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Did you Hire a Professional or a Workout Buddy?

Hiring a personal trainer can be one of the greatest investments you can make when it comes to your health & wellness. The misconception that personal trainers only make you get sweaty and sore is an outdated perception of the profession that they’re working in.

The direction of health and wellness professionals is gravitating towards a model that helps clients overcome old injuries and improve the quality of their life. That being said, how can you separate a professional from a workout buddy?

Here are five things to look for when hiring a professional and not a workout buddy.

Professionals Don’t Shame You

I remember a couple of years ago one of our past members went to another location for nutrition coaching because we didn’t offer it at the time. After only two weeks of working with this “nutrition coach”, she decided not to go back. The reason for that was because this person had humiliated and shamed her for what she was eating.

That’s ABSOULTELY UNPROFESSIONAL and unethical for someone to do to a client when they’re already struggling with their nutrition. Real professionals understand the complexity and struggle of learning how to have a more well-balanced diet. Workout buddies don’t, they focus on guilting you for not trying harder or not being committed to your goal.

Workout buddies use shame and guilt to try and motivate you to do the things you want to do. Working with a professional means that they take the time to acknowledge that you’re learning new skills and that there will be obstacles along the way. They’re patient and caring for your feelings and want to see you succeed.

Professionals Are Educated

Professionals have education in their field, not just a hot body they got from working out in sports. Not all professionals have college degrees, but they do have an extensive list of education in different practices that have prepared them to do a good job. Education is such a critical part of hiring a professional because it shows that they have the skills and knowledge with how the body works.

Workout buddies don’t understand the anatomy, psychology, and physiology of how the body works. They simply look at Instagram models and see what they do and then try it out on their clients. They focus on getting you sore and sweaty because that’s what they think you need, when in reality they should be getting you closer to your goals.

What are the qualifications or education you should look for in a professional?

- College degree of any sorts in exercise science

- Certifications from: NSCA/CSCS/ASCM/NASM/ACE

- Other certifications: RKC/CFSC/DVRT/CES/USAW/FRC/PPSC/FMS

Professionals Aren’t Cheerleaders

A professional doesn’t say the following:


These are things work out buddies say because they want to motivate you with words of encouragement. There’s nothing wrong with words of encouragement, but when they’re consistently screaming it at you while your trying to focus, is really distracting and unnecessary.

At Restored Strength we work with adults over 40, I don’t know any adult who likes to be yelled at or told to go into pain while trying to improve their life. Constantly screaming and show boasting is not what we do.

Professionals acknowledge the good work you’re doing in a modest way that doesn’t draw attention to you. They encourage you to try new challenging things at the level of fitness you’re at. They help you with managing your fatigue and they understand they getting sweaty and sore is the poorest measure of success.

Professionals Meet You Where You’re At

If you’re new to working out and the person you hired has you pushing a 250-pound sled and doing barbell squats, you have a very unskilled work out buddy. Let’s use a simple analogy to understand why this is some pretty dumb shit to do with a person new to fitness.

Would you ask your five-year-old to do a calculus problem?

The right answer is “probably not” because they’re still learning how to count and understand what numbers are. Even though the people we work with aren’t five, we still use this simple analogy when it comes to fitness.

Professionals meet you where you’re at, not where the professional is. What that means is that the professional has had many years of education and experience and know that their clients won’t necessarily have the same experience as them, so they prescribe the right exercises that are tailored to your level.

Workout buddies will do crazy dumb shit for novelty to entertain their clients, when in reality they’re causing them more harm than good. The reason workout buddies do this is because they don’t have the education to regress and progress their clients.

Professionals Don’t Push Agendas on Clients

At Restored Strength we absolutely value our members having their own autonomy.

Autonomy- freedom from external control or influence.

It’s extremely unprofessional for your personal trainer to have you participate in their religious/political/financial/personal beliefs. These are things that should be left at home or to be discussed outside of the gym.

Other things that workout buddies do is make their clients follow a specific agenda for nutrition and fitness. It’s not bad to have guidelines and recommendations for how you do things, but it’s when you label it as the end all be all you begin to lose your ability to critically think.

Often times I see workout buddies say that keto diet (or any other diet) is the only way and if you aren’t doing it, you’re wrong. Other things that they will do is make their clients workout crazy ways that aren’t pertaining to their specific goals.

Professionals use principles such as individuality to help their clients achieve their goals. The principle of individuality states: “Every individual is unique and will respond differently to the same training stimulus”. Basically, everyone is different and should be treated differently, one thing won’t work for everyone and the professional understands that.

When you’re ready to take the next step for your health and wellness goals be sure to hire a professional and not a workout buddy. Here are a few things to remember how to spot the difference.

Workout Buddies

Use shame tactics to make you change and make you feel shitty about where you’re at.

Don’t have education, only use their experience from training themselves to help their clients.

They’re cheerleaders and use boot camp tactics.

They make you focus on being sweaty and sore by doing the workouts they do.

Push inappropriate agendas on their clients.

Fitness Professionals

Don’t shame or guilt you, but help you overcome obstacles in productive ways.

Value and continue to improve their education in order to enhance their skills.

They’re not your cheerleader, they’re coaches.

They meet you where you’re at and work with you at whatever level you’re at.

They don’t force you to believe in what they do, instead they help you find things that work for you.

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