When I started my business, ironically, I considered myself a Lifestyle and Fitness Coach (and less of a Personal Trainer). I got my Personal Training Certification followed by a Behavior Change Specialist certificate as I knew fitness and behavior changes go hand in hand.
I mention ironically for a few reasons that I will do my best to not digress on TOO much.
For one, a part of me for years, likely even a decade, has wanted to be a Personal Trainer, but I had not been ready to admit that to myself, until a year and half or so ago.
I was, though, drawn to this idea of being a coach. Perhaps it is because I took extensive coaching training in my former role as Associate Director and coached people regularly as part of my job. Maybe that seemed like a more logical career transition. Coaching, at the end of the day, has the same fundamentals no matter what the context or industry is.
Anyways, I also say ironically because at the time that I was starting to call myself “Coach” I was getting interest in people wanting me to become their trainer. Naturally, as one does when starting a business, I pivoted and went towards where the demand was.
It did not take me more than my first few minutes with clients to realize that being a GOOD trainer was much more than being a Trainer. It requires being a good coach too.
Because the thing is, at least in my experience, my clients have come to me because they have gotten to a point where they know they need some assistance, guidance, inspiration and accountability to make the changes they want for various reasons. Everyone has a level of stress, their own confidence (or often lack of), roadblocks, fears, etc. The list is endless but the point is this. Yes, they come to me specifically to train them, which I deliver on. I also deliver on the coaching and cultivating mindset and helping them with behavior changes even if that is not precisely what they realize they are coming to me for.
Coaching is all about listening to how someone is feeling, their experiences and their reactions to those experiences. And then giving them a different perspective and tools on how to change all of that (i.e. mindset). Coaching is not about telling someone what to do or exactly how to do it from A to Z. It is about guiding them from where they are to where they want to be. It is about working on their mindset and making them feel more confident and inspired.
And that quite simply is coaching. That is also why I consider myself to be both a Coach and a Trainer. That is also why I love both roles equally and how they complement one another to the benefit of my clients.
So what does a Coaching session look like compared to a Personal Training session?
Let’s start with the obvious, a Personal Training session. This is where I physically push my clients (and mentally too as we often have to experience that pain cave and suck to make gains). This is where my beloved mash-up videos come from with clients doing sit-ups, push-ups, slam balls, squats, sled pushes, and EVERYTHING in between. This is where I implement what I program (in advance) and walk clients through the movements and workouts. This is where we are in a sweaty gym, with music blaring, clients cursing at me, and getting into that workout zone. Nothing else is on the brain other than doing the physical task at hand. That bad work meeting or that call from a kid’s school or that minor fender bender, none of that matters. For the hour clients are with me, they escape everything.
With coaching, it is the exact opposite. There is no escaping. (I know this sounds scary and dramatic but stay with me. I promise it really is not!) We are meeting to talk about all that stress that is getting in our way of our fitness goals. We are talking about all the stuff we are trying to escape when we throw our headphones on and hit the trails to run or pound weights at CrossFit.
Coaching is about digging your deepest (hence where my business came from) and acknowledging all the “stuff” that swirls in our brains a mile a minute and ultimately becomes our mindset.
Mindset is everything. Anyone can spend hours at a gym to try to gain muscle or lose weight but it means nothing if our self-talk is negative and demoralizing.
Anyone and Everyone Can Benefit From Coaching
For some, they may be starting out or wanting to make health and lifestyle changes, but perhaps they feel scared or overwhelmed or inadequate to go at it alone. On the other end of the spectrum, for others, they may already be living that healthy lifestyle, but they do not have that mindset that leaves them feeling warm and fuzzy. Or maybe they have old demons that haunt them.
I always preach the whole “Fuck The Scale” mantra which I stand by, but possibly for different reasons than may seem obvious.
I am by no means anti-losing weight. I am though anti-letting a scale dictate the whole story or let it define how we feel.
Something with coaching that I help with is balancing wanting to maybe lose weight (or in better Law of Attraction terms, gain more muscle and be more lean) with not discounting where we are at at that moment. My issue with the scale is that 1 number can override all the great work we are doing. It can override a killer workout we had or noticing our clothes fit differently. In the 2 seconds it takes to step onto a scale, it can completely reverse our progress.
Because again, it goes back to mindset. I want to help people appreciate and love their bodies for what they are, right now, while still coming up with a plan to reach goals. When the focus is constantly on what it is not, our confidence and mindset tanks.
What I love about coaching also is how organically it flows. I always thought to be a coach, I need a whole lot of fancy tools and clever techniques, which I do have for the record. I find though that so much of coaching comes down to a few basic fundamental things that drives success more than anything:
The client has to be ready and open for change. Without that, nothing I say or do will make a difference. There has to be that authentic connection between the client and me. It is so important that the client truly feels that I am there for him/her personally and not trying to sell him/her on some cookie cutter program. Coaching is NOT about giving solutions. It is about exploration, changing behavior, and strategizing. I get really excited and passionate when I think about the coaching potential and impact I can have on others. I also get a bit intimidated as to how to promote my skills as a coach without it seeming like I am scattered or over-promoting too many things.
Having said that, all the services I offer, from Virtual Personal Training to Coaching and all that is in between, they all truly are from the same origin: Lifestyle and Fitness. It makes complete sense to me why I love having dual roles and why I hope I can reach more of you.