Telling versus teaching

Written by Josh Hoodless

It’s seeming these days that everyone is a personal trainer (PT). Maybe the allure of making $50-$100 per hour watching other people sweat is very attractive and just about anyone can do that. Every PT and group fitness leader is ‘qualified’ to TELL you what to do. How many of them can TEACH you what to do? Most of the time it comes down to qualification versus experience versus passion.

Australia’s registered training organisations (RTOs) are set up to fast-track Certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness while excluding the experience component. Making good money but not many good trainers. We’ve trained dozens of PTs as clients who have said they can’t remember the content of their 12-week online fitness course or even their multiple-choice exams. Looks like anyone can get a qualification these days and it seems the same story across a lot of industries. If you’re thinking of paying someone to help you with your health and fitness goals, it is not as vital to check their qualifications these days but rather their experience.

Ok, you’ve found a qualified and somewhat experienced PT and you’re off and training! Have they consulted with you about your real goals, done an assessment, testing, discussed calories and macro-nutrients, meal planning and created a basic training program with progressive overload to start you towards some results? None or some of the above? Are you doing exercise you enjoy? Do you have support outside of your sessions if you need it? All of this stuff matters!

Sure, getting trained hard is cool – sometimes, your PT is great at instructing and counting your repetitions but are they educating you to WHY you are doing all of these exercises? What’s the reason? What’s the science? Why are you doing that technique or stance? You’re getting told what to do, how many to do and your PT is smashing you. Effective PTs educate their clients on the ‘why’ behind the training and health choices. This leads to your empowerment to make decisions on your own. Providing knowledge with physical results leads to a higher long-term success rate for you.

Great coaches want to deliver amazing training programs, but they also want to educate you on what the best exercises are for your body, or what forms of training are best for your goals.

This is where passion comes in. If a PT is passing on true knowledge and their ideology, eventually you won’t need them anymore. They should be essentially doing themselves out of a job. That will not worry a great passionate coach because they understand the deeper relationship that is formed during this process. Knowing this comes from experience and a proven track-record of helping people. They care more about you than your money.

No matter your industry, passionate people want to pass on knowledge so that their customers can take it wherever they go. A good measure of success is when your clients don’t need to train with you anymore, but they just really want to.