People want to get fit easily by adopting one fat loss recipe after another. That’s a fact. What’s more convenient than turning to a diet that promises great results in pursuing your fitness goals? And the internet delivers. Big time! From free motivational sites & communities to paid online content and coaching. The major problem I see here is that, at most, this content provides sane advice for insane people. To correctly address the fat losing issue you have to understand the bad logic rooted inside that person’s mind. And for that, you need to have a cocktail of skills that make you worthy of influencing the people who really need help in achieving their fitness (and life’s) goals. Here are the most important traits for a good weight loss coach in my opinion:
1. Personal experience. This means you already proved to yourself and to the world that you managed to practice what you preach. Unlike in other fields where personal experience is not compulsory, I truly believe this is crucial in weight loss psychology. You just can’t grasp the struggle inside people’s minds unless you’ve also been in that position too. And this also gives you great credibility among your followers. Unfortunately, out of all the fitness trainers there are just a few who have personally been on a weight loss journey before.
2. Good knowledge on human anatomy, physics, chemistry and bio-mechanics, to name just a few. I’m not necessarily referring here to information gathered from formal education but rather to the knowledge you can get from researching the root cause of nutrition & fitness theories which are more or less widespread among us all. Of course the best research takes us back to specific books on these matters. I found this research to be very important when I tried to explain things that I may have learned by example, but could not motivate them or explain them step-by-step. The general tendency is to pay someone to tell you what to do but in the moment you quit having a coach you’ll be lost. I believe that you should pay someone to guide you and teach you about nutrition & fitness so that you’ll be able to continue by yourself, later on. Ultimately, the more you know, the more you can understand how things work and base your beliefs on science and logic rather than on “common sense”. This trait is not as hard to detect in an individual as you might think. You can easily test the trainer about his/her level of specific knowledge by asking him/her to scientifically explain you the advices that he/she gives you. An advanced form of the childish “but why?” question. If the person stumbles or motivate the lack of knowledge as being “common sense” you already might have detected an unfit person to be your weight loss coach.
3. Good knowledge of human psychology. As I previously said, a weight loss coach is actually a teacher that practices what he preaches. To be a good teacher you need psychology skills to help you deal with various types of characters. People who try to lose weight are not usually the flower power type. They have frustrations and issues that can’t be overcome just by putting them on the treadmill and making them sweat. In order to correctly help a client, a good weight loss coach must get as much information from the client as possible. The coach must gain the client’s confidence in order for him to extract all the information he needs. He must also motivate the client to follow the rules and agreements they have set together for the time out of the gym. So, if you find it hard to connect and discuss with the trainer other weight loss related stuff than how many reps and sets on which machine, it might be a sign you’re working with a fitness trainer instead.
4. Coaching beyond the gym. Weight loss is not centered around sports. This is my honest opinion about someone who wants to lose weight. I’m not saying the time spent in the gym doesn’t matter but rather that the time out of the gym matters more, at least in the first months. That’s why a workout schedule and a general eating schedule is not enough in terms of what you need from your trainer. That person needs to spend time with you beyond working out and talk to you about your general eating habits, healthy recipes and other important topics for losing weight. Unless he/ she does this, you’ll have a hard time figuring out what’s the corrrect approach to weight loss outside trining time.
5. Charisma. Maybe an underrated trait for this activity, I think that a charismatic coach can lead and pursue his clients way better than just a muscular guy. Everybody wants to be coached by someone who can look up to, someone to remember in the time out and to inspire them in bad times. This trait completes a weight loss coach’s skills.
I put this list together because I’ve been in both categories and I find it’s hard as hell to relate to clients without possessing the above skills, same as it is to find a good coach for a person who wants to get fit for good.