The other day IDEA posted the results of a recent survey they conducted on Facebook to identify the 10 most common misconceptions about fitness professionals.
They neglected, however, to explain just WHY the statements they presented weren’t true. Of course, most of their readers are fellow fitness professionals who shouldn’t require further explanation (you would hope!), but I thought I’d debunk them for the rest of you, just for fun!
Common misconceptions about fitness professionals debunked
1. Fitness professionals all look like magazine models.
Although many of us have lean, muscular bodies, shiny hair and clear skin (that’s what exercise and healthy eating do to a body…), we do not ALL look like magazine models. The bodies you see on the covers of fitness magazines are prepped for weeks before their shoot. They’re pumped up, tanned and often air-brushed to achieve the near-impossible physique that magazines need to sell issues.
The rest of us look like this if we’re lucky enough to grace the cover of our local recreation centre’s spring circular;
2. They do it for the money.
While a handful of fitness professionals do find fortune, most of us are working for $30, $40 or perhaps $50 per hour, without benefits or paid vacations and no financial recourse if clients cancel on us at the last minute. Hours are sporadic and fitness professionals often work split shifts just to earn enough to pay the rent. Some of us blog to earn secondary income (or in the hopes of earning secondary income 😉 ).
3. They are not highly educated.
Fitness professionals are required by their local certification body to attend training courses, log practicum hours and sit and pass very challenging examinations. As a group fitness instructor, weight training supervisor and personal trainer, I have easily amassed several hundred hours of classroom and online education, including my initial certification courses and the annual continuing education courses I will need to keep taking as long as I continue to work as a fitness professional.
Most of the personal trainers I work with also have post secondary degrees; Bachelor’s degrees in science, Master’s degrees in kinesiology or education or even business, even PhD’s in biology.
4. They are superficial jocks.
Seriously? I’m not sure where to even begin with this one.
5. They work out all day, every day.
A well-educated fitness professional understands the importance of rest. Most struggle to fit in their workouts between training clients and teaching classes. While it’s true that our jobs are physical (we demonstrate exercises to our clients, hand them their dumbbells, load their plates on the bar), we spend more time coaching and listening and correcting than working out ourselves.
Note, if your personal trainer is working out with you, you need to find a new trainer; how can they be paying attention to your workout if they’re doing their own?
6. They are judgemental.
Show me a judgemental fitness professional and I’ll show you someone who’ll soon be out of a job. Personal training clients and group fitness participants don’t like to work with trainers who make them feel judged. Do you? A fitness professional’s attitude towards other’s lifestyle choices is directly related to how full their classes and personal training practice are. Clients and class participants will vote with their feet if they feel judged or disrespected in general.
7. They have a job full of glitz and glamour.
Really? Since when does wearing workout clothes 6 days a week and spending the day working with people who are sweaty and smelly by the end of their time with you constitute glamour? (Sorry guys, some of you really are smelly by the end of our session…)
8. They have all the answers.
Impossible! The fitness industry is rapidly evolving. New research about exercise, nutrition and weight loss is published daily and there’s no way that any one individual can be completely on top of current knowledge in the field. A good trainer will answer your questions to the best of their ability and seek out more information when their own knowledge is lacking.
More and more we’re learning that there is no ONE TRUE WAY to be healthy and fit.
9. They act like drill sergeants.
Perhaps (and especially on reality television 😉 ). But only when the client or class type calls for it. They’re just as likely to be your cheerleader, your confidant, your clergy, your psychologist and your mom. Fitness professionals need to be able to adjust their approach and technique according to the needs of the situation. I might act like a bit of a drill sergeant in boot camp class, but not in a 1-on-1 setting (unless you tell me that’s what you need me to be, Sir!)
10. They are paid to work out.
Certainly, group fitness instructors are getting a workout while they teach. You can’t ‘coach’ step aerobics or cardio kick boxing or spinning effectively by walking around the classroom giving verbal directions. However, a good group fitness instructor knows that your workout is not her workout and tries to find a balance between keeping you motivated by participating in the class and keeping your safe and injury-free by coaching and correcting.
Can you think of any misconceptions about fitness professionals that the survey missed?