By Tommy B.
Trainers, coaches, fitness pro’s…its all the same thing.
Like any industry, there are some unbelievable people out there and many more times shady ones that you wonder how anyone ever signed a check with their name on it.
- Trainer who wants all their clients to walk around with Tupperware all day
- The one size fits all person who found one discipline and never expanded or learned more
- Shady one who walks a fine line and may be sleeping with half their clientele
Or worse of all, the one who is 40 pounds overweight and has a massive beer belly (true story, I hired this person once.)
However, the coaching and training industry does attract quality people who truly want to help others.
They come in with positive intentions and although few last for a while, the cream always rises to the top.
I’m going to share 11 confessions from a decade of training, running my own gym(s) and having conversations with the best of the best.
It’ll include common thoughts and misconceptions about fitness, training and unveil some of the truths of what it’s like to be on our side.
1: Training Isn’t That Important
There, I said it.
The training aspect of the entire deal truly isn’t that important.
Sure — training matters, but if you think of a pyramid-style hierarchy, it doesn’t matter that much.
The base of the hierarchy is going to rely on nutrition, lifestyle factors such as stress, sleep, habits and routine.
I’d argue we’ve become a culture that emphasizes too much training as a badge of honor — leading the average person to believe they have to train 6 times a week and be carried out of the gym to see results.
Adam Bornstein, trainer, speaker and author of Born Fitness sums it up here:
“First of all, the idea that you need to burn an enormous number of calories through exercise – or that you even can—can be considered a myth.”
Instead, focus on the work in the kitchen; trade a workout for an hour on a Sunday prepping some healthy meals.
2: Everything works, to a certain extent.
Let’s be honest…everything works, up to a point of course.
Most people who have struggled with their fitness have always blamed the program, the trainer, the gym or maybe even possibly the weather or a bad hair day.
And I get it…there’s better programs for different types of people, zero doubt about that.
However, if you apply consistency, accountability and truly trust the process — it’s going to work.
So if you see a trainer that harps on the fact that his or her program is on the cutting edge and never done or seen before, you can smile.
It may be great, but so is someone else’s program online or countless other trainers.
3: We don’t love training all the time.
I was recently talking to a new client who signed up and the topic was on motivation and mindset, two of my favorites.
I told him flat out: if you’re inspired to go train, drop everything and use that energy now!
I also reminded him that even though deep down at my core I love fitness, I only feel very motivated to workout about 70% of the time.
Mind you, that’s a lot, but there’s sessions where we feel exactly like you: sluggish and don’t want to do it.
4: You may never achieve your dream body
Fitness marketing has led most to believe that if they work hard enough or take that specific pill or diet, they will look like the cover models or instagram folks.
Truth is, that’s impossible.
First, most of those models are on chemicals and high doses of drugs, that’s an absolute fact.
Second, they have been spray tanned, dehydrated and manipulated their nutrition in such a way that they show up as cut as possible for that day’s shoot.
A few days later, they are unrecognizable as compared to the pictures.
The contrast to this is you can become the best possible you and achieve ridiculous results on a long enough timeline.
5: We have it far from figured out, but we’re learning.
The best words a trainer can utter can sometimes be:
I don’t know.
Seriously — most trainers would rather make something up they read online than to admit they don’t know something.
One of my missions and quests in the field was to enter every world from endurance to powerlifting and in between, to truly learn about every type of training so I could achieve perspective and the pursuit of mastery.
The double-edged sword that occurs when you do that is you realize the more you know, the more you don’t actually know.
Now, this is what you want to find in a trainer instead of those who claim they know it all.
6: Our clients are very often guinea pigs
At one point or another during their career, trainers will use their clients as guinea pigs; it’s part of the process.
I don’t consider this a negative thing — research and data can only work so far.
For example, we understand and it’s been proven through countless research that resistance training is essential to keeping and building lean body mass and improving all the hormones that help us shed fat and look and feel amazing.
However, 47-year old Jane and 22 year old Michael are going to respond very differently to a resistance program and using clients to gather data and see what works (and for whom) is part of the process.
7: We have some very crappy nutrition days.
I’m definitely not a fan of trainers and coaches who binge on alcohol, poor food and all sorts of other things.
To me, there’s a lack of integrity in there and leading by example is an important trait.
However, it doesn’t mean we are perfect and we all struggle with our nutrition at one point or another.
We’ll make bad decisions and we’re human too — travel gets in the way and we have something super unhealthy or drank one too many beers at our friend’s wedding.
8: We started for our own self-interest
No trainer ever started training with the priority being to help others that was part of their growth, learning and journey.
We all started for self-interest; we wanted to look better on the beach, have more energy and use fitness as a way of making life better.
This isn’t a shocker, but it’s the truth.
9: We don’t doubt our program, but we doubt the trust in your ability to do it
Over the years I’ve realized the single biggest roadblock to anyone achieving any type of fitness result:
I can recall countless meetings at my prior gyms where they would state an objection to starting after having gone deep into what a problem their current state of their body was.
However, the objection masked a pretty obvious theme:
Their ability to trust themselves to complete the program, not the program itself.
Leo Babuta of Zen Habits discusses why we begin to lose trust in ourselves, thus perpetuating this cycle in all different life endeavors.
10: Sometimes, we don’t want to be there either.
There are times when we don’t want to be at your training session either – something came up, our dog died, we went through a break up or on little or no sleep.
In person training, in particular, requires a certain level of emotional bandwidth – because it’s never only about the training.
However, a true professional will never let you in on that secret and will do everything to give you a fantastic experience.
11: We wish we could sell you a 5-year program
In an industry that is based on getting results as quickly as possible, the best professionals wish we could sell you a 5-year program.
The reason is simple: we want this to become a new way of operating for you and truly impact your life on a grand scale, adding years to your life, allowing you to take more family adventures and basically level up who you already are.
However, a 5-year program is nearly impossible to sell and goes directly in line with 99% of fitness marketing.
There you have it, some of the most common confessions from a decade in the training and coaching industry and what we truly believe.
At the end of the day, most trainers have developed a wide array of skills, which allow others to breakthrough in their personal fitness, nutrition and lifestyle factors and finding someone who you connect with is crucial.
As Precision Nutrition states, it’s important to do your homework when looking to hire someone who can directly impact how you look, feel and perform on a daily basis.
Understanding we’re all human and doing our best – much like you, isn’t something negative, rather, allows for us to both relate to one another.