuinely loves training, there is a better chance they will help get the most out of yours.
This Is About You, Not Your Trainer
Trainers are not born, they are made. The top trainers have gone through their own physical fitness journey, which gives them additional insight into yours. In addition to earning a variety of certifications, they’ve learned what works–and what does not –through personal trial and error. They know not only biomechanics and anatomy but also psychology, meaning that they understand what motivates and discourages people.
As somebody who has competed and been a competition prep coach, I will say that there’s a point in every critical physique athlete’s development where a professional’s perspective is essential. But before you reach that point–and ask yourself the difficult questions to find out if you are at this point–you are better served by considering your coach a teacher, for instance.
Many roads lead to the same destination, and also the ideal person to direct you there is a person who knows how to navigate as many of these as possible. An experienced trainer recognizes your path to fitness is unique and hard, and provides you with the motivation and plan that will help you succeed.
Can a trainer who is not huge and shredded be worth your hard-earned bucks? Tell us in the comments.