How To Choose the Best Fitness Coach to Help With Your Goals.

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So many influencers & trainers, who should you be listening to and working with?

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With the advent of social media, there’s been a rise of many Fitness ‘Influencers’ and ‘Coaches’. These people might be fit, look good and train hard, but most of them are not qualified fitness professionals. As such, without the knowledge or experience, some of the information that they are sharing are not correct and might not be suitable for everyone.

This is also prevalent and has some carry over into the Fitness industry as barriers to entry are low. Almost anyone can be an employed or freelance Fitness Coach (even without any certifications), but that might not necessarily mean that he or she has the desired qualities of a good or competent coach.

So in this article, we are going to run through some qualities that you can look out for in an individual in order to determine whether they might be a credible source of information to you and whether they are qualified to be the one to help coach you to achieve your fitness goals.

This can also serve as a guide for coaches who are looking to improve on themselves.

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Here are 5 key qualities that I believe a great coach will possess. They might be stronger at some aspects and lacking a bit in the other, but I believe that great coaches would be consistently working on these qualities often. They are the:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Experience/Achievements
  3. Physical
  4. Communication/Coaching Skills
  5. Passion

5 different qualities to look out for and let’s run through them together.

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1. Knowledge

The fitness industry is not a highly regulated industry in most parts of the world and a lot of trainers I see do not even have a basic CPT certification, which stands for Certified Personal Trainer certification. Some credible and globally recognised certifications can be earned from ACE, ACSM and NSCA.

Why is this important? Because health and fitness are based in sciences such as physiology, biomechanics and programming. There’s a lot to know before one should be allowed to coach or give advice as we are then influencing someone’s health and body. Also, if one does not have the requisite knowledge, it is definitely going to be difficult for them to coach or help you effectively and efficiently.

Some might say that they can learn about these topics online without any need for certifications. But having these certifications represents an investment of time and money that the trainer has put into their profession. And it shows how serious they are about their craft and self-improvement. 

So do take note of a trainer’s or influencer’s qualifications as it can be a good representation  of how knowledgable they are. Some other types of certifications can include Masters, Degrees, Diplomas and Speciality courses.

2. Experience

There are two types of experience to consider. Firstly, we are referring to their time in the trenches. How long someone has been coaching, the number of people he or she has coached and the different types of people he has experience in coaching can help determine a their ability to coach. The more you do something, the better one should be at it.

The second type of experience that is important is the experience gained from what someone might have achieved as a coach or as an athlete. We are talking about experience gained from participating, preparing and competing in competitions, races, etc. There are a lot of valuable knowledge to be gained from the person standing in the arena of competition. An example is that if an individual wants to compete in a Spartan Race or marathon, a certified coach can definitely help them with their preparation. But a coach who also has experience in participating in such events would have more value to the individual.

Finding a certified coach who has prior experience in your goals and interest can really help you to get to your goals quicker and more efficiently as they have been there and done that or have had similar trainees before.

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3. Physical

As health & fitness professionals, coaches should always look and act the part. While they do not need to have defined abs or big arms to be able to coach well, they should have at least a decent level of fitness and be able to move well. This also allows them to be better able to demonstrate exercises with the correct technique (especially so if they have a supposed speciality in a particular field such as martial arts or olympic weightlifting). One should be able to walk the talk.

I personally feel that all coaches should also be actively training as well, irregardless of how busy they are. If coaches are supposed to help clients develop better habits, to make time for their health despite a busy schedule, they should be leading by example. 

Of course, there are exceptions such as for older coaches or coaches who have long term chronic injuries. They might have a wealth of experience and knowledge but not be able to move as well as before.

So, look out for a trainer who walks the talk and leads by example! Talk is cheap and action helps to inspire others.

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4. Coaching & Communication Skills

Being able to train on your own is vastly different from being able to share the correct principles and cues with trainees in order to allow them to perform to their best ability and in a safe manner. This is usually what lacks for those who have not coached much before – they don’t know or are unable to develop coaching and communication skills.

Coaching someone is not merely listing out exercises and counting reps, instead having good coaching and communication skills means being able to build good rapport with individuals in order to motivate and help them achieve more in a safe and progressive manner.

You want to find a coach that you can resonate with and can understand you well in order to know how to motivate and train you to your maximal potential. 

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5. Passion

Personally, this is the quality that I find most important. Why? Because if you find a coach who is passionate in what they are doing and have a great love for health and fitness, they will be individuals who will be constantly seeking to improve themselves to become better. Naturally they will be active individuals who train, they will be consistently upgrading themselves, they will try to get as much experience as possible through various avenues and will also make an effort to understand their trainees and build better interpersonal coaching skills.

Passion is the quality that helps build all these qualities for a coach.

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If you’re looking for someone to listen to for Health & Fitness advice, information or coaching, I’ll highly suggest looking for certified individuals who are also highly passionate and driven as I can almost guarantee they will be trying their best at improving themselves in all aspects of being a fitness professional. Try to vet your information before believing that guy or lady with nice abs and a lot of subscribers and make informed decisions on who you consume content from.

I hope this helps you as you look around for qualified individuals to get your fitness information and help from. Have a great day and an even stronger tomorrow!

Author: Leon Tan, CSCS

I'm a certified Fitness Coach with a degree in Sports Science. I am passionate in Health, Fitness and helping people become a better version of ourselves.

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