Must a trainer be able to do the movements?

I’ve been thinking about becoming a trainer. Late in life for me- 60 years old.

Several reasons:
- I want to learn more about fitness and a certification program seems like it would be enjoyable and enriching
- I’ve been working out for about 3 1/2 years and I believe it changed my mindset from mostly negative to mostly positive. I want to share this - I’ve talked some folks into gym memberships and they are using it and super happy I did.
- I think a lot of folks my age or overweight/obese are intimidated by some of the young buff folks who train even if they are great trainers and super patient and nice. They might not be as intimidated by me.
- I think a lot of trainers out there are more interested in training folks who are already “fit.” I’m more interested in helping unfit people get to a better (not great) fitness. Then they would move on if they wanted to continue improving.

But- big BUT- I’m in decent shape but not super fit or anything. The trainers in my gym can all demonstrate advanced movements from a stone cold start. E.g they can be hanging out and do a muscle up to demonstrate. I can’t do this. Some of the movements we do I can’t do at all or do very poorly- the example of a muscle up - I can’t even get my chest to the bar. I usually know how but just can’t execute. My current gym is NCFit partner- like CrossFit but not but I likely wouldn’t train others there.

Should I do this? It will cost $ and $ is a little tight for me now.

Replies

  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,130 Member
    I'd be wary of a trainer who couldn't or wouldn't demonstrate what they wanted me to do - it can be hard to translate verbal descriptions into bodily movements. (I wouldn't hire a trainer in the first place, paying someone else to pay attention to my body while I'm working out sounds like a bespoke nightmare, but in the universe wherein I would hire one, I'd expect them to be able to do the moves.)
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,097 Member
    It certainly is useful if they did hone a skill of performance at one time but not a absolute.

    A good trainer will have verbal cues that will get the result in the movement they want performed.

    Everybody has different limb length, proportions, health issues, so demonstrating isn't necessarily a optimal tool compared to other aspects of training.

    Certs are only neccessary if you want to be hired by a gym. The information to obtain a cert is literally garbage. Experience is key to be a good trainer. If you want to be hired by a gym, than certainly get the cheapest cert that will allow you to be hired. My suggestion is continue training yourself and offer up to a friend or so and get the experience.

    Also I'm pretty select on my clients but I do train novel, out of shape, elderly, teenagers, physically handicapped, athletes, etc...none of my clients are intimidated by my physique. They are paying for my knowledge & experience not for how I look personally.
  • Cherimoose
    Cherimoose Posts: 5,210 Member
    If you've been doing strength training, i doubt you'll have a problem doing any of the common exercises that an out of shape person should learn. Muscle-ups aren't one of the them.

    If you don't get a certification, you should have a good understanding of the basics of kinesiology and exercise science, both of which you can learn at https://exrx.net.
    Also watch several Youtube tutorials for each of the exercises you teach, to learn how to identify & correct the common mistakes.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,988 Member
    I like the idea that others are advancing, that you can do the exercises that can/should be done by persons for whom someone like you would be an especially effective trainer, i.e., other folks in an older demographic who may be out of shape and who have really low expectations of themselves as older people. You'd be perfect as someone who could help them get past those toxic low expectations, and on a road to better health. That would be pretty great!

    Are there enough of those people to make it a financially viable pursuit? Different question, don't know.

    If someone reached the point where you couldn't help them any longer in a general sense . . . you'd want to pass them on to a more suitable advanced trainer anyway, wouldn't you?

    I think teaching people the rare isolated thing you can't do yourself is potentially achievable. Decades back, I was the "faculty advisor" to a large university's kung fu club (long story, since I wasn't faculty or an expert, just a fellow martial arts student a little more advanced at those martial arts). I wasn't a main club instructor. I was twice those kids' age, and already very overweight. I could not do tornado kicks (loosely, the kind of kick where you jump and spin 360 degrees while kicking - high drama move). My knees would not take that, or do it. Nonetheless, I taught more than one hearty youth how to do tornado kicks, having learned from my own instructors how to break it down and teach it.

    On another front, for certain things, being of a description that's relatable to your trainees can be powerful. When I was obese, I was very good at teaching learn-to-row class folks how to get into a boat, among the less flexible subset of those students. The classic method, done by the official coaches, is sort of a graceful one-legged full squat. I know several other ways, and can demo them. When I was obese, the challenged students believed they could do it, when they saw me do it. I was very surprised and super disappointed, the first summer after weight loss, to find that when I did the exact same things in the same way I always had, I could absolutely see that it had a different impact: The people who'd struggled with the one-legged squat, when I demoed the alternatives, no longer looked at me and thought "if she can do that, I can do that". I could see it on their faces. ☹️
  • Theoldguy1
    Theoldguy1 Posts: 2,454 Member
    I am sort of in your boat. I've been working out since HS (65 now). My career job of 36 years was eliminated in a corporate restructuring 4 years ago. I took a personal training certification prep class a the local JC. It was 15 week, 3 hours a week in person then your own study. passed the ACE Personal Trainer Certification first time. I was just taking the class for my own enrichment with the thought I might try personal training if I didn't find anything I wanted to do in my career field.

