Authenticity vs Emotional Labour

As personal trainers, we are always looking at ways to get new clients. One of the best mediums we have available for this is social media.

The other flip side of social media is it is a place for us to express ourselves, air our grievances and talk about the things that matter to us. Many people use it as a conversational board to derive engagement and to bring awareness to things that matter to them.

One trend I have noticed over the last couple of years is the prevalence of coaches talking about the importance of mental health. I have welcomed this change as I approach health and fitness through a holistic lens with my clients and not acknowledging the massive impact mental health can have would be doing my work a grave disservice.

I’ve also seen something else…

Many coaches are now using social media to talk about (potentially over share?) all THEIR vulnerabilities, issues, struggles and more.

It seems that many personal trainers spend more time on social media opening up about their own issues rather than looking at creating solutions for their clients.

It seems that many coaches complain openly that they need to be in a great emotional state to do their best work.

This seems entirely problematic to me. The fitness industry as a whole is fighting to be seen as more professional, yet we have a disproportionately large number of trainers online not acting professionally.

This is NOT to discount the importance of self care, taking care of yourself, speaking to people when you are struggling and getting help. It is about professionalism and improving the standard of our industry.

Here is an example: how would you feel if you went to a mechanic to get your car serviced and they forgot to change the oil, rotate the tyres and check your steering alignment? All because they were not having a good day and weren’t feeling 100%?

You would be extremely annoyed and rightfully so. So why do we as fitness professionals feel that this does not apply to us?

The other side of this is we need to remember why we are using social media: are we using it to solve our own issues or are we using it as a tool to help prospective and current clients facilitate change in their own lives, and by extent of that build a better business?

For a fitness professional time is a valuable resource and we need to use it well. Posting these messages on social media surely isn’t the most productive way to help us heal from our own pain or to educate and inform our client base so why do we do that?

So what do I recommend? Firstly, remember WHY you use social media and what outcome you are hoping to generate from it. If you want to use social media to create awareness of mental health and other issues, provide solutions and places for people to go. Focus on other people and quite often you will find it will help you as well. If you want to use it to generate business, try and identify the best way you can use it to serve your clients and help them change their lives.

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Paul Meldrum

Paul Meldrum

Paul has been involved in the health and fitness industry for seventeen years. He coaches both clients and personal trainers to get better results in all areas.