There is a common misconception about personal trainers. We imagine them to be v-shaped superheroes with a million dollar smile and tanned body. Unfortunately, this wrong perception of personal trainers puts a lot of talented fitness enthusiasts off the fitness industry.
This article debunks some myths which are polluting fitness industry for years (don’t forget to read my guide to becoming a personal trainer).
What should a personal trainer look like?
In short, personal trainer should look healthy and fit. Fitness magazines feature shredded bodybuilders and fitness models. These people live of showing off their bodies and spend hundreds of hours perfecting their physiques with resistance and cardio training accompanied by strict diet.
They dictate trends in fitness industry creating non-achievable image of fitness professional. This image is often fuelled with steroids. Imperfections are corrected with a use of Photoshop.
It is important to remember not to confuse fitness models and bodybuilders for personal trainers. Personal Trainers do not live of showing their bodies – they live of transforming people’s lives through executing exercise and nutritional plans. You don’t have to have a perfect physique to do that. To be successful as a Personal Trainer you will need to have knowledge, great motivational skills and genuine passion for improving people’s fitness.
To get a real picture of what the Personal Trainer looks like do your research. Google “personal trainer in my area” and you will quickly realise that the typical PT is fit but rarely resembles fitness models you know from popular magazines.
Do you have to be very fit to be a personal trainer?
So how fit should you really be? When I say you don’t have to be ripped it doesn’t mean you can’t be. If bodybuilding is something you are genuinely passionate about – carry on. In some cases your physique will help you with getting more clients.
When being a Personal Trainer you want to stay in shape. While you can be a great PT without looking after yourself you will have easier life if you keep yourself fit. To some degree your body is your business card. It’s a confirmation of your skills – if you are able to train yourself you are most likely able to train someone else.
Another aspect is being fit to keep up with your work. To some degree you will be working out with your clients (although most of the time simply instructing and motivating). You want to be able to keep up with them especially if cardiovascular training is involved. Same adheres to outdoor boot-camps and group exercises.
When being ripped is beneficial?
There is a group of potential clients who will welcome your shredded physique. They have often reached high level of fitness and now looking for someone who will take them to the new level. Their Personal Trainer needs to be fitter than them.
Some of potential customers always go for the highest standard available. They buy the newest iPhone, eat in good restaurants and wear high quality clothes. They will most likely go for PT who seems to stand out.
When being shredded backfires…
What many ripped personal trainers don’t realise they are scaring off some of their potential customers. Being inhumanly shredded, in some cases, backfires as customers cannot relate to someone whose fitness is on completely different level.
Keeping your body on the low fat level throughout a year is a hard task on its own. It’s getting harder with irregular meals and busy days PTs normally go through. You would need to perfectly plan your meals and workouts around your client’s schedule which may be hell of a task. You may suffer a lot of frustration and that could negatively impact client-PT relationship.
Is it possible to be a successful personal trainer when you out of shape?
Of course you could find many examples of personal trainers who do well while being out of shape. You will quickly realise however that those are usually coaches with well-established careers. They proved themselves training hundreds of clients and now live an easy life relying on referrals. It takes years to be on that level and you won’t get away being overweight on the beginning of your career.
Another group will be strength athletes whose main goal is to lift heavy weights. Most of the time they are powerlifters or strongmen who are PTs at the same time. Majority of their clients are people who simply want to get strong. To be able to train other strength athletes you will have to build your own reputation first – again – it can take years to accomplish.