8 February 2019


by Frank Besim 0

Personal trainers are typically perceived in two extremely different ways… On one end of the spectrum, many people are of the opinion that the industry is full of under qualified PTs charging through the roof and being nothing more than a bunch of ‘gurus’ who recite information they don’t understand, cause pain and will force…

Personal trainers are typically perceived in two extremely different ways…

On one end of the spectrum, many people are of the opinion that the industry is full of under qualified PTs charging through the roof and being nothing more than a bunch of ‘gurus’ who recite information they don’t understand, cause pain and will force you to eat cardboard if you want results…

Many individuals have a negative experience with a trainer and are quick to throw the baby out with the bath water…

Conversely, many individuals have achieved amazing results and are deemed to be the key factor in improving the general population’s health and fitness. Trainers are ultimately in a position where they can ‘change’ their client’s life as they are easy to access, often more convenient, affordable and less intimidating than seeing a dietitian, exercise physiologist or psychologist.

I have been in the fitness industry for over three years now, and have definitely seen both ends of the spectrum…

Unfortunately, personal trainers are a dime a dozen and obtaining qualifications is like receiving a token from a cereal box. This has resulted in the mass production of trainers who now claim to be fitness ‘experts’ and are doing all that they can to stand out from the pack.

For many trainers, the objective is sales, more clients and ultimately more money. Due to the uncertain nature of being in the fitness industry, often many personal trainers put the cart before the horse and really don’t give too sh**s about their ‘career’. They are more interested in marketing, quick fixes and making a dollar.

In reality, like any profession, to be great at your job, you must prioritize education, experience and the quality of the service you are providing for the client. When a trainer recognizes that this should be their objective within the industry, it ultimately gives them an immense power to influence their clientele in a positive manner and gives them the best chance of getting results for their clients and help them change their life.

So that’s the low down on the contrasting positions of personal trainers. Like all things in the fitness industry, there is a tendency for opinions to swing from one extreme to another when in reality the answer often lies in the middle.

So today, I am here to explain to you why personal trainers really can change your life and what you need to look out for when hiring a trainer aka a ‘coach’…


How to Find A Life Changing Coach

First things first, finding a good one can be difficult. Do your research, talk to friends and family and be savvy with where you invest your hard earned money.

Qualities of a good ‘coach’:

  • Knowledgeable;
  • Experienced with a variety of individuals;
  • Consistently helped others attain the same or similar goals that you desire.
  • Focused on education and teaching their clients;
  • Applies a scientific/evidence based approach;
  • Be committed to learning;
  • Admit they don’t know everything;
  • Can justify their coaching practices;
  • Measure and assess your progress.

If a coach doesn’t demonstrate at least some of these qualities, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.

I mean, anyone can train you hard, cut your food out and make you sweat… My mother knows how to make me sweat as well. Getting results requires a lot more than sweating your balls off in the gym and eliminating your favourite foods.

What a good ‘coach’ can offer you:

  • Teach you the important concepts of nutrition and training;
  • Motivate and inspire you to change;
  • Help you address your behaviours, lifestyle and mindset.
  • Devise a structured training program that helps you move closer to your overarching goals.
  • Provide nutritional guidance that is realistic, enjoyable and flexible and a plan that works for you, your goals, lifestyle, preferences etc.
  • Keep you accountable.
  • Understand, address and modify your current lifestyle to support your goals.
  • Objective and honest feedback about your progress.
  • Sound judgement on what methods/approaches will work best for you, long term.
  • The ability to adapt a plan when there are changes in your circumstances, goals and motivation.
  • The knack to ‘read’ into how you are feeling and determine when you need ‘counselling’ or just a kick up the butt.
  • Someone who actually gives a f*#k about you and your goals.

It can be difficult to find someone that ticks all these boxes. But if you do, book them in, trust them, listen to them and watch yourself flourish.

Achieving your health and fitness goals can be difficult at first, especially if you’re confused, lacking motivation and simply don’t know where to start. More often than not, successfully improving body composition, strength and fitness will require a helping hand for most people, especially as many of the goals expressed to trainers at a consultation are only achievably with some serious modification to lifestyle and behaviours for the average person. The reality is, most of the general population don’t live and breathe fitness like their trainer does. So this is where having a partner in crime who knows the ins and outs of all things nutrition and training can be a worthy investment. Provided they also recognise that fitness is NOT your life!

A great coach will help you change, challenge you to learn and improve and keep you accountable to your goals. They will help you shift your focus from simply exercising to performing, improve your mindset and outlook on life, and help guide you to make small, incremental habit changes to your diet and exercise.

If you have experienced any of the aforementioned, then your PT has indeed changed your life! The end goal of a trainer is to help you become more autonomous with your goals, so that you essentially don’t need them anymore.

The reality is, most people won’t pay for personal training forever, we get that. However, if you are looking to change your life then you shouldn’t be hiring a trainer for fast results. You should instead hire a ‘coach’ to educate you on how to live the life that your fitness goals require and someone who will give you the skills, knowledge and understanding of what it takes succeed in your fitness endeavours.

So can a ‘trainer’ change your life?

It depends if you are investing in a ‘trainer’ or a ‘coach’.

Once you’ve found a coach, the chances are you will never have to turn back to that old glutinous, couch potato you once were. So the first thing you need to do is ask yourself whether you’re ready to change. If yes, then go find that gun coach that can change your life for the better!

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