A fitness leader is a coach, a motivator, an educator and a role model or as John C. Maxwell once said, '...someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.'
With every year that passes, we aim to be taken more seriously in the realm of health and wellness, and our industry's expectation for a better qualified, more knowledgable army of fitness professionals helps to separate the cowboys from the commendable.
Much time and effort is dedicated in the media and within our own ranks to assessing how well we 'know the way' and to debating the principles and methods we employ to 'show the way'. Our industry is offering more professional development on all aspects of fitness and exercise science than ever before, and good quality information on how to get the best out of our clients is also more accessible than ever before.
As a former personal training and group exercise manager and current assessor of Certificate III and IV in Fitness, I have been responsible for mentoring, training and assessing literally thousands of fitness leaders. In that time I have seen people from all walks of life, with a wide range of goals and an even wider range of abilities, take to the stage or the gym floor as they embark on their fitness industry careers. And while they may know the way and show the way, I'm continually astounded by how many trainers and instructors simply don't feel that it's important to 'go the way' themselves.
Someone who goes the way...
The majority of fitness professionals live and breathe the philosophies that they espouse, yet there are still a number who are any combination of overweight, unfit, deconditioned and simply not 'walking the talk'.
For those of us who do practice what we preach, we're usually fairly vocally opposed to trainers and instructors who don't. From a management perspective, we want staff who inspire our clients not only with their experience and with their pursuits but with their appearance. We want to show our members that better fuel, better movement and better knowledge all combine to create better bodies- be that aesthically, functionally or healthfully. Yet it's not uncommon to see trainers and instructors in fitness facilities across the country who simply don't embody the physicality that we have become so accustomed to attaching to the fitness professional job title.
Have you worked with, or had to address the condition of, someone in the technical side of the fitness industry who wasn't a physical role model? Do you believe that it negatively impacted their ability to be a fitness leader or did their level of skill in 'knowing the way' and 'showing the way' surpass their physicality?