Personal training is a broken industry that fails the consumer purposely. Instead of giving clients what they need, clients are given what they want, making the entire industry about the things the novices think and not what the professionals know. This is great for business, but even better for business is the notion that personal training could be structured to not exist in fifteen years if approached properly. Our current industry feeds the potential client’s ignorance and hence, assures that there will always be a client. I say, change these five things and strike out obesity as a health problem altogether.
1. The “Market”
If you’re looking for a new landscaper or housekeeper, it isn’t because you know exactly what you need to do but you need someone to come by and fix things up. It is because you’re in over your head and have no idea how to maintain the appearances you desire. Wealth is measured in out society by one’s ability to pay for services that we should do ourselves but lack the discipline to execute. Today, personal fitness is treated like home or vehicle maintenance. Most want a nice looking home or a reputable make of vehicle but the maintenance of that home or vehicle is far too much work especially since they’ve all already done so much work to obtain these material possessions. A body is not a material possession that a person can come into your life and fix for you, but the fitness industry is built around this thinking.
Mostly, the wealthy get access to effective personal training, or training where all the thinking is done for the client. Those without money are simply trying to spend less to say they have a trainer, to say they are trying to maintain things. Not unlike the example of the home and vehicle, most envy the wealthy and own things not because they genuinely should have them but because they put on an air of wealth. Personal training is a useful business, for people with real dedication looking to learn the physical and mental tools they need to see their goals. For most though it is the way those with discretionary income justify destroying their bodies.
Guess what? All of the stupid things people think and say about this business have roots in this business. Things that require real dedication and commitment like say, exercise, religion and parenting break down easily in the average person’s mind. So cliches, myths, fads, quick fixes, wives tales, they’re things people hide behind instead of obtaining real knowledge on the subject, taking risks because they’re evaluated the current times, or best of all, setting personal goals based on personal need. Out of fear of the unknown, people will group themselves with the rest of the world instead of intelligently evaluating their situation. The fitness industry makes its money creating catch phrases, fad diets, and planting the seeds of superficial passiveness in order to keep people from doing real thinking the ways fit people do.
3. Sex and Superficiality
There are a lot of different clients out there, and here, I’m not discussing smart clients who have real needs, work with good trainers, and approach this correctly. This is something like half the paying population. Personal training’s problem is that good clients love to point out overweight, lazy, potential clients for their trainers, and all the trainer can do is shrug and say “that person has to want it.” The problem is that the person will only “want it” when their sexual emotions have been impacted, they can’t do something they once did (We aren’t talking climb the rope in gym class. More like “he won’t let me get on top anymore”), or the doctor says they will die early. In a way, all of these things are superficial. Real fitness maintenance brings on lust and envy from others naturally, it keeps you sexy for loved ones, and keeps the doctor off your back before its too late. Only we use sex to sell fitness way before we’d use health or accomplishment to sell fitness.
People don’t respect personal training as a profession. Again, people don’t respect personal training as a profession. Most choose a trainer because of looks, their energy (yes, yes I know, you just need someone to get you motivated, you’ve got it from there), or their rate, because sometimes simply saying they have a trainer to others gives them enough satisfaction. Can a trainer get a client in bed, ruin their own meal ticket, destroy a person’s psyche and view of this industry? If the client made their choice based on looks, then HELL YEAH. If I’m ugly and fat, I get no clients. If I’m handsome and muscular I get a bunch of female clients who think “of course a guy like him can motivate me to get fit.” Understanding this dynamic must be even tougher for female trainers-The attractive ones trying to act professional with snide male clients and catty and jealous female clients. The unattractive ones always pushing knowledge and credentials to keep the clients’ respect.
5. “I know my body”
No you don’t. You know how to get your body fatter. Most who say this have never seen their bodies healthy, or at minimum body weight and haven’t exercised since they got graded in school for it. Since that time their bodies have settled, broken down, grown abnormally, and internally, ugh. A huge problem in this is that so many trainers, especially ones with a specific background, train all clients one way, turning some clients off. The potential client would rather take the power back by saying they know what they need (I wonder how this particular fitness self-evaluation looks) instead of giving the power to a person who may not take these FEELINGS into account. The bold and intelligent trainer must leave no room for feelings: I evaluate you, I tell you what is wrong with you as a human, you tell me your goal, I tell you how to first live as an effective human and then how we will get your goal. This is personal training.
Change these things, and personal training might be real, and relevant for the first time ever.