The First 50%: What It Means to Call Yourself a Personal Trainer

Endurance Sports, Kettlebells, Strength and Conditioning

Over the years I’ve waged what I felt was a one-man protest against the fitness industry. As part of my solitary stance I have called myself a “strength coach,” when I was working primarily with athletes, or a “professional trainer,” when I transitioned to working with people more concerned about their health and well being than winning medals in tournaments.


personal training, training, coaching, becoming a personal trainer, fitnessOver the last few years I have reverted back to calling myself a personal trainer. Not out of submission, but because I recognized that my clients would refer to me as such and therefore to communicate better with them I started using the same language. A rose by any other name is still a rose, and so it matters little to me what people identify me as.


I can’t even recall the exact path that got me to where I am today. I liked training myself and had helped teach many martial arts classes when I was younger. I seemed to have a knack for explaining things, so helping other people get in shape seemed like it might be a good fit. I can still remember my first client though - a lovely girl who was about the same age as me who was also the gym’s first ever personal training client. (That’s how old I am - I pre-date personal training.) The problem with, let’s call her Kate, was that she hated mornings and hated exercise and eating healthy, but she loved the idea of being skinny. So three mornings a week at 6:00am I woke up before the sun was up to get to work, and then did my best to cajole, entice, and sometimes even threaten her to train harder. We argued endlessly about diet and her drinking habits. I pulled out what tiny communication skills I had back then in an effort to help her succeed.


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