Fit Trainers: Leading By Example

Sam Stephens

January 2020

Does a great personal trainer need to be fit to be effective and should ‘looking the part’ be an important characteristic of a quality exercise coach?

To see the best results and receive the best service, is it necessary that you work with the most fit/ripped/in-shape personal trainer available? No. But should your fitness instructor/coach practice what they preach? Absolutely.

This excerpt is taken from my book, Fitness & Nutrition Programming for Beginners.

“Along with being incredibly knowledgeable, your trainer should also be fit. This lifestyle and appearance requirement is necessary but probably not for the reasons you’re imagining. An overweight, weak, and deconditioned trainer with minimal personal exercise experience could design a really effective weight loss exercise program simply by studying available research and other popular programs. Exercise professionals don’t have to have perfect abs to help someone else sculpt theirs.

However, a trainer that exercises intensely, sticks to a smart diet, and is consistent with their habits will have a level of empathy and insight far greater than that of someone who just understands concepts and theories. Too many trainers don’t practice what they preach and eventually lose an appreciation for the mental and physical effort clients are required to exert in order to be successful. Some days are fun and swell our bodies and egos with confidence while others absolutely suck. A great trainer knows the difference between hard work and punishment because they define each end of the spectrum daily in their own programming.

With that said, don’t immediately assume that the person with the superhero physique is as smart as they are fit – genetics and worth ethic are far too often more significant contributing factors to someone’s appearance than exercise knowledge and smart program design. Look for a combination of smarts and strength.”

Interested in working with a great personal trainer but don’t know how to pick the right one? Check out my in-depth guide, Finding the Best Personal Trainer.

We can all benefit from great teachers. Go learn something new.