What would you value as more important to your successful business, Qualifications or experience? Does it really matter?

The fitness industry in the UK is currently awash with Personal Trainers, Coaches, nutritionists and dare I say experts! I highly doubt anyone is an expert in this industry. Knowledgeable, yes, absolutely. Expert, no, and certainly not any of the latest PT’s fresh off the production line from one of the hundreds of courses now available in the UK.

Here in, for me, lies the problem. The old adage of ‘all the gear, no idea’ springs to mind.

Personal Training is seen as a glamour job. You’re your own boss. You can be as busy as you like, depending on however many hours you wish to put in. You can earn some good money, great money even. But you shouldn’t be money focused. With the vast array of courses now available, all vying for your money, you can become a qualified trainer in a matter of weeks. Generally charging whatever the hell you like. This is a problem. The lack of quality coming off the conveyor belt is shocking, and in my eyes it will only continue to get worse. But then what can be done about it?

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t tarnish everyone with the same brush, some genuinely have a passion for fitness and genuinely want to help people. They ask the experienced trainers and coaches the right questions, and they question everything. I love that. It shows a willingness to learn, to open themselves up to different trains of thought. But any PT, trainer or coach, who has no idea how to train themselves should not be let loose on members of the public. I’ve even heard of one PT, who just so happens to proclaim himself to be an expert, I’m not entirely sure of what, but an expert none the less, of instructing a client on a Lat Pull-Down machine, professing it to be for your shoulders and nothing else. Even though the clue is in the name, and the imagery attached to the machine even shows you