Breaking the stereotype

Breaking the stereotype

This post is going to be extremely egotistical so feel free to skip it. But the time has come to address one of my biggest pet peeves, and something that I believe is extremely damaging to the fitness industry.

I am constantly taken aback by the assumption that all personal trainers are idiots. Sure, I know a lot of them gain their certifications very quickly and use it as a filler job until they find something better. Their heart may not be in it and I’ve certainly seen a lot of stupid coaching in my time.

They’re not all like this, I promise!

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But to assume that all personal trainers – or bodybuilders, for that matter – are complete airheads is seriously insulting. For example, when I told my mother that I was giving up my cushy, well-paid job writing for a magazine that reaches some of the most important people in Australia to become a personal trainer, her response was: “But you’re so smart – why would you do something so stupid? Oh well, as long as you’re just doing it temporarily.”

Even when I told my boss and my editor that I was leaving to become a PT, they only wiped the puzzled looks off their faces when I told them the purpose is to pursue writing in the fitness industry. Even though everyone who knows me is aware that I love lifting, they nonetheless seem shocked that I would “waste my talent”, so to speak. But if I decided that my true passion was to be a personal trainer for the rest of my life, nobody has a right to comment on that.

I have always done very well when it comes to education, and achieved the highest marks in a number of subjects throughout high school and university. I qualified to commence any degree of my choosing, but writing was – and still is! – my passion so journalism it was. I know Western Australian universities aren’t comparable to Oxford or Cambridge, but I am pretty proud of the fact I graduated top of my class.

I am also very proud of the work I have done at my current job. Over the past two years, I’ve written stories that 99 per cent of the population would not be able to understand let alone try to duplicate. In a matter of months, I was able to churn out 6000 word feature articles about specialised financial topics with absolutely zero financial experience under my belt.

I don’t enjoy bragging about my intellect, so excuse me for being brash but there is a point to be made. I promise I will never mention any of this ever again and let my work speak for itself.

You could pay me all the money in the world to stay at my current job and I would not take it. I want to help people change their lives and, for now, my passion lies in becoming a personal trainer.

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I’d like to think that the UK certification I’m doing now is better than what is on offer in the US. I’ve heard stories of people becoming qualified within a weekend in the States, but my course takes a minimum of three months to complete. On the surface it certainly seems like my certification is a lot more detailed.

For example, I believe personal trainers in the US are not legally allowed to give their clients nutritional advice. To me that sounds counterproductive because diet and exercise are so hand-in-hand. But I can understand how US-based PTs probably think I’m getting ahead of myself because I’m not a nutritionist.

My course includes an entire unit on nutrition, complete with a 300 page textbook. Sure, I don’t think reading that makes my knowledge equal to a nutritionist’s, but I certainly think that it would be adequate to teach someone how to properly fuel their body.

Do I think that being intelligent will make me a good personal trainer? It may help but, ultimately, no. But do I think my drive, discipline and attention to detail will? Absolutely. I’m just one person, but I know there are many other trainers out there who are incredibly intelligent.

Through Juliet’s blog, I’ve found the Personal Trainer Development Centre and began to follow the amazing people are associated with that. To me, this website is what personal training should be about: dedicating your heart and soul to improving the industry and truly trying to help change your clients’ lives. I believe if you work in the fitness industry you should never stop learning, and that is why the PTDC site is so valuable.

To brush all personal trainers off as stupid is ignorant. There are masterminds in every field, and I only hope that one day I can be a sliver as spectacular as some of those in the fitness industry.

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