By Coach Manny A.
The fitness industry is still considered an immature and young industry, mainly due to its low barriers to entry, lack of licensure, and no real standards. Social media and the types of worker personalities it attracts also contribute to this issue, making it difficult for the industry to be legitimized in the eyes of society. Many people have had negative experiences with fitness trainers and coaches, further emphasizing the need for higher standards within the industry.
In my experience, what is commonly described as a “good” or even “great” trainer is actually just mediocre by the standards of other industries’ minimum requirements. For instance, proficiency in the subject area, being caring and passionate, being organized, on-time, and appropriately dressed, and being personable are all considered traits of a good trainer by current standards. In other industries, especially healthcare, this is nothing more than just a basic expectation.
Until society (clients and fellow trainers) raises its expectations, mediocrity will continue to be accepted as good. While it is not necessarily a problem to have average trainers (by my definition), many people require exceptional trainers to take back control of their health. Average trainers are primarily only capable of solving average client problems who present average barriers. I would argue most people who need to upgrade their fitness and health have more complicated barriers. Exceptional trainers are the only ones that are capable of solving their problems.
To address this issue and to raise the bar, I’ve created a coaching system, The NEHP Coaching Academy, which outlines everything needed for a trainer to begin their career on the right path. At my CrossFit affiliate, NorthEast CrossFit, I set a high standard for myself and my team of trainers. I believe in professionalizing coaching and to do that we need to at least establish real industry standards.
In conclusion, it’s up to all of us to create higher standards within the fitness industry. What is commonly considered a “good” or “great” for a trainer are often just basic expectations, and mediocrity will continue to be accepted until we raise our expectations. A trainer just designing basic workouts is just not good enough. By creating a higher standard, exceptional trainers can be identified and help people take back control of their health.
Check out Part II of the post to learn more about what makes an exceptional coach.