Whether it’s for high-level athletes or complete newbies to the fitness industry, training programs should always be designed with the athlete’s needs and goals in mind.
Tailored exercise programs which are adapted to the physiology and fitness goals of the athlete in training give them a higher chance of success.
With the added accompaniment of a one to one personal trainer, they can make steady and sustainable progress in whichever area they choose to work on.
Regardless of the end goal, whether it may be getting in shape, losing or gaining weight, or gaining muscle mass with resistance training and a specialised fitness nutrition plan, program design is centred around the body composition and ability of the client, which is found using a fitness assessment.
But how did personal training come about? What makes it so popular and what does the future hold for one to one fitness instructors?
This article should tell you all you need to know about personal training!
What is Personal Training?
To better understand what a personal trainer does as a fitness specialist and private sports coach, let’s have a look at the etymology of the word ‘coach’.
The English word, ‘coach’, comes from the Old French word ‘coche’, which was used to describe a horse-drawn carriage.
So how does this relate to fitness coaching?
If you think about the nature of horse-drawn carriages, they are pulled forward by the animals, just as a personal fitness trainer ‘pulls’ (or more commonly ‘pushes’) their client to take their training to the next level and achieve their objectives.
The word ‘coach’ was used in a sporting context for the first time in 1860, and has since spread beyond the English-speaking world to become widely used on an international scale!
So, a coach, according to Merriam-Webster, is:
- a private tutor
- one who instructs or trains
- one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy
It’s quite hard to give ‘coach’ a specific definition, simply because even the idea of ‘sports coaching’ is incredibly broad.
Sports coaching can take place in a one on one situation, in a group fitness session, at home, or at the gym!
Each type of coaching has its own advantages:
- One on One Coaching gives you the opportunity to have a personalised training program which is made with you in mind. So, if you want to concentrate on sports conditioning, toning those abs or you need to work on your cardio endurance for a big race, you just need to let your coach know!
- Group Training is a rewarding motivator. If you’re looking to lose some weight, improve your yoga flexibility or you want to work on your muscular strength, attending group fitness classes will give you the opportunity to meet like-minded people with similar goals. You’ll be able to make new friends and keep each other motivated!
- In-Home Coaching is perfect for busy mums or if your career doesn’t give you a lot of free time. Without the need to travel to and from the gym, you’ll save bags of time and have all the benefits of personal training at the gym!
- Personal Training Sessions at the Gym demands a bit more motivation since you have to get yourself dressed and out of the house – but it’s perfectly doable! Training at the gym, with or without an accredited fitness professional by your side, puts you in charge of your own fitness career. You’ll need to take more responsibility when it comes to sticking to your functional training plan as you will be responsible for turning up to the gym on time. However, it’s not as difficult as it seems. The hardest part really is leaving the house. Once you’ve arrived at the gym, you’ll know exactly what you need to do.
When it comes to making a decision on a health and fitness coaching, taking your needs, goals and financial situation into account, the choice is yours!
Health and Fitness Coaching: A Brief History
As we mentioned earlier, ‘coaching’ in the context of sports and exercise entered common use in the 1860’s, but how recent is personal training for amateur athletes?
Although the terms ‘fitness’ and ‘personal training’ are relatively new, this doesn’t mean that exercise itself is a new invention!
Let’s start from the beginning, with prehistoric man.
Did they follow a personal training program to increase their muscle mass?
In a way, yes, they did!
But obviously, this was not considered to be ‘training’ or ‘preparation’ for a competition. In fact, it was about becoming stronger and more skilled to increase their chances of survival.
So, even the earliest humans had to run, jump, climb and fight to be able to eat, drink and simply survive.
The earliest training programs appeared with the earliest known wars. The Persians and the Romans, for example, imposed drastic physical preparation on all young men in their forces in order to win battles and conquer new territories.
The Olympic Games were born in ancient times and were organised by the Greek cities in honour of Zeus, the god of sky and thunder.
In the Middle Ages, it was normal to not pay so much attention to your body, as dedicating yourself to the spirit was the preoccupation of the time. The Renaissance saw the publication of the first works entirely dedicated to sport and training.
It’s the Industrial Revolution that witnessed the beginnings of fitness training as we know it today. Of course, as the machines took over more and more of the manual tasks, workers moved into offices and sedentary lifestyles began to creep in. For this reason, it was necessary to find a different way of moving.
Gym equipment and training machines started to appear on the market and exercising at the gym became a leisure activity enjoyed by many.
The 20th century saw the true launch of the fitness industry, when chains of gyms and fitness clubs began appearing and more and more people began their journeys to a healthier life.
The Future of Personal Training
We’d like to imagine that fitness culture had got past 1980’s-style aerobic workout videos.
Today, with the phenomenon of the World Wide Web, social networking and fitness apps, it’s possible to do Pilates, dance and bodyweight workouts just about anywhere!
It’s impossible to precisely predict the future, but there are new developments which can give us a clue.
With the emergence of CrossFit, the return of toning muscles is more evident than ever.
The difference between this practice in earlier days and now is that today, women are more widely represented in sport, and this is encouraging more women to participate and get fit.
CrossFit can be practised as a couple or as a group, which will keep you motivated and help you sculpt your ideal body.
So, should we expect a comeback for bodybuilding? Maybe not, but what is certain is that muscle toning is gaining popularity among athletes of all ages and backgrounds.
However, large gyms and health clubs with lots of complex machines can be intimidating to a lot of athletes, and this is the reason why so many people prefer more modest fitness clubs.
So, larger gyms are predicted to lose profits, but will they disappear for good? We can’t say yet, but as long as they continue to listen to their clientele, they should be able to keep up with the changing industry and continue to flourish.
And what about personal trainers?
With workout culture thriving on social networks, it is becoming easier to create communities of like-minded people working towards their fitness goals.
One example of this is Strava, a workout-tracking app which is particularly useful for logging running, cycling and swimming.
On Strava, you can follow other users who cover the same courses as you, or even just follow your friends.
Every time you complete a workout, you can share it to your feed, and your followers give you ‘Kudos’, keeping you proud of your achievements and motivated to carry on.
Many run clubs across the country also have their own Facebook pages, where members can post about their training and upcoming sessions.
So, if you’re ready to join an online community and keep track of your peers’ progress as well as sharing your own, the tools are there!
How the Internet has Changed the World of Personal Sports Coaching
Thanks to the internet, anyone can have an all-access pass to all sorts of information. You could find information on anything from perfecting your training techniques to post-workout nutrition advice.
The web also offers you the opportunity to compare types and prices of personal trainers, and thanks to the high amount of competition, you’ll find that they’re more affordable than you may think!
Aside from helping you with real-life sports coaching, the internet can provide distance or digital coaching via webcam or using a workout app.
To become a personal trainer today and achieve your marketing targets, you have to know how to stand out - customers can choose from a plethora of online coaches, and you need to make sure they choose you!
As a coach with an online presence, you should nurture your e-reputation and be ultra-responsive online on:
- Online platforms such as Superprof
- Your own website
- Social networks
If you’re an aspiring athlete, you will be able to benefit from the amount of competition in the personal training market. This means you can save time and money as well as getting great service!
With the internet, it is easier than ever before to keep up-to-date with advancements and trends fitness nutrition and exercise science, so that you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your training.
And if that’s not enough, you can also follow workout videos for Zumba, Pilates and yoga for free!
Alternatively, look out for 'a personal trainer near me'.