Fitness coach vs personal trainer: psychology in the gym

While the Personal Trainer is recognized as a benchmark in the fitness industry for optimizing physical results, a new trend is starting to take hold, the Fitness coach or wellness coachtraining in a healthy lifestyle.

The fitness trainer helps and inspires you to be the one who sets your own goals and scope. generate powerful and creative conversations that invite reflection and help you find the way to achieve your goals and maintain your new healthy habits forever.

The sessions work on various topics such as food, exercise, sleep, stress, emotions, weight, tobacco …

You can find the Fitness Coach in your “gym”, but your work and your results go beyond the gym. The Fitness Coach fits perfectly into modern gyms where the new trend, thewell-being (Wellness), proliferates, and as a result, instead of finding rooms full of machines, it is now moving to centers where there is not only space to train muscles, but also relaxation activities such as spa, massages in fitness rooms, saunas), group lessons (yoga, pilates, tai chi …) as well as leisure and rest areas (cafes, hairdressers and aesthetics).

What is well-being?

To this day, there are still many interpretations regarding the definition of fitness and wellness. theAptitude we could consider as a equivalent of “fitness” or “fitness”. Fitness is based on two fundamental pillars: physical activity and healthy eating. It allows the person to improve cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, strength and muscular endurance, offers more agility and balance, speed, toning; all this accompanied by a correct and balanced diet. If necessary, consume the appropriate supplementation in each particular case, but never anabolic. Sometimes fitness is confused with strength training, but the latter focuses on achieving extreme muscle definition and volume in symmetry, sacrificing overall person well-being and functionality.

On the other hand, the concept or philosophy The well-being it is considered a more comprehensive term. Not only would this encompass fitness as an improvement in fitness, but it goes further and uses fitness as a means improve health, ensure longevity, quality of life and beauty. In other words, well-being as a synonym of physical, mental and emotional well-being. It’s not just about being fit, it’s about being interested seek a balance between body and mind.

Coaching in the gym

The staff of fitness rooms and gymnasiums has grown in recent years with professionals graduated in physical activity, sports or health sciences. At the end of art. In the 20th century, personal trainers relied on their knowledge of physical activity and biomechanics, believing that it was enough to get clients to buy into their programs and lead them to improve their lifestyle. Over time, many realized that instruction and technical support was not enough to cover the diversity of customer agendas and the need for personalized customer treatment. If customer engagement is to be maintained, other variables must be taken into account, especially psychological.

Research into the factors that affect exercise has led experts to explore the needs emotional and nutritional, And often revealed harmful lifestyles, addictive behaviors and personal and family challenges that interfere with the achievement of goals. As for these aspects, they had to be reoriented in order to be able to follow the training successfully. Even before the advent of psychology and coaching in fitness centers, personal trainers were already aware of the need for communication skills and intervention models in these areas.

The inclusion of the Fitness Coach in the fitness rooms gave access to appropriate methods for working with clients on these aspects. Two questions then arise concerning the Fitness Coach and the Personal Trainer: “Which method works best?” “Are the two methods equally effective for all clients?”.

In order to answer these two questions, it is necessary to understand how the two models work.

Physical trainer vs personal trainer

Customers who want to hire a fitness trainer instead of a personal trainer should know what they find two working methodologies and two different communication techniquess. He Fitness Coach prioritized relationship building and communication. It will focus on customer stories and their strategies, and provide motivational and supportive messages (for example, using NLP techniques). Although some coaching schools recommend giving advice, most coaches encourage the client to come up with only the answer by using powerful questions (Socratic questions) that challenge and confront their self-perceptions and limiting beliefs..

It is a process of personal research and discovery to help the client become more aware, identify and take responsibility for realistic goals, with an emphasis on strategies, actions and feedback.

the Personal trainer it may sound similar, but it is more focused on instructions and technical information. In addition, he uses a more hands-on approach guiding the client during exercises and training, with a managerial communication style, and create a relationship of dependence on the person you guide. Personal trainers are more concerned with defining their role as experts in physical training and biomechanical knowledge, but they do not encourage personal growth or ensure that the client learns the true concept of wellness.

Now, having learned that coaches and personal trainers rely on different working methodologies, it’s time to answer the second question I asked earlier: “Do the two methods work the same for everyone?” To answer this question, we need to understand the client, as each person is different, has different goals, unique past experiences, and needs that may vary from person to person. Therefore, to better understand the needs of the customer, it is necessary to understand the Self-efficacy theory of Albert Bandura (1977), This emphasizes the role that one plays in telling oneself during the process of acquiring the objectives that one seeks to achieve, and determines the behavior and the way to act in each situation.

Self-efficacy: the key to achieving long-term goals

the Self-efficacy is the judgment and beliefs that a person has about their abilities to successfully complete a given task and therefore direct the course of their action.. These expectations determine preference for certain activities, motivation, persistence in these tasks, and emotional responses to various situations. In addition, and this is very important, self-efficacy expectations are variable and specific to each context. For example, beliefs will be different when it comes to swimming or preparing to run marathons. Beliefs in self-efficacy are affected by own past successes, learning by proxy or observation of other people’s behavior, verbal persuasion or level of emotional activation.

Some clients may come to the gym with knowledge of nutrition and exercise, but are unable to follow a workout or diet plan. Others, on the other hand, will know absolutely nothing about the exercises they have to perform.

The first example refers to people who have mastered self-efficacy related to physical activity, but who may have cognitive and emotional difficulties when designing, implementing or maintaining behaviors related to learning. objectives. The second example refers to people who need instructions to be able to start exercising and therefore will need a management style to be able to get started on the right foot, achieve quick results and not lose weight. hurt.

Observing clients’ self-efficacy from different angles will allow us identify people who need to improve their physical capacity to achieve their goals, otherwise it will give us information about people who need to improve their cognitive and emotional skills to successfully manage the necessary transitions in a change process.


In short, people we can count on skills and competences which are a necessary condition, but not sufficient to achieve the objectives. One of the variables that influence the acquisition of goals is the perception of self-efficacy, i.e. the person’s expectation of success in a particular situation, depending on the resources they believe they have and the characteristics of the situation and the context.

A person can avoid situations in which they doubt their ability, as suggestive as it may be for a certain goal, by feeling that they do not have the resources to achieve it. Perception of self-efficacy is essential in the coaching process and is necessary to achieve goals long term. The Personal Trainer may have some very useful tools as well as the Fitness Coach. The ideal of being a good professional of this field is to have the necessary skills to be able to use both forms of work according to customer needs.

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