Just because you workout or were an athlete does not mean you can be a trainer

You probably couldn’t wait to get your first car. The sense of freedom and the ability to do things on your own mark a huge change in life for most of us. You grew up riding in cars then you started driving cars. Then you started working and could upgrade yourself to a nicer car with more features and eventually you were able to buy the car you have been dreaming about for years.

You have grown up with cars, know how to drive them, use them religiously, and can’t imagine life without them. They are a huge part of your life and most likely you can provide a lot of advice to others about the cars you have had, the ones you dream about, and how to drive them.

How good is this advice? How much do you know about your vehicle? You know you should change the oil every 5000km’s and rotate the tires. Probably know where the windshield washer fluid goes and maybe how to change a tire or cheque the tire pressure.

What about building the car? Can you do that? Do you know how? Or even easier, what about rebuilding the engine when yours gets a little worn down, can you do that? Maybe you can diagnose the problem when the check engine light comes on or know what the problem is when the high pitch squeal emanates from under the hood before a large clunk blows a piece out the backend of your car and everything stops working. Do you know what to do then?

Probably not. You would need to refer to a professional. A mechanic at a reputable auto body shop, especially if this is your dream car, not going to take it to just any mechanic. Most likely you will talk to friends and family to get the name of someone who totes a strong reputation and knows your particular make and model.

What am I driving at? (Pun intended). Just because you can drive a car, have spent your life riding in them, and know the basics of car care does not mean you should be building, designing, maintaining, and repairing cars. You most likely have no ability to do this whatsoever.

This same principle applies to the fitness industry.

This drives me crazy. I hear things like this all the time. “My trainer competed in a fitness show”, “My trainer used to play football (insert any sport here”, “My trainer has been working out for years”, “My trainer has a certification”, “My trainer has a kinesiology degree”,  “My trainer is jacked”.

None of those things mean those individuals should be a trainer. They may know the ins and outs of the general maintenance of your body but do they know how it’s built? How to repair it The intricate details of how it works? This isn’t just a car, this is your body and you won’t be picking up next years model if you do not take care of this one.

Just because someone has done martial arts their whole life and is good shape doesn’t mean that person is a fitness expert capable of designing a program to help you reach your goals without causing injury. Just because your trainer has worked out for years and looks great doesn’t mean they know how your hormones are affected by repetition variations and resistance loads during your workouts and how to manipulate those variable to get you to your goals faster. Just because someone grew up playing competitive sports doesn’t mean they should be developing a long term athletic training schedule.

You need to check into your trainer or investigate someone if you are going to hire them. This is the same as if you were trying to find a mechanic for your dream car that you just recently purchased knowing that this is the only one you are ever going to get. How hard would you look for the right person then?

Your trainer has to have a reputable certification not some internet purchased diploma that certifies them to take you through a machine circuit. They need to have a list of accolades, accomplishments, and experienced or be mentored by someone who does. They need to have an extensive list of testimonials and client referrals that they have no problem sharing with you. They need to demonstrate on a regular basis that they are still learning and striving to remain on the cutting edge of the industry. Finally they need to have years of experience under their belt.

Be very selective when you are looking for a trainer to take care of your health and fitness. As I mentioned, this isn’t really like having a car. You can’t go buy the new model or take it back if there is something wrong with it.

You get one body and set of genetics for your entire life. Take care of it well and do not let just anybody give you advice and help on how to care for it, fix it, or maintain it.

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