Are you hiring a coach for the right reasons? If so, are you taking full advantage of the partnership?
If you were to ask trainers world-wide their perceptions on why they've been hired over the years, they might come up with a list that parallels this:
The Top 5 Reasons That Fitness Professionals are Hired
To serve as a . . .
1.Status Symbol. The client has no intention of ever taking this relationship very seriously. Train hard? Are you kidding? If I break a sweat I'll wreck my clothes. Improve my eating habits? But if I can't drink scotch and smoke cigars, what am I supposed to chase my (insert decadent meal here) with? Be on time? I'll do my best. This client cares more about telling people that he has a trainer than he does the training itself.
2.Personal Assistant -- Same as above, but the trainer is expected to fetch water and towels while waiting for the client to get off her blackberry. These clients have the mindset that we're 'merely personal trainers' -- as if it's akin to menial labor that doesn't require much skill or brain power because "all we do is count reps and get the equipment ready for use." Program design? Who cares? All I want is for you to count out my reps, retrieve the free weights and help me up the stairs.
3.Contrarian (thanks Euge) -- This client loves to abuse his trainer and challenge every aspect of his teachings and philosophy -- he's a know it all. "Why should I do that," asks said client, "when Muscle & Fitness says to do it this way?" And that's just the beginning. The trainer is left wondering, "What the hell did this guy hire me for? Apparently, he should embark on a career teaching the essentials of smart training."
4.Psychologist -- This is the client who'd rather talk for the entire session in lieu of training. Outside observers listening in might wonder if they're witnessing a training session or a scene in Sopranos with Tony pouring his heart out to Dr. Melfi. Exercises, sets and repetitions occur subconsciously while the client seeks advice and wisdom to help her get through her day, her week and her life. If the trainer's not careful, nothing gets accomplished in the way of exercise. . . but said trainer will know an awful lot about the client's personal life.
5. Coach. Ah, yes, the real reason why we're here. These clients are the gems who typically see the most progress because they've honestly assessed themselves, realized they've needed help and are incredibly driven to transform their physiques and their lives. They seek us out for education, motivation and success. Period.
Okay. Now what's the point of you sharing this with us Christopher?
Eugene, my friend and cohort in the strength and conditioning biz, wrote a great article on the concept of coachability as it pertains to fitness clients. And I wanted to contribute my 2 cents to the idea.
I'm hoping that you think hiring a trainer exclusively for reasons 1-4 sounds ridiculous. It should. But hiring a trainer for the "right" reason and not utilizing him for all his coaching abilities, is just as ridiculous. Hiring a fitness professional with the best intentions for improving your fitness is a great start. But it's not a guarantee of results. Hiring a coach guarantees a fit body like having an incredible wedding guarantees 50 years of wedded bliss. You can't just ride the wave of the first step -- now you've got to work!
You've decided to invest a large amount of time and money into your health. You've done your research, performed interviews and found yourself a competent trainer. Assuming that's the case, put your trust in him and let him work with you to get things accomplished.
Don't hold back
pertinent information that will help him understand how to train you. If you hold back, you're only limiting yourself.
Don't begin the training relationship proclaiming that you
"want to do everything you're instructed to do," do 50% of it and get ticked when things aren't working effectively.
Don't fail to ask questions. Lots of them. . . so you can fully appreciate, understand and implement your lifestyle change.
advantage of what your trainer has to offer. Use your coach for all he's worth. If you don't, your return on investment will pay back much less than you hoped for.