Stay in Your Lane!
This one is actually for all the trainers and wannabe trainers out there, and is a fairly serious article. I’ve been in and around the fitness industry for a decent amount of time now, (7ish years of playing around in the gym, ~4 years of serious powerlifting training, just over 2 years as a trainer) and I’ve been very observant to the different types of trainers in every gym. One of the main concerns I have noticed, and have been guilty about myself, is trainers stepping out of their lane in order to give advice they aren’t qualified to give.
I realize that this is all with good intentions, both to sell yourself as a more credible trainer, and also in an attempt to better help your clients, but just stop.
If you’re a trainer, or even worse, a bro trainer giving advice you shouldn’t, well, you shouldn’t.
This is especially true when “trainers” try to push diet and nutrition advice when they have no background, certification, or simply barely enough general knowledge in the subject. Everyone is different and has different food intolerances, allergies, and different circadian rhythms. Unless you are a qualified nutritional professional, there’s really no rationalization you can give that would permit you to give someone diet and nutrition advice. In this case, you’re literally taking advantage of an individual or group of individuals who look up to you as a source of knowledge; they trust your words and expect you to give nothing but the best advice to help them create a better and healthier version of themselves.
So, if you’re doing this, stop.
The only other really big thing that can have an adverse effect on a trainee, in my opinion, is trainer ego and competitiveness. I get it, many trainers think they’re the bees-knees because they got an overnight certification and have probably worked out once or twice before in their lives. They think they’re just generally better than everyone else on the gym floor in regards to overall health and fitness knowledge.
Well, my advice here is the same to any other gym goer entering the gym at any time — drop the ego at the door.
If a client comes in complaining of some form of non-soreness related pain, or has any general health concerns, address it properly. You’re a personal trainer. Doesn’t matter how you word it, your main job is to make the client happy in regards to their overall fitness goals. Unless you’re a doctor, you’re not.
Don’t let your goal take priority over theirs, and above all else, keep the goal the goal. There should be no reason to overwork your client when it comes to volume, intensity, or just general physical and mental stress.
Now, before you think I’m going out just bashing other trainers to make myself seem better, I’m not. I have been that guy before, prescribing meal plans and exercise plans when I’m not qualified to (sorry to those people who I tried to help!). I’ve also been the person who thinks they can fix any pain or imbalance myself, and I have “treated” many people who I shouldn’t have (by treated I mean given them SMR and mobility techniques). I have learned quickly from my mistakes, and have become a better trainer because of it.
So trainers, stay in your lane. Learn to workout (properly) for at least a few years before you think it’s ok for you to train someone else, and even when you do, know your limits. It’s better to refer someone out rather than to keep your ego and risk harm to your client. Above all you should always be open to learning new things if you’re in any type of customer service industry.
Got a question? Feel like you’ve seen or experienced this first hand? Let me know about it!