The Problem with Personal Trainers
Have you ever thought about becoming a personal trainer or fitness expert? Well I’ve got great news for you! For exactly zero and in no time at all YOU can become a personal trainer or fitness expert. Instagram account a strong plus!
That’s because there are no true industry standards or regulations in the fitness industry. You could call yourself, right now, a personal trainer.
Let’s take a journey back into a career as a personal trainer before discovering “coaching.”
The Fitness Industry Dilemma
First what you need to understand is that the fitness industry is like the wild wild west. There are no real regulations or enforced standards. On the one hand that might be a good thing because we don’t have to report to a board (composed of individuals who may or may not be informed coaches) for what we do and we have the freedom to do what we feel is in the best interest of the client. On the other hand it means any yahoo can wake up and call themselves a personal trainer. That’s right. There is no licensing or unifying credentialing agency that necessitates a particular curriculum to call yourself a trainer.
While that might not be a problem to the informed consumer, most consumers especially in the fitness industry are not very well informed. And it’s not entirely their fault. Most of the information out there is pretty crummy.
Additionally, aspiring trainers can take an exam and just mail it in. Yup. It’s that easy. Order the materials, study at home, mail in exam. Congratulations you are now a CERTIFIED personal trainer.
Personal Training Exposed
I think we can all see the problem here. But most people don’t know this. Most people assume because you have some kind of certification you have instant credibility. Yet you can obtain these certifications without ever having to actually coach someone. This is why the Starting Strength coaching credential is different. This is why there is such a high failure rate for those trying to become a Starting Strength Coach.
But this is also why when you are working with a Starting Strength Coach you can be assured they have the skillset necessary to help you get stronger.
The Commercial Gym Dilemma
Commercial gyms don’t really care about this – you getting stronger and actually making progress in your health and fitness. What commercial gyms are interested in is their bottom line. How many sessions can you sell? How many packages can you close? That’s what it means to be a “personal trainer” in a commercial gym. It’s a sales job first and an exercise science profession far second.
The standard commercial gym business model revolves around overselling memberships with an absurdly low utilization percentage. In fact if the people that purchased these memberships actually used them there would not even be enough room for everyone to fit in the gym. But the rates are cheap so most people don’t go through the hassle of canceling them. And even if they do many commercial gyms will simply make it a hassle to cancel.
Hiring a Competent Trainer/Coach
There is a solution to all of this. And it’s simple: be an informed consumer. If you are going to hire a trainer ask about their education, background, and training philosophies. Or make it easy on yourself and hire a Starting Strength Coach. Instead of paying monthly dues to a commercial gym that doesn’t really want you to use your membership in the first place and that probably only has one or two squat racks (filled with people doing curls or other silliness) find a locally owned or operated strength focused black iron gym, or build your own.
If there isn’t a Starting Strength Coach in your area, you can still get coaching from one via Starting Strength Online Coaching.