    I did get a job in my career field but may try personal training when I get tired of my current finance job. When I took the class, the instructor, who owned her own facility as well as the managers of a couple gyms I go to in town all asked me to work at their place. They said there is a lot demand for trainers by people over 50, but many tend to be a bit intimidated by some buff dude or babe and prefer someone more like them. Big plus, the over 50's are more likely to have the $ for personal training.

    As has been mentioned already for the population you're looking at probably no need to demonstrate muscle ups, etc. If you end up trying this you can make some contacts with other trainers that can steer you people looking for a more mature trainer and you can steer the ones looking for someone who can teach muscle ups, etc. to them.

    Best of luck.
  • corinasue1143
    corinasue1143 Posts: 7,467 Member
    I’m sure not the person to ask, but just thought I’d throw this in. I go to water aerobics a lot, and many of the moves we do the teacher can not do on land, so cannot show us. They may or may not be able to do them in the water, but don’t because we wouldn’t be able to see what they were doing underwater. Doesn’t take away from us getting good exercise.
  • Theoldguy1
    Theoldguy1 Posts: 2,454 Member
    Thanks for all the thoughtful responses!
    As usual, the forum has given me lots of good food for thought.
    My key takeaways are that I probably won’t learn as much as I expected from a certificate program, but rather by experience (like anything). But I will probably pursue a certification anyway as it is a barrier to entry. I found a program through the local community college- great idea that I wouldn’t have thought of thanks!
    As far as the movements. I personally do find it inspiring to see others perform at the highest level and to see the progression. In my example of muscle ups, I’m told that first I must get about 8 strict pull-ups( I’m at 5 on a good day), next kipping and chest to bar etc. Watching coaches demonstrate progression helped me, but it’s not necessary- if I can demo a pull-up maybe helpful but I think I can.
    My plan if I do this is to get work at a “globo” gym to get my feet wet and learn from other trainers. I’m assuming (if the gym is any good) leads that I can handle will be sent my way, while more advanced athletes would be sent to more experienced trainers (maybe not though but I’ve done sales for a long time - nobody ever turns down a lead!).
    Experience seems to be key, and I have none at all. As clients become more proficient or want to specialize in this or that I would pass them on to someone I know is good at that point. I already know good folks for general fitness, running and weight lifting, but hope to make contacts for bodybuilding, gymnastics etc.
    I understand well the comments about personal look and proficiency. I have a tendency to talk to newer folks at my gym as if I am the same guy who walked in there 3+ years and 110 pounds ago but I guess I’m not. Sometimes they look at me like I’m crazy!

    But I have a personal understanding of being unfit ( e.g how hard it is to get started) and how good the change to being more fit feels that most coaches and trainers likely can never have. This will be my point of difference. I’m almost ready to do it- just waiting to see about a job interview Tuesday!
    Thanks all!

    Best of luck.

    I would really try to get in a class as opposed to self study or a weekend workshop. To me the 15 weeks of class time for 3 hours was helpful to learn the information, but maybe more so for interaction.

    Also the instructor was more than happy to set up shadowing opportunities with experienced trainers for anyone that wanted to. She also took us to the JC gym several times for hands on instruction on how to coach an exercise.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,413 Member
    I’ve dabbled with the idea of taking yoga teacher training.

    It’s ridiculously expensive, far more profitable for many studios than actual classes and as a result, studios all over the country are literally churning out meh teachers. There’s little standardization or oversight of studios for basic yoga teaching certificates.

    I don’t know if I can explain this well.

    First of all, I appreciate how much courage it takes to get up in front of a group that includes practitioners of all levels, and present a class you’ve essentially choreographed yourself, based on a purpose you’re trying to present.

    My daughter is a gifted yoga instructor, and I know the heartfelt effort she puts into creating a class.

    A lot of the new teachers are unable to do what I would consider to be fairly basic moves an instructor should have “mastered” (as far as “mastery” goes in yoga). They clearly can’t, and that bothers me. My feeling is that my instructor should have skills I should aspire to, not that I may surpass and wait for them to catch up.

    If I could surpass my trainer in the gym, or my trainer couldn’t physically demonstrate technique or skills themselves, TBH I’d run.

    Studios (and presumably certificate programs like you considered) push potential trainers to invest in these pieces of paper, dangling the prospect of classes or training clientele. A lot of time that just doesn’t pan out.

    We’ve got a couple of very lovely young girls stuck working the front desk because, frankly, when they teach no one goes. They were lured with the prospect of classes, and I get it, if they can’t make the grade and continue attracting students, it’s like anything else in life, they’re not going to succeed. But I feel so bad for them because I know the investment they made in training.

    As far as training others, as @AnnPT77 says, it’s a double edged sword. Those who know where I’ve come from say I’m inspiring. That’s all well and good, but if I were inclined to get certified (no thanks! For discussion purposes only, lol) unless I bust out the fat-me photos, or wear them on a big ole button on my shirt, prospective clients don’t know that. And even if they do, it’s like the strangers you meet who will always think it was so “easy” for you.

    There’s a finite number of “us” who seem to be willing to hump it to get in the shape we are. The other 99.5% are going to piss and moan and do everything in their power to get you to make it easier. I know, because this was me ten years ago when I had my first, really aggressive and belligerent trainer. My second trainer let me run all over him. He just didn’t care, long as he got paid.

    OTOH, my current trainer is 73. She is inspiring and motivating, because of her age, but also because the light, the love for training, the enthusiasm to share that love that is inside of her. You can’t get a certificate for that.

    TLDR: I guess you need to sit down and honestly weigh what kind of trainer you think you could become, versus financial rewards. Yeah, you could be a good salesman and get clients, but I’m hearing that what you want is to share that zest. How will you project that into success for your clients ?
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,891 Member
    edited August 2021
    I’ve dabbled with the idea of taking yoga teacher training.

    It’s ridiculously expensive, far more profitable for many studios than actual classes and as a result, studios all over the country are literally churning out meh teachers. There’s little standardization or oversight of studios for basic yoga teaching certificates.

    ...First of all, I appreciate how much courage it takes to get up in front of a group that includes practitioners of all levels, and present a class you’ve essentially choreographed yourself, based on a purpose you’re trying to present. [snip]

    I was supposed to get yoga teacher training for free as a benefit when I was a long term volunteer at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. However, due to extensive damage from a fire in the facility I ended up leaving. I'd already signed up for the YTT, so bit the bullet and paid for it.

    I am so glad I did! The program was VERY well designed and I learned SO much. I have the 200 hour certification. They are currently virtual (which I can't picture) but are opening back up August 19. Some of this is based on it being virtual and some is not:

    https://kripalu.org/schools/yoga/200-hour-yoga-teacher-training

    I believe the reason I cannot find prices is because nothing is currently scheduled - once a program is listed, there will be a price.

    I think I only taught for 5 years. But the main benefit I sought from the program was deepening my yoga practice rather than a marketable skill, so that was fine. Where I lived when I took YTT was ideal for being a full time yoga teacher, but when I moved to south Florida I couldn't make that work.

    Plus, the whole standing in front of a group thing was really hard for me.

    Kripalu has been training yoga teachers for more than 45 years. I've watched other organizations try to put together a YTT and it was pathetic. I'm sure it goes without saying, but before you plunk down the money for training, make sure you know as much about the program as possible.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,891 Member
    I’ve been thinking about becoming a trainer. Late in life for me- 60 years old.

    Several reasons:
    - I want to learn more about fitness and a certification program seems like it would be enjoyable and enriching
    - I’ve been working out for about 3 1/2 years and I believe it changed my mindset from mostly negative to mostly positive. I want to share this - I’ve talked some folks into gym memberships and they are using it and super happy I did.
    - I think a lot of folks my age or overweight/obese are intimidated by some of the young buff folks who train even if they are great trainers and super patient and nice. They might not be as intimidated by me.
    - I think a lot of trainers out there are more interested in training folks who are already “fit.” I’m more interested in helping unfit people get to a better (not great) fitness. Then they would move on if they wanted to continue improving.

    But- big BUT- I’m in decent shape but not super fit or anything. The trainers in my gym can all demonstrate advanced movements from a stone cold start. E.g they can be hanging out and do a muscle up to demonstrate. I can’t do this. Some of the movements we do I can’t do at all or do very poorly- the example of a muscle up - I can’t even get my chest to the bar. I usually know how but just can’t execute. My current gym is NCFit partner- like CrossFit but not but I likely wouldn’t train others there.

    Should I do this? It will cost $ and $ is a little tight for me now.

    Two or three of the students in my yoga teacher training were mobility-impaired, but they graduated and I'm sure they did just fine as teachers.

    As others have said, you can tailor your students to your abilities.

    Maybe talk to some graduates of the program(s) you are considering? My YTT was fabulous, but I know they are not all created equally.