coaching vs training

Do You Train or Do You Coach?

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What is the difference between a “coach” and a “trainer” anyways?

In the fitness industry, those terms are often used interchangeably; however, if you ask 10 people to explain the difference, you would likely get 10 different answers. Perhaps the most obvious difference is in association: a coach is to sports as a trainer is to fitness. But among the rapidly growing trend of “the sport of fitness”, more trainers are coaching groups of everyday athletes to maximize their potential in pursuit of fitness goals.

But what’s in a name anyways? Why call your trainers “COACH”?

  • Respect. The term coach is more endearing, describes a person who can be an expert & is best suited to help you reach your potential because they’ve been there and done that.
  • Leadership. When you substitute the word “trainer” for “coach”, it seems this person changes from “telling you what to do” to “leading/coaching you on the path to success”. A coach will provide you the opportunity to learn and apply techniques that you can take with you for the rest of your life.
  • Perception. A trainer might be a great person that shows you the way and that you work with for a certain period of time. A coach is invested in the process – start to finish, and in some cases beyond. A coach is a mentor. Many people still remember and even still communicate with some of their favorite coaches – because they had such an impact on their life.

Small and large group training is becoming more of the norm in health, fitness, and recreational facilities. These groups start to take on the look and feel of a team in training as they motivate each other. Group training can enhance participant experience by providing consistency and an additional level of accountability. Whether you are participating in, leading, or supporting a training group of any size, look back on some of the large group training tips from Coach Bennie Wylie and his staff at The Performance Lab in Abilene, TX. Some of their training groups get up to almost 100 people at a time!

Bottom line – People want to be COACHED. Even trainers want to be coached! We all make so many action plans and decisions every day that the idea of going to the gym and having someone COACH YOU sounds very appealing! Your members want to be coached too – they want to be a part of a group. So get out there and COACH your members – instruct, guide, and lead them to the healthy lifestyle they are looking for.

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About Elisabeth Fouts

Elisabeth is the Education & Content Manager for Power Systems. She has served the fitness industry for over 15 years has a wide variety of experience from personal training and group fitness instruction to health club membership sales and fitness management. She joined Team Power Systems as Education Coordinator in 2015 and has since produced and co-authored educational content for live and virtual training sessions both internally for staff training and externally for industry educational organizations across the United States. Elisabeth holds a B.S. in Education & Exercise Science and is a certified fitness instructor with ACE and Les Mills.