I'm a PT and movement coach and there are many moulds that I fit into to do my job. What mould exactly depends on my client, and what they want, as well as what they need.
Our industry was formed by a genuine desire to help people achieve lifestyle changes and goals. These days though, anyone with a Facebook account would be excused for thinking that it has become more about the trainers rather than the clients.
ProfessionalismAs a professional, it falls to me to ensure my client’s safety in the studio, to push when a push is required, but also to ease off on the gas when my client’s Daily Readiness isn’t so crash hot, and of course, to make sure their movements are safe and effective.
And so, it concerns me that the quest for “Likes” on social media platforms can appear to compromise the professional integrity of some movement coaches.
Videos pop up from time to time on social media and, classically, what these clips are showing us is a compromise on quality. And whilst we don’t know the context of the clips concerned, it appears here’s another professional in the industry I love, seemingly putting their client at risk in return for a cool video. That trade of quality for “Likes” might seem like a good idea at the time but at the end of the day it’s going to hurt your professional integrity and that of our industry as a whole.
“Likes” Versus TrustWhat’s a “Like” worth anyway? Does it stack up against the relationship you have with your client? Is it worth not giving your client your full care and attention? Maybe it gets your business a little more exposure on social media, but if you’re not focusing on your client in their session, might they go somewhere else? We know word of mouth is the best way of gaining new clientele in this industry; when someone is happy, they’ll happily spread the word.
Our clients need to trust us and they need to know that we are there for them and not the other way around. This trust needs to continue for our relationship to be a productive one. What happens to that trust if they get hurt during a session? Society needs to know that we really are here to help. We want to help; otherwise we’re not going to succeed long-term.
PT is about much more than some weight lost, or some muscle gained... or indeed, a PB lift.
It’s about the relationships you develop and how, in these relationships, you can positively influence and empower your clients to better themselves and their quality of life.
So, what can we do?
Well, for starters, if your client’s going for a PB or a heavy lift, put down your phone and make sure you're there to spot them; in fact, if you're providing a quality service, you shouldn’t have your phone during a session AT ALL. If you need to film something at least set your phone up somewhere it can video you and your client making great things happen together. They may have done the lift 1000 times before, but that doesn’t mean the next one won’t be the one where they're a little distracted and need you to have their back.
Daily Readiness ObservationLearn to alter programs based on your client’s daily conditions. PTA Global’s Daily Readiness Observation tool (DRO) is easy and perfect for this. Your client will tell you what you need to know and you tweak from there.
Educate your client. Not just on ideal technique but on why today may not be the day for massive lifts if you haven't slept well or are barely hydrated.
On a side note, perfect text book form is a myth. We’re all simply too different to fit into the exact same mould to have something that can be called “perfect form” (possibly a discussion for another time). However, what we can have is something that is ideal and safe for each of our clients.
As an industry, I feel we are much, much better than the amount of “Likes” we can get on our social media posts. If you get “Likes” because of being true to your clients’ needs and by meeting them where they need to be met, then great! You should celebrate your clients’ achievements, just make sure those achievements are steering them toward a happier, healthier future.