So many times a fitness trainer will work with a client for a couple of hours each week, without getting to the root of related lifestyle dimensions that may need to be addressed.
The role of a personal trainer can include a really broad agenda. Trainers tend to take certification courses with multiple subjects involved in order to stay current in their field. But coaches tend to create their coaching agendas more toward those issues that are more aligned within their field of expertise in sports or fitness disciplines.
Trainers also need to be able to better understand their clients and their reasons or motivations for their exercise habits. This includes getting background information from the client, including experience with exercise in the past. During this time personal trainers should also be learning about the client’s lifestyle, and exercise style profiles related to the clients past fitness programming attempts. Once a trainer can better understand the client, it allows for the trainer to make recommendations related to fitness activities that have a greater probability for the client to enjoy – and therefore incorporate as part of their lifestyle.
Although at times controversial as a topic, health and fitness professionals have little doubt about the benefits of physical activity. Most of the debate centers on the amount of physical activity, not really about whether or not we should be active. Generally and as a society, we need to engage in more active lifestyles. At the turn-of-the-century there was enough information to prove the benefits of maintaining a solid foundation of exercise, fitness or physical activity as one of the main cornerstones of healthy living.
Some of the things that we have learned include that the one-size-fits-all approach to fitness doesn’t work. We’ve also learned that even though science has provided us great tools for analyzing and applying sciences like biomechanics, these criteria are not sufficient enough for solid program designs. We’ve also had a chance to see how some fads endure, while others fall shy of their goal or purpose. There are other elements for fitness professionals to be aware of, and most of the knowledge we have collected since the original fitness revolution of the mid-1960’s supports the benefits of having an active lifestyle.
It also means that we need to increase the forces and supports for active living, not only by providing more appealing programming but also through structure and social support networks that help clients to stay engaged. Sometimes this is as simple as customizing fitness programs to address individual needs, but can also branch out into lifestyles or a more inclusive range of personal and health benefits
As fitness continues to grow in popularity, so does the controversy about the limitations we observe in the training process. Some of the other closely aligned fields of health and wellness have accused fitness trainers of crossing the lines with respect to scope of practice. As part of the drive to establish credibility, fitness professionals have begun policing themselves and helping to define the lines distinguishing themselves from other types of health services offered by professionals.
This blurred line between mind and body disciplines that has been present in the fitness world is a result of all parties involved realizing that one cannot always isolate and treat only one segment of the client’s being- or experiences with expectations that may be too high or unrealistic.
It has only been with a lot of hard work fitness professionals have learned to be able to spend two or three hours per week with the client and incorporate coaching about other life dimensions that are important to staying physically fit. This necessary step in our evolution of fitness trainers is due to the fact that trainers have to be able to have intelligent dialogue with clients about matters that reach into other parts of their life if they are known to have an effect on activity levels.
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