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by Casey McIlvaine

When many people that have not experienced the influence of a personal trainer think about what they have to offer, fitness may come to mind, but the best of the profession offer so much more. The best personal trainers understand that the obligation that they owe to their clients is one of facilitating fitness of mind, body, and soul. Although that may sound a little metaphysical, the reality is that a closer look shows the practical aspects of how a dedicated trainer can impact lives in profound ways.

Most people would agree that it is very difficult to achieve any modicum of happiness in life without some semblance of health. Losing weight, increasing physical endurance, energy or strength, or developing a stronger and more focused mind is really a means to an end for most people. These do not represent goals in and of themselves; rather, they are merely manifestations that make it possible to accomplish the things they want to do.

It is only through conversation and getting to know a person on a deeper level that a personal trainer can uncover the true goals of the individual. Once these true goals are revealed, it is possible for the best trainers to provide encouragement and incentives that have deep personal meaning to the individual.

When we talk about accountability, a personal trainer cannot force someone to be accountable. The only way is to have an understanding of who they are and what they really want. This allows the best personal trainers to provide just the right words of encouragement—sometimes gentle and sometimes more forceful—that empower the person to be accountable to themselves in achieving goals that have personal meaning.

The best personal trainers understand that bad habits must first be recognized and then brought to the attention of the individual. That may be as simple as showing them how bad form during performance of a given exercise can be corrected or as difficult as changing their eating habits.

The exceptional personal trainer knows that good nutrition is not about denial. In order to put that into practice for the individual they must learn how to take bad eating habits and substitute them with a system of rewards that provide indulgences at the right time and in the right way.

Work, family and life itself can make it difficult to maintain a positive attitude in general, let alone stay positive when it comes to fitness. The most effective personal trainers take an interest in the lives of their clients so that they can develop a true friendship. This allows them to see how mood changes may be at the heart of an unmotivated session or unmotivated week.

While it is not uncommon for clients to share the details with their trainer of what may be bothering them, it is not necessary for the observant personal trainer to pick up on an underlying problem and find ways to help the person find the proper motivation to change their attitude and get the most out of the session.

Many persona trainers are able to help the individual use exercise as well as relaxation techniques as a way to turn around attitudes in their daily lives beyond the sessions. These types of skilled trainers make themselves available to their clients by phone or email when they need a motivating word on a dark day that may or may not be related to fitness goals.

Quality personal trainers go beyond a concern for performance during the workout and the time that they spend with you. The best personal trainers provide equal parts life coach, friend, and conscience that help you change your life in the ways that you desire. By providing the mind, body and soul connection, the best personal trainers assist you in shaping your life into what you desire it to be.

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