Fitness Leadership: Which Side of the Fence Are You On?

Personal training

The term “fitness leader” is often designated for those who carve the path for all other professionals to follow. While this may be the top of the food chain for the fitness profession, we are all fitness leaders for our clients. Our status or rank in the fitness world is not as important as the status we establish in the eyes of our clients. We may be the only true voice they hear when it comes to fitness and wellness guidance. When other “voices” are present, they are often in the form of hyped-up articles, TV sound bites and coffee-break talk—most of which cannot answer complicated questions, nor provide personal advice. We are most likely the only option to offer reasoning, clarity and personal guidance. Which means, we all wear the LEADERSHIP badge. And it is our responsibility to wear it well.

There are many characteristics associated with leaders that few would debate, such as integrity, conviction, focus, intuitiveness, etc. Leaders are willing to take risks, but not unnecessarily, and never at the expense of others. They do what they believe is best, regardless of popular opinion. Leaders earn respect. They earn trust.

In fitness, top leaders rethink the way we train. They also help us retrain the way we think. Therefore, there is no reason not to lead our clients in the same way. Leadership is not about mimicking a specific technique or style of training that we learned from the “best.” It is about finding the best solutions we can provide that do not conflict with professional integrity and responsibility. It is about being prepared and doing the “right” things.

Wants vs. Needs

Perhaps the essence of fitness leadership is best captured in a quandary we all face at one time or another: Do we give our clients what they want? Or what they need? If we are lucky, we don’t have to choose one side of the proverbial “fence” over the other. This only happens when wants and needs are in sync, and/or when our clients choose to trust the solutions we provide for them based on our professional assessment. But considering the many outside influences that can create conflict and inadvertently sabotage our efforts to do the “right” things, we likely have to make decisions as to which side of the fence we will act on.

When asked to choose between wants and needs, many fitness professionals respond with “a little bit of both.” But this response is vague and noncommittal, and allows too much room for negotiation into areas that may be either useless or harmful.

Consider two, not-so-far-fetched scenarios:

Scenario 1) A

… Continue reading here.
Fitnovatives Blog — Courtesy “American Council On Exercise” (ACEfitness.org) <p>

Get started walking at home with this complete workout by Leslie Sansone. Warm up followed by workout then cool down recovery ending with stretching.
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