Trainer or Coach?

Do you know the difference between a ‘Trainer’ and a ‘Coach’? Used quite often thoughtout the fitness world without regard as to what each title actually entails, we give you some insights into what each mean and why you should be concerned with the difference if you are truly serious about your body!

So its nearly 2016 and you are probably scouting through Google looking for your next training inspiration to help you hit your New Year’s resolution. With thousands of qualified Personal Trainers (PT’s), ‘body fat specialists’, TRX instructors, and Viber Master Trainers, who do you decide to hire and what should you look for? Their qualifications? Their image? Their working environment?

Well firstly it is essential to train with someone who challenges you, motivates you, and inspires you to be better. When the bank transfer goes through and the 5am alarm goes off, you need to know you have hired someone who is going to make it worth your while spending your money and getting out of bed while it is still effectively night time! If this means your ideal PT or gym staff must have the big arms you are looking for, or your Yoga instructor needs to be able to hold Pungu Mayurasana like you dream of, then you have found your motivator. But let me ask you this: is it more important that they can perform, or that you can?

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If we all judge a PT’s credibility by their ability to be great athletes themselves, or a Crossfit ‘coach’s’ ability to prescribe you the right exercises by what they can ‘Clean & Jerk’, then we are surely taking an eye off our individual goals and focusing more on theirs. Of course you want to see that they can manage their physical appearance and their own athletic endeavours; this is a similar principle as investing your money with a broker who drives a Porsche instead of a Fiesta, they clearly know what to do with their money so surely they will know what to do with yours. However if you don’t want a Porsche you will want to know what they can do with your money. And if your goal isn’t to ‘Snatch’ against the clock, and you can’t even ‘Overhead Squat’ safely yet, you want to know that your trainer understands your abilities and what you need before giving you a specific exercise to perform.

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So instead of just searching for the best looking PT, or the one who shouts the loudest, what about utilising a Coach who has a credible history of achieving targets, assessing individuals, and being accountable to their abilities to change lives and not just perform themselves? The teacher with the most ‘A Levels’ isn’t necessarily the best educator of your child, even though it maybe a good place to start!

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At the leading strength and conditioning gym in Hong Kong, Pinnacle Performance, we believe the difference between good PT’s and the very best ‘Coaches’ lies in their ability to improve an individual’s performance and facilitate development beyond solely leading by example. Ultimately everyone is different and just because we train like each other, we aren’t going to look like each other. The true quality of a coach is to identify YOUR goals, YOUR existing strengths and weaknesses, and YOUR training path, whilst supporting that, not just demonstrating theirs. The best athletes in the world don’t train with people who are better than them, they train with those that are suitable for them. How does Usain get quicker? By sprinting alongside someone faster?

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So if you want to hire someone who is suitable for your goals, and has experience supporting similar demographics, what should you look for? Our advice is to look beyond the trainer advertised qualifications that take HK$500 and an afternoon to attain, and instead chat to your potential Coach about their experience and previous results with your others. How do the best companies in the world recruit? They look at their competitors and peers, and headhunt. They interview and look beyond a name and a few letters and ask for examples of results and history. They then set a timeframe, plan a target, and continually drive towards it never taking the eye off their direction. Your health is not something that should be taken without careful research and decision making – a lot of your hard earned cash could quite literally be wasted and you may easily end up in a worst position, health-wise, than before.

So before you just approach the trainer curling the most weight, or the trainer posting about his Paleo diet on Instagram, ask yourself if that is YOUR goal, and if they have the experience to reach YOUR new fitness levels, not just show you more about how blessed they are. Good trainers train, excellent Coaches coach.

What do YOU need?

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