I read a blog entry this weekend that discussed the need for more men to seek personal training assistance because of the lack of discipline that most people (specifically men) show while in the gym. The article stated that the problem is most men see the gym as their domain and they don’t want to appear to lack knowledge in this area or be seen to need help so they avoid it to their detriment. According to the author, men should see the personal trainer as akin to a team coach – likening the need for a trainer to Michael Jordan’s need for Coach Phil Jackson. If Michael Jordan needed a basketball coach (given his conditioning and skills) than surely the rest of us mere mortals could use a personal trainer to assist us to achieve our fitness goals.
I agree with the basic premise that more men should seek the guidance of a qualified fitness professional. Too often, you will see poor planning, poor effort and/or lack of focus result in spending a lot of time in the gym with little to show for their time. So, while I agree with the premise of the article’s primary point – that many people (including men) could use the assistance of a personal trainer to help them achieve their fitness goals – personalized fitness coaching is different than coordinating the efforts of a team. In the case of an elite athlete, fitness is assumed – the coach’s job is to “conduct the orchestra” not “teach an instrument”.
Michael Jordan did indeed need assistance to achieve the level of conditioning required to succeed but that wasn’t Phil Jackson’s job. Phil’s job was to coordinate the efforts of a team of people much like a team manager might need to do in a typical work-setting. A personal trainer helped Michael prepare his body for the basketball season and challenged him to achieve elite levels of fitness at right times. The trainer’s job is to plan, motivate, push and adapt (to how the client responds) to help the client achieve improved levels of fitness.
The same goes for the rest of us. Yes, Michael Jordan was a superstar athlete and superior conditioning was required to succeed at the level he did and, yes, most of us won’t need that level of elite training for our daily lives. However, we can all benefit from a more advanced level of fitness to achieve our professional and personal goals. Being fit enhances work performance, enhances personal relationships (through improved self-esteem and ability to enjoy an active lifestyle) and improves our ability to accomplish more in less time so that we can live a fuller, more complete life.
A quality fitness coach will not only help you increase your bench press strength but also look for postural deficiencies and strength imbalances (and help you correct them); work around limitations due to pain or injury; and be a resource for referrals to specialists who can help resolve problems beyond the scope of a personal trainer. So, if Michael Jordon (and other professional athletes) utilize a fitness coach to ensure they are in peak condition for their professions, shouldn’t we all? Remember, star athletes work on their conditioning before they are rich – it’s part of the process of becoming a rising star!
To your good health!