CLEARING THE CONFUSION - THE COACH CONUNDRUM
PRODUCT "COACHES" VERSUS PERSONAL TRAINER "COACHES"
I need to address this topic as if feel there is much public confusion on the notion of a "Coach" in the Health and Fitness industry. By definition, a "Coach" is someone who is "an Athletic Instructor or Trainer", point blank. It seems every second post or ad has a "Coach" giving advice about some product, workout or other, so I can see how the public has been taken for a ride when it comes to making informed decisions about the truth of what they are trying to pursue for their own health and well-being.
I can't support the "who-ra-ra" bandwagon when it comes to mechanics and mechanical analysis for safety in exercise, and biochemistry analysis for personal intake. No, not everything presented in home or online exercise videos are "great instruction". I know this for a fact as I have had to do gait and movement analysis on various forms of instruction from YouTube to home instruction videos in previous courses for commentary. We had to pull apart what is mechanically unsustainable for exercise and what is sustainable given certain candidates of physiological structural alignments to consider. If you would like to challenge me on this, I would gladly sit with any one of you in video analysis for an info session! A person's underlying muscular responses, cross-correlating with multi-articular (joint) actions in movement patterning can make or break the success (or disaster) outcome of any exercise execution -- ESPECIALLY when it is being produced under a load-bearing situation or force such as higher-speed movements, plyo-metrics and weights. Each person has their own individualized skeletal structural set up which makes not every exercise "safe" for a person to execute. If you think "body weight" exercises are any safer than "in-gym" exercises, they are not, and can cause worse problems than starting somewhere where load bearing is in a safe and sustainable environment. Not being comfortable in a gym is one thing, but personalized professional instruction is also available out-of-gym and is also a great place to start.
Being able to assess what kinds of forces (improper or proper) being placed upon a body is essential because the end result may be a serious complication for an individual and a lifelong plague of pain. The end result of my studies was there is A LOT of wrong being taught and instructed out there! Without a trained eye for these inaccuracies, many DO get injured over time. With a trained background in muscular neurology, kinesiology, gait/movement/posture analysis, biochem, bioenergetics, orthomolecular nutrition, and the list of sciences goes on and on, properly informed Trainers allow people to find the safest route to their goal without damaging their bodies or their metabolisms (of which I help to rehab MANY on a yearly basis).
It seems these days that people are basically lumping all Coaches and Trainers (as Coaches) into one category and yes there are skilled and unskilled in each approach. Nevertheless, they simply ARE NOT and CAN NOT be equated as such. Any type of instruction or "support", is still instruction that clients mimick, so yes, exercise and nutrition knowledge IS essential for proper instruction, whether at a distance, online, or in-person.
Properly informed and instructed Trainers are in the beginnings of becoming amazing BioMechanists (with more upgrading and patience of practicing within their scope of practice ...another beef I have within my own industry... entry level certs and then vying to train post-rehab or other various advanced forms of training without the proper background or credentials... nevertheless that's another tangent). In short, consider Trainers "mechanics of the bio-organic machine". I always ask people who have little knowledge about cars if they would ever take it upon themselves to fix their own car mechanically or chemically, or electrically if they didn't know what they had to do? Many of them would say "absolutely not" and spend THOUSANDS in correcting the car's issues. Yet, our organic machines are far more complex and where ego is involved it seems that everyone seems to know everything it takes to do just the same with a body.... correct mechanical physiological errors in operation (mechanical movement errors in exercise form), correct their own chemistries (metabolisms) and correct their own neurologies (electrical systems) in that same order as a car... but then people look for the easiest and cheapest way out. It is important to understand the substantial impact or toll on a body in this vantage point can create and how much people value their organic houses in which they live --- Spend MORE ON THE CAR, they say!
I am all about people taking the initiative to get active... don't get me wrong. But, I have helped rehab many whom have injured themselves via home and online video instruction because of their inability to ascertain what is correct in functional movement patterning for them. Many others have severely damaged their metabolic output and capacities and are consistently struggling in rebound situations if they take one morsel outside of their severely restricted eating regimes.
Frankly, I am tired of remaining silent on these issues as to not "offend anyone" out there. Be offended if you wish. Many Trainers have spent tens to hundreds of thousands in educating themselves for the simple fact of professionally KEEPING PEOPLE SAFE, and bolstering health in precarious situations where novice and entry level exercise and eating plans are concerned.
I won't be the first to say that everything out there labeled as "healthy", is actually "healthy" or is sustainable for the human body, but instead of spending thousands on products and gimmicks, people need to invest in educated and professional advice of those who know the most pertinent scientific information to keep them safe. Otherwise, why have any kind of "professional with credentials"? Sick? Why ask a "doctor with credentials" for help, go ask a coach! They can give you some sound advice on medicines and medical interventions to help? I mean really? It's the same logic!
As well, I do not appreciate the fact that many of my clients have been watched throughout their transformation journeys, only to have them accosted to become a company representative "coach" because of their "inspirational transformations". Guess what??? They got their transformation through ME, MY business, and MY education and training/nutrition methodologies -- NOT through any gimmick, fad, or franken-food product. So... leave my clients alone.
People, PLEASE, do you research before embarking on ANY "health and wellness" kick with coaches/trainers/instructors who have little to no background in the areas that matter most for whatever your goal. Ask for credentials... and don't be afraid to do so. The inability to produce legitimate credentials or certificates, other than a company given title, should be your first red flag.
Amy J Gallant
Elite Master Personal Trainer