Prepare for an Ever Evolving Fitness Industry

Reminds me of Anat 101!

Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.”

— unknown

Working in Fitness education over the last year and being part of the recruitment process for TEN Health and Fitness, I have certainly seen a shift in education. I have to admit, I don’t like what I see.

Those who are as long in the tooth as I are aware of the changes to the fitness industry over the last 20 years: from the choice of exercise we use to the equipment we use to execute the chosen exercise.

As fitness professionals these developments have, without a doubt, revolutionised the way we deliver our sessions. Kettlebells, TRX, Vipr, and RIP trainers are now integral parts of exercise and equipment selection around the world. These pieces of equipment have rehabilitated clients back to fitness and developed weekend warriors into full time machines!

Due to ever evolving client base that interacts with fitness, the industry has shifted towards clinical practices and methods, especially within the rehabilitation corner of the industry. We now know more than we ever have before about taking a client from A to B regardless of their specific needs.

For all the advancements, those coming into fitness are lacking the essentials skills to hold themselves upright in today’s marketplace.

Today’s client has evolved to become a complex being. They now know more about their own current fitness level and wellbeing than ever before. Most clients have already been in contact with therapist, practitioner or trainer. They have built an understanding of what shape they are currently in. Therefore the industry demands the trainer has an understanding of today’s client.

Trainers that I have recently interacted with have a deficiency of the two most important factors in training clients. Firstly, they lack the ability to understand today’s client’s lifestyle and the issues that arise from this, both structurally and physiologically. The second is providing an experience for the client that would be recognised by those of the service industry.

In understanding the basic structures of the body, the trainer can identify and implement a plan based upon what the client needs to develop. This may mean moving away from a default/prewritten session plan. It may mean that the trainer has to research and prepare for the session. Part of our role of a trainer is to problem solve. Therefore understanding basic principles arms the trainer with the tools to provide a solution to a multitude of particular issues that affecting the client.

When recruiting new trainers I have become fascinated with the trainers’ thought process when given a particular client issue to remedy. It generally involves lower back pain and an anteriorly tilted pelvis. Although this is a common issue with sedentary clients, trainers can lack the ability to join the dots, let alone find the solution.

The fitness industry is moving closer and closer to providing a client/customer experience similar to that found within the service industry. Creating an experience is as important as understanding the needs of the client. Many gyms, studios or boutique fitness establishments (especially boutique fitness) will have extremely knowledgeable trainers at their disposal. So what makes your product better than the studio across the street?

Possessing the essential principles such as positioning and feedback cues in the form of verbal, visual and tactile are hugely important to the client. This provides the client with a trainer that considers it important that the exercises provided are being done safely and effectively.

I recruit trainers on a monthly basis that are extremely good at providing both of the essential sides to training. However it concerns me how there is little guidance for those trying to find their way through this often-turbulent industry. The feedback I give to those who do and don’t make the recruitment is open and honest and I try to give the trainer an idea of how to refine their skill as a trainer.

I would like to see the industry better prepare trainers and identify that clients’ needs have changed. This will provide the industry with a workforce that provides quality training and the results it so desperately seeks.

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