The industry of personal training has barely progressed since the bodybuilding era. Don’t believe me? What’s the first thought that comes to clients’ minds when they hear the word exercise? “No pain, no gain.” The fact is, while it may be sold as the best way to build muscle or enhance your metabolism, fundamentally we’re still having our clients lift heavy things slowly and isolating the body’s movement while expecting it to optimally function as an integrated whole. We’re training our clients’ cores from positions they rarely spend time in otherwise. Success is measured by how much their heart rates skyrocket during a spin class or how sore they are from yesterday’s workout. And flexibility is chalked up to stretching their quads and hamstrings for a couple minutes before a workout. Guess what? Our clients are no longer interested in this approach — they’ve just come to believe this is the best our industry has to offer.
I’m here to tell you this approach no longer works – it’s obsolete. But don’t take my word for it. Ask your client who’s also seeing a physical therapist for an injury encountered under your guidance. Ask your previous clients who haven’t sent you any referrals in the last year. The days of counting reps and pairing random exercises and calling it a workout just aren’t sustainable in our current climate. People are smarter about their fitness choices than they were 20 years ago and they are inundated with a slew of options — on YouTube, on TV or at the globo-gym down the road. If this is the service you offer, know that they can get it anywhere – and they can get it for less.
Our clients want something truly remarkable. They want something they can’t get anywhere else. They want something that gives them an edge and they want to feel great after a session with you. Wouldn’t you like to be the professional on the other end of this experience? How’s being the go-to consultant in your community when a movement need or concern arises sound? Well, if you want this, you’ll need to stop playing it safe — safe is risky. That’s right, if you keep doing what’s comfortable you will keep blending in and start fading out.
So how do we offer something new, worth talking about and being a part of? We stand up and choose to do it differently. Here’s a simple place to start — do the opposite of what your local gym does:
– They’re selling memberships; you can develop relationships.
– They’re big boxes with no structure, guidance and accountability; you have an opportunity to be a resource to your client.
– There are a slew of machines that isolate the body; you can show your understanding of how the body moves as a chain reaction.
– There’s walking away feeling defeated and overcome by a workout; you can empower your clients with the confidence, competence and courage to do it again.
– There’s addressing the physical side of training the body; you can condition someone’s body, mind and spirit.
Two out of every three of our clients suffer from depression. Our clients and their children are becoming more overweight and obese each year. “Controllable” diseases are so common we don’t even balk at them or realize the quality of life deficits. Does anyone else see this epidemic of complacency in our industry? As fitness professionals, we have the opportunity, more than even the medical community, to positively change the trajectory of people’s health, comfort and vitality. I hope you’ll join me for the revolution. Stay tuned for what it means to be a catalyst in the lives of others.