Nope, not writing this article to big up myself or the trainers I know / work with.But from day one, I've known what principles are important to me in this line of work, and few of them come from a textbook.
I saw an article I like the other day, How to Tell When a Trainer Sucks.
Yes, I could list off all of the things I frown upon, but instead I think I'll list what I admire in a good trainer. What I think personal training should embody, and how it should be executed.
I'm going to go ahead and bypass the obvious list of an understanding of anatomy and physiology, good memory, communication skills, positive attitude... Duh. Let's get into the layers.
First of all, genuinely caring about your clients. Getting to know people better and better over time, and never un-knowing them, is one of the coolest parts of this work. Exposing how different we all are, and how similar we all are. I like discussing wellness and how it permeates into the other pockets of their lives. You have to consider many facets of life and wellness to accurately train someone in fitness and coach them with regards to food. Some of the tactics can be nitty gritty, yes, but never losing sight of the big picture of a general life improvement is key. And for THAT work, participants' lives must sincerely matter to you. The mental and emotional life experience manifests itself in the physical. It's vital to be aware of the person and not just the body.
Never compromising your own ethics, of course. Know what you're good at, and do that. Radiate what's in you, and don't try to copycat other trainers because you'll be compromising sincerity again. A necessity is not competing with other trainers. We all have the same common goal! Business is business, fine, but the business of improving wellness is different. It's a responsibility and one shouldn't get distracted by ego. Stay focused on your very important task of improving someone's life. One of the most important things a trainer needs to know? THIS ISN'T ABOUT YOU. Combine your knowledge with your gut. A good trainer has a great gut - of both experience AND instincts for what the best path is for each individual. Being able to tap into this is key to accomplishing goals with your clients. For example, I don't train marathoners or even extremely competitive people. Not those who want to cut corners or do something that I feel might be setting them back physically in the long run. It feels irresponsible to me, in my gut (which again is based on my knowledge and experience), and you cannot fake these things. If you try to pretend believe in something just to get the work, you'll do an awful job. The end. It's not my place to train people to run marathons or to do anything extreme. That's for other people. Sticking to what you can feel good about is another non-negotiable.
Remain engaged. Stay fresh with exercises, be creative without compromising efficiency, but stay in tune with the client. You may have a program all set out for your next client, and they may come limping in your door having sprained an ankle or have a throbbing headache. You have to work on the fly, somewhat, and follow your instincts (again) for what's best for the particular individual that particular day. Sometimes I'll plan to really kick a client's butt, and then the body starts telling me it needs a smoother workout, more focused on releasing tension and improving mobility. Have a plan, but always be flexible. So - needless to say - staring at a clipboard is wrong. You're working with a human and a body, dynamic and ever-changing. Look up and engage, always. Pay attention to what version of your client comes in the door, and react accordingly.
Stay inspired. In any line of work, things can get dull. I'm QUITE lucky that I still leave sessions pumped up and sometimes even shaking with a little adrenaline. It does great things for my endorphins and overall life satisfaction. BUT, admittedly there are some days where I need a break from all things fitness. Like anything else, it can feel repetitive - gyms, dumbbells, sports bras. Geez. But here's the thing - the world of fitness is SO MUCH MORE than these things. Than these images. It's a tool for life. It's changing your physicality, altering your chemistry - in the words of Biggie Smalls, going from negative to positive. (Like that?) Keeping that perspective helps the whole vibe of the gig feel consistently fresh. So yes, digging for resources, courses, classes, blog posts and anything of the sort is important for remaining inspired and excited enough to go spread that gusto through those who hire you to do so. It has to come from a real place. But again, and I'm starting to realize the thread of each of these components, keeping the big picture in mind is the most important.
This transformation can be REALLY BIG. Remember that.
In short, great trainers leave their egos at the door. They jive with the client, knowledgeable but ever flexible and progressive. They never lose sight of what really pushes a person forward in strength and general health and they don't get lost in / stuck on the numbers of repetitions or weights. Know your stuff, know your clients, and most importantly never stop caring.