Do you want to become a personal trainer because you genuinely want to help others reach their goals or do you want to train because of how it makes you feel? Both motivations have their own benefits, but the latter can often lead to burnout and dissatisfaction. Doing personal training and coaching clients because it makes you feel good about yourself isn’t a bad idea. It just can lead to focusing on your own ego rather than the progress, health and feelings of your clients.
Chances are, you’re reading this article because you want to help people use fitness as a tool to improve their lives and/or health in some way. I’m not here to criticize anyone’s desire to assist others, but I’ll call you out if your motives are wrong. I’m all about sometimes feeling warm and fuzzy inside, but if your primary reason for becoming a personal trainer is to make yourself feel good then you should probably find something else to do.
I know that kind of sounds harsh, but here’s the thing: If you train people because it makes you feel better about yourself, you’re holding onto this false idea of superiority. It’s a destructive way of thinking and builds your ego. It leads to the wrong type of clientele and eventually leads you down a path of one-uppness, destined to leave you burnt out, broke and frustrated. More importantly, you’re probably pushing clients into training sessions they have no business being in with the potential to hurt someone.
Although the initial feeling of helping someone else might not be as strong, training people to make them feel better about themselves, is a far more sustainable path emotionally and financially. It’s a kinder, more compassionate way of being in this field. It ultimately leads to you helping more people because you’ll be in it for the right reasons.
If you’re training people because it makes them feel better about themselves, your ego isn’t involved and therefore has no room for it to grow. Your job is to get them strong, healthy and confident— not show off how much you know. You don’t have to feel superior to your clients in order to take pride in your work because everything you put into them will pay off when they accomplish their goals.
So, how can you shift your mindset and leave your ego out of this? Here are four key take aways.
1) Stop comparing yourself to other trainers.
Just because someone knows more than you or has been doing this longer doesn’t mean that they’re better than you. You have your own strengths and weaknesses and that’s what makes you unique.
2) Focus on the progress of your clients, not your ego.
Remember you’re not there to make them sore. You’re there to help them meet their goals and get stronger, period. Ask yourself: when you get to the end of your career, what do you want people to say about you? One word— helpful.
3) Remind yourself why you became a personal trainer in the first place.
If it was to help people feel better about themselves, focus on that and let your ego take a backseat. When you’re in it for the right reasons, you’ll find this career to be rewarding both emotionally and financially.
4) Be okay with saying “I don’t know”.
Stay in your scope of practice and don’t try to be something you’re not. There are plenty of other trainers out there that are more knowledgable about a certain topic and that’s okay. Use them as resources, build your tool box and get better!
When your ego isn’t involved, you’ll find that being a personal trainer is far more rewarding and satisfying. You’ll be able to help more people because your motives will be in the right place. So go out there and change some lives, for the right reasons.
– Coach Kyle Glickman