Fitness has reached worldwide popularity. The need for classes, personal training, and of course my favorite, semi-private training, has exploded with the rise in popularity of fitness. Many people and businesses have stepped up to fill this need. This is a great thing, but buyers beware. Not all fitness professionals are created equal. I believe there are three major categories of fitness professionals: coach, trainer, and entertainer.
An entertainer is a person who is usually a great athlete themselves and can do really flashy stuff. They base your workouts on the things that they can do, or that look cool, and not what you need.
The uninformed will see the entertainer doing cool stuff and may think, “This person must be a good trainer. Look at all this cool stuff they are doing!” While all this “cool stuff” is impressive and attractive, it is most likely extremely difficult and not appropriate for the general population of people. Without considering what your individual needs and abilities actually are, the entertainer just throws you into the meat grinder. If you can’t move the way you need to or if something hurts, you are told not to worry about it. “Just mash this and pull on that.”
Most people walk away from the entertainer without any progress, and they may even be injured. This person then seeks out the trainer.
A good trainer is someone that instructs you on how to properly and safely perform an exercise, writes you a program, and sends you on your way. Once you show enough skill to do the exercise, the instruction stops. A trainer usually holds something back, so that you must keep going back to the trainer to get more information.
You will most likely not be given many contexts on why or how you should be using this exercise on your own. After leaving a trainer you will kind of feel unfulfilled and will be left wanting more.
A coach is a person that can see what you need as an individual and will teach you the skills you need to address those needs. He or she will deliver you enough information, context, and encouragement to use those skills in their absence. With a coach, you will feel cared for and like you are improving not only in skill but as a person.
In the context of fitness, an example of a good coach is someone that will not only teach you how to do a deadlift for example but will also explain how the movement is affecting your body and how the exercise relates to the rest of your life. Once you’ve become an adequate beginner in the exercise, a coach should then encourage you to explore this movement in different ways and on your own. Your coach will be there when you return to help address any issues or help enlighten you as to why you had those experiences on your own. In other words, a coach won’t just spoon-feed you but will guide your learning in a collaborative way.
A coach might be someone who you eventually outgrow because they have given you everything they can and leave nothing on the table. At this point, you should have enough knowledge and understanding to pass on what you’ve learned so you can also improve the life of another.
Use a Coach to Become Empowered
At Catalyst SPORT we only have coaches. Our mission is to empower you to change your body and change your life by helping you to feel good, move well, and get strong. The best way we see for that to properly happen is for us to be coaches. We want to help you learn and develop as an individual (both personally and in terms of fitness), while also getting great workouts. We want you to engage us with questions and concerns so that you are an active driver of your own results, not merely a passenger.