Personal Trainers: Part 1 - What Do They Do and Why Should You Care?

Personal Trainers - Welcome to the Car Sales Lot

Think of something that you use everyday...your car, your phone, your fridge (hopefully), even the clothes you wear. Can we agree that these all fit into an all encompassing category? Within those macro categories, there are specific nuances that make up that individual product or item. I’m sure those lead you to become attracted to that product and ultimately decide to purchase it.

Vehicles, for example. Is it a truck, car, SUV, or van.  Is it 2 door, 4 door, black, grey, red, 4WD, 2WD, full amenities on the inside or bare bones.  You get the idea...a TON to choose from, right?! But, since you are a unique individual, there were probably specific features that you really needed and/or wanted.  I doubt a mother of 3 would do well with a 2 door sports car…so a van it is. I also doubt a guy in his mid 50s would jump for the van scene, so maybe a more sporty or fast car would be the ‘right’ option.

And I could list out those same examples for each of the items I listed.  What’s my point? When you hear the words personal trainer or personal training, I’m sure there is a certain stereotype or vision that comes to mind.  Whether it be the Jillian Michaels aerobic fit type people or the in your face drill sergeant forcing you to do the hardest, toughest workout, I’m sure you’ve heard and seen it all. The crazy thing is that it might not appeal to you at all, which I find to be a BIG issue. It’s almost as if the only option on the lot would be 4x4 trucks...appeals to some, but misses out on a lot of others!

Why Should You Care?

My goal with this 2 part series is to shed some light on personal training and how it might benefit you, the exerciser, because just like there are many vehicles to choose from that might better suit you, there are also many fitness professionals to choose from, each varying in their expertise and abilities. They are NOT all created equal and making sure you choose the right one is important. (Note: this will not be a series about bashing the industry and pointing out all the faults…that can be a separate conversation)

What Do Personal Trainers Do?

Let’s start with defining what a personal trainer is, which can be tricky.  A quick Google search brings up hundreds of definitions. I went with the dictionary.com definition: a person who works one-on-one with a client to plan or implement an exercise or fitness regimen.

And some of this I agree with, but it is pretty vague and not very specific. A lot of businesses and models are becoming more semi-private and small group, which can be a great option due to its cost effectiveness and sense of community. So it is not just one-on-one anymore, although that is still a popular choice for many.  The second part still holds true though. A personal trainer's number one job is to plan or implement an exercise or fitness regimen for their clients. The specifics for each plan will vary, but that is the ultimate goal.

Here is my personal definition …

An individual with an extensive level of skill, knowledge, and ability relating to the body including biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, and exercise mechanics. They are able to listen to their client and get only the necessary information to determine the safest and most effective exercise program for that specific individual; always staying within their current abilities and tolerance levels. During each session they are able to communicate effectively and apply their extensive knowledge with ease and precision, which creates a unique experience for each client (this may include being ‘tough’ when needed or backing off as deemed necessary). They are also able to have an impact outside of each session with a specific follow up process to ensure that each client adheres to their program for long term, lasting change.  Above all else they put the client first.


Slightly different than the first, right?

My point is that you, the exerciser, should know that a personal trainer is more than just someone who cheers you on, counts your reps, and is there as your friend as you exercise. They should be an intricate part to your health and fitness (just like an accountant or financial advisor is part of your financial well being), bringing a deep level of knowledge to the table, which allows you to feel confident that you’re getting the best value for your investment.  Your health and your body should not be taken lightly and it should be the fitness professional’s sole purpose to ensure that you're getting the best service available. And the proof should be in the results (which we will touch on in part 2).

But can’t I just exercise on my own?

And of course the answer is yes. I know and have trained many people that are self sufficient when it comes to their exercise. But to say this is everyone would be foolish. I outsource a lot of services that I have minimal expertise in like my accountant, plumber, doctor, etc. So why should your exercise and ultimately your health (I’m a big believer in exercise being a great medicine and prevention of disease) be any different? If you want the best option for your goals, then having a professional guide you will be one of the greatest investments you could make. This is especially true if you have a health issue, joint problems, or are just starting out because you could potentially be doing more harm than good if you’re not careful.

Next Steps

So there is a nice general overview of what I and many other colleagues do and the standards we hold. Next week’s Part 2 of this series will go into where you can find various personal trainers and what each may bring to the table. Until then, I challenge you to determine where you’re at with your health and fitness.  All it takes in answering these 3 simple questions:

  1. If you were to look at myself 6 months from now, what would you like to see happen? Why does that matter?

  2. What is stopping you from doing that right now?

  3. What kind of assistance would benefit you in achieving those goals?


Send me your 3 answers, I’d love to hear them.  

The first 3 responses will be entered into a raffle for a 4 week trial of online personal training.

This is a great option for many people and new service that I am currently offering.  Here are some of the benefits:

  1. No longer have to go to a gym

    1. Gyms can suck sometimes. I am able to modify and accommodate at home workouts with ease.

  2. Scheduling is a non issue

    1. No time to meet in person? Online training to the rescue.

  3. Stronger accountability and support

    1. My time is freed from commuting and the hustle of in person training, which means more support and focus.

  4. More cost effective

    1. No more gym overhead or travel cost.  Quality training at a fraction of the price.

  5. Can work with the best

    1. I can be anywhere at anytime, which means YOU get the best without worrying about how to get to me.

  6. Loved ones can be taken care of

    1. Too much variance in this industry and not all trainers are created equal.  Now your friends and family can work with quality even if they don’t live close.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  I’m excited to be able to offer this new service as I think it will allow my reach to spread.  If you have questions or don’t get what online training is, feel free to contact me at ryan@continuedperformance.com.