With all the new technology these days, it might seem like the role of a Personal Trainer is becoming obsolete.
I just spent the past 4 days with 12000 other fitness professionals at the IDEA World Fitness Convention in Los Angeles (I’ll get into this in more detail on Friday, so be sure to come back!).
An exciting part of the convention was the expo – who doesn’t love free samples? 😉
But samples aside, I was really looking forward to seeing the new tools and technology that’s available to personal trainers.
And while there were tons of fantastic CRM platforms and ways to connect with existing clients and potential clients, I was really surprised to see the “be your own trainer” software.
There were apps that created full-on meal plans based on dietary preferences and activity levels. Websites claimed to be able to help you reach your goals by creating customized workout programs.
All for a fee that runs much lower than a personal training package.
You can even take it one step further and turn to one of the thousand You-Tubers, virtual personal trainers, and Insta-Celebs who are giving all the goods away for free.
And while I’ve never quite felt “threatened” by these offerings, it has made me wonder where my field is going to take me in the coming years.
But after connecting with different trainers and listening in on incredibly helpful and inspiring sessions meant to help us help you better, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for what these tools and technologies and programs lack:
The ability to connect with another human being – to share struggles, celebrate successes, and reach out when you need a helping hand or a friendly kick in the ass.
They lack sets of eyes that watch every move, ensuring all aspects of technique are correct.
And they lack flexibility. An app doesn’t care if you’ve had a rough day and can’t mentally handle an intense HIIT workout, whereas a trainer can pick up on those cues and adapt the session as needed.
So if you’ve been wondering, amidst all these fantastic new tools, “how can a personal trainer help me?”, here are your answers.
Sure, some of the more advanced software will allow you to enter your weight, height, dietary preferences, exercise preferences, etc. and will “customize” a program for you.
But these programs are still based off templates with pre-determined exercises and pre-determined recipes. They don’t take into account that sometimes your shoulder gets sore after overhead movements, or that you occasionally work graveyard shifts that throw your entire schedule out of whack.
You can probably turn on Push Notifications so your app will tell you it’s time to workout.
And you can set calendar reminders to tell you meal prep or drink your water or whatever.
But how often do you actually pay attention to those things?
Hiring a personal trainer is a two-way investment – it’s an investment of your time, money, and energy, and it’s an investment of their time and energy.
Countless studies have shown that by staying accountable to another individual you will be more likely to stick to and ultimately reach your goals.
If you know you’re going to have to report to your trainer about whether you hit your water intake or completed your workout homework, are you going to be less likely to skip out?
It’s your personal trainer’s job to understand the “why” behind a certain exercise or programming method.
We’re required by our certifying bodies to ensure we are giving you accurate information and are being honest about questions we don’t know the answers to.
Your favourite fitness blogger who posts workout programs and meal plans on her recipe can say whatever she wants because #FreedomOfSpeech
“Will I gain more weight if I ate a tablespoon of Yak Butter or drank a soda?” – unanimously they would say Yak Butter. But they’re wrong. Your body has no idea what the hell to do with the soda, so this floats through your body, and it stores it as inflammation, which is a very important word that needs to be understood correctly.”
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve heard a lot of crap come out of other trainers’ mouths that makes me cringe.
But at the end of the day, the vast majority of us take our careers seriously and work hard to ensure we are communicating accurate information.
Let’s be honest – you’re not going to crush every single workout every single day. You’re not going to be motivated to kill it all. the. time.
These generic programs and softwares lack the ability to adapt based on your current needs.
Tired from a mentally draining day at work? Maybe 10 sets of 10 squats isn’s what you need. But does you app offer an alternative, or are you left to mull about on the couch?
Are you travelling on business which limits your workout time? Since you no longer have the time for Ms. Fitness Blogger’s two-hour workouts, what else are you going to do?
A personal trainer can modify the workout they had planned for you, or even the current phase of your program based on the current factors in your life.
It’s not always about being a super-hardcore-ultimate-badass-fitness-monster every single day.
Sometimes it’s about doing what you can when you can, until life puts those favourable conditions back in your hands.
At the end of the day, my job as a personal trainer goes far beyond kicking peoples’ butts in the gym and writing them programs.
It’s more about supporting others as they take steps towards improving their health and their lives.
It involves creating an environment that allows them to explore how strong they really are.
It involves being a cheerleader, a therapist, and most importantly, a friend.
So while all of these new apps and tools and software will force us trainers to become more creative in our practices, I have a hunch that we’re all here to stay 😉