“Practise What you Preach!” As new coaches, we hear this all the time, you need to be an example to your clients, you need to talk the talk and walk the walk.
I agree with this whole-heartedly, but what exactly does it mean? Does it mean you need to be the walking epitome of fitness, jacked, tanned, 8%, squatting double bodyweight, deadlifting triple and smashing back your green smoothie as you walk into the gym?
Let’s be honest – It doesn’t hurt when attracting a client. They will think, damn, if they can do it, they can get me to do it. But does being a good athlete make you a good coach?
Professional Sports has a well-known history of great athletes failing as coaches. Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, Diego Maradona, all undisputed superstar athletes of their chosen sports, all where not successful coaches. Cognitive Scientist and President of Barnard College Sian Beilock states the reason behind this is “As you get better at what you do, your ability to communicate your understanding to help others learn that skill often gets worse and worse”.
Let’s put this into perspective as Personal Trainers and look at the type of person that the fitness industry usually attracts. We usually love training, love sports, love being in the gym, it is our happy place, so why not work there. We’ve been training and eating well so long, its just part of what we do. Let’s now look at the majority of people seeking out PT’s for help - the complete opposite (I’m talking about general population here). Our ability to communicate and connect with them on their level is difficult, because most of the time, we have not been in their shoes.
Now, let’s look at what we are really preaching to our clients. Sure, we are preaching to train hard and eat well and that is exactly what we do ourselves. However, deeper than that, we are preaching to them to trust their coach, to change their lifestyles, to be accountable to, and put their well-being completely into the hands of someone else.
This is something I think most Personal Trainers don’t fully understand. In my opinion, to be a good coach, you need to see the value in having a coach yourself. To let go of your ego and be willing to trust that another coach can get you to your goals better than yourself. Speaking from personal experience, if you are selecting the right coach, this will guarantee better results for you as an athlete. It is extremely difficult – if not impossible, to coach yourself objectively and without bias.
Am I saying let yourself go and stop training your ass off and eating well? OF COURSE NOT! We do this because we love it! Be your clients inspo! But also understand to be a better coach, to ask your clients to give you their all, you should be willing to practise what you preach and do that yourself!