What does a fitness professional look like?
I really think this is such a loaded and interesting question. What exactly does a fitness professional look like? We may be drawn to someone who has an athletic look about them and enlist their help. We may want help from someone we aspire to be like. Ultimately, what makes a fitness professional great at what they do is empathy, knowledge of how the body works, a willingness to listen, and the ability to adapt to each client’s needs. I know there are probably more important qualities that I didn’t list, but that’s a great start.
Someone mentioned to me recently at a party that I looked like a personal trainer when I told him what I do for work.
I was flattered. It’s taken me years to get this point after becoming certified as a personal trainer. I don’t think I’ve always looked the part. When I started, I didn’t feel like I looked like the guys I worked with at the gym. I’ve always been a chronic under-eater. I worked out and had an ok amount of endurance and strength, but definitely did not eat enough for my needs. Also, my programming never really accounted for the type of volume required for muscle gain until later on in the game.
I don’t think I always looked the role. Maybe I still don’t to some.
There will always be bigger and more muscular people in real life and on social media. I’ve come to terms with this. I’ve also realized that automatically people give them credit for knowing what they’re doing. They may or may not be great coaches. Like I mentioned before, the commitment to ongoing education, understanding each individual client and motivating each person is what makes a great coach - not their bench press numbers or filling out the sleeves on a shirt with bulging biceps. Those things don’t hurt, but it definitely doesn’t always translate into being a great coach.
Ongoing education, striving for health and wellness.
These are the things that are important to me as a coach. I value my education, and there is always new information out there to improve how we do things as coaches. My own strategy for my workouts and nutrition is to help me feel better and move my best. It just happens that these things are what are making me look the way I do, which is a major bonus. This is often a main goal for my clients - to be stronger, move with less pain, and to look better.
I get why our appearance as fitness professionals is kind of our calling card. We all have our struggles. I’ve not struggled with being overweight in the past, but have definitely had issues on the other end with getting enough food for energy and proper nutrition. People may be critical of a coach for his or her appearance, but when it comes down to it, the key to being great at what we do is knowing the body, empathy for our clients and a willingness to adapt to each person’s situation when they come to us for help.