Have you ever wondered what the roles of the Worlds Best Personal Trainers are?
As Personal Trainers, we often find it extremely complicated to navigate and explain the intricacies of building a great all round repertoire of skills and characteristics required to facilitate the needs of clients across many demographics. To most, the outside perception of Personal Trainers may be a simple affair – however – to those of us who truly care about our craft, development to training clients at the top level is infinitely more complex.
Let me use an analogy that we can all relate to. One that I feel encapsulates the characteristics, focus and effort that makes up the Worlds Best Fitness Professionals.
Have you ever watched a truly great movie and pondered over what work may have gone into the finished piece? From script approval, to investment and planning of the project, production, direction and editing of all its constituent scenes, with after effects providing the finishing touches to produce an incredible result. As you can appreciate, there are many roles required to make this story come to life. From Script writers to producers, editors, directors, special effects and post production – each of these roles become a key influence and in building a blockbuster.
Imagine then that each new client is a new movie – one that requires multiple roles to facilitate their own blockbuster. In much the same way, a personal trainer must fill the shoes of multiple technicians – with each looking to contribute their own piece of magic to the final product.
THE WRITER & SCRIPT (Personal Trainer & Client)
Every film needs a script. In the clients’ case, the script is their perceived ideology of what is to come. This generally manifests itself as a true love story with an epic crescendo, where the main character steels the limelight in a seamlessly casual manor. Now, as personal trainers, we know that no script starts and ends in this manner. In fact, it ends up as more of a thriller – with numerous twists and turns along the way – where multiple endings are written for the lead.
Characteristics: Ability to deconstruct the clients current lifestyle into habits, strengths and development areas, often revealing details that the client may have previously been unaware of. Then subsequently be able to build appropriate lifestyle, training and nutrition strategies (the script) ready for execution. See ‘The Producer’
Building the appropriate masterpiece requires a plan of action – A guideline of how the story may pan out. As a trainer, your production role is to take the script and everything about the lead (client) and build the appropriate training and nutrition plan to facilitate the best possible performance. Every detail must be considered to manipulate the initial stages of the story. From stressors and barriers to optimal performance, current perception of health, nutrition and activity, the devil is most certainly in the detail here with the smallest of details being acknowledged and considered in the bigger picture.
Characteristics: Attention to detail, knowledge and care of the client, pride in building the plan, willingness to make change.
A good director uses numerous personal and professional skills to get the best possible performance from its actors. Intuition for how a scene may go, manipulating camera angles, reshooting scenes when the quality is not right and collaborating with the talent and gain valuable insight on the flow and direction of the piece. In Personal Training, the director role is of upmost importance. Finding equal importance in each of these qualities is vital in attaining the result. Using intuition by gauging the mood and body language of the client to manipulate variables throughout the process, revisiting previous modalities or changing them altogether if the quality is not there and – most importantly – collaborating with clients to get their honest feedback on the process to ascertain where things may be working smoothly and – where collaboration fails – implement strong direction to get things back on track.
Characteristics: Patience, be able to manipulate personal emotions and approach to get the most out of the client, courage to make decisions, open minded to multiple approaches in the quest to attain the same outcome.
This is all about making small changes to the story. Where necessary – the editor may need to step in and make small but important tweaks to the story to ensure the flow and quality is consistent. For the trainer, making changes to training volume, calorie intake and activity may just be the ingredient you need to motivate the client and keep them moving forward towards their master performance.
Characteristics: Patience, honesty, ability to see through the complexity of the client and any metrics presented, confidence to apply change and see it through.
The script has been written, the production and direction perfected, the editing spot on – only now is it time to add the bells and whistles, the music and special effects which turn the story into something truly astounding. For Personal Trainers, it can be extremely difficult to hold back from adding the special effects too early, diluting the quality of the performance from the lead. When timed right, tiny additions to training, nutrition and activity can take an already fantastic result and turn it into an Oscar winning performance. This is where the top Persona Trainers find their extra gear. They identify the tiny details where most won’t and insert the appropriate magic to reach the final product in style.
The proliferation of Social Media culture exposed the fitness industry to some incredible – and less than exceptional information. The perception of Personal Trainers has generally become one of a narcissistic and vanity driven culture where aesthetic at any cost is king. I would agree here, there are many an Instagram fitness ‘influencer’ (I use that in the most flippant way as there is no true influence in flaunting abs and arse while presenting several discount codes in an attempt to look popular) who on outside perception look educated. However, when seeking the help of a professional, we must look beyond pure aesthetics and find out more about the values with which the trainer operates. By consulting with any trainer, you should quickly be able to ascertain whether your journey to your dream physique will end up winning the award for best performance, or become a rotten tomato.
The roles of a Personal Trainer are complex and require a considerable amount of investment on a time and emotional level. We must act as ambassadors for the industry that we love, but acknowledge that we must become masterful at producing, directing, editing and adding the finishing touches to produce a Tarantino level portfolio of timeless classics.
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