Are Personal Trainers Becoming Relics of the Past?

If “Personal Trainer” is now outdated, are the best of our industry becoming “Personal Health Coaches”? Find out what this means for your profession.

How do you describe what you do as a job? If your answer is Personal Training, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Personal Training doesn’t come close to explaining what you really do – and what a difference you make to people’s lives. In reality you are more likely a Personal Health Coach. Not convinced? Let’s dig deeper into what you actually do for people.

  1. List the key things you do to improve your clients health?
  2. Take your key things list and assign the top thing you do for each individual client?
  3. Survey your clients and list the top thing they identify that you do to help them?

This valuable exercise is a real eye-opener. It gives you an insight into the huge variety of ways you impact each individual client. And what it reveals is that you are a Personal Health Coach. Sure, the training you deliver is personal, but your services encompass a variety of integrated disciplines.

Your list probably looks pretty long (if it doesn’t, go back and do a bit more digging). Let’s categorize the list into different types of coaching services you offer. Here’s an example:

Accountability Coach

  • Training three times per week
  • Building awareness of their sleep hygiene habits
  • Daily homework to improve …
  • Being on time for their sessions.

Education Coach

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise technique
  • Sleep
  • Goal setting

Movement Coach

  • Exercise technique
  • Exercise variety
  • Developing capacity to meet the demands of their life
  • Developing capacity to meet the goals they want to achieve

Breath Coach

  • Assessing the original primal pattern and identifying if your client is a mouth breather.
  • The how to’s of integrating breath training in their daily lifestyle to improve sleep, digestion, heart health and bolster their immune system.
  • How to use breath to make them stronger and more resilient when resistance training and performing their activities of daily living.

Growth Mindset Coach

  • Keeping clients focused on the process, valuing the effort more than the outcome.
  • Shifting the process versus outcome paradigm for clients. Instilling a strong commitment to the process and valuing the effort. Outcomes are temporary moments in time, processes over time become permanent.

Strength for Living Coach

  • Designing resistance training programs that improve a client’s relative strength and makes them robust and resilient.
  • Identifying what is important to them today and for the future. For example if a client wants to have children or does have children. It is important they can physically carry them and play with them.
  • They have a high stress job and/or live a high stress life. The training program will need to reflect an appropriate volume and intensity.

Spine Hygiene Coach

  • Recognizing that more than 80% of the population experience back pain in their lifetime
  • Integrating spine hygiene exercises and movement strategies as a preventative measure to ensure long term back health

Joint Health Coach

  • Prescribing protocols to enhance joint health by counteracting what the client does all day.
  • Think hip extension and shoulder retraction for a client who sits in a hip flexion and protracted shoulder position all day

Habits Coach

  • Inspiring them to take actions until they become their natural way of being. Giving clients insights into the impact of behaviours on outcomes
  • Helping clients develop a process versus goals mindset

That’s a pretty extensive list, and not all of it will be relevant to each of you. But hopefully it helps you look at your “job” with more depth and clarity. You may have started out as a Personal Trainer, but our industry has evolved, and so have you. And so has what clients want from PTs (whether or not they really know it!)

Trainers and Coaches must step it up if they are going to thrive in this fast-paced industry. Evolution is important for you as a business person, and it’s important for your clients, too.

Embrace the growth and change of your role in this exciting industry. Growth is natural. Maybe the title of Personal Training will be replaced by Personal Health Coach someday soon. We are all moving towards a more holistic, integrated client centred focus.

The new normal will be designing programs to enhance a client’s quality of life, and focusing on building sufficient capacity so they can meet the demands of their life. With this will come better due diligence, and more of a commitment to ensuring each session results in a deposit in their personal health account.

What would you call yourself if not Personal Trainer? Don’t forget, if you are taking your career in a new direction, take a look at our extensive list of education courses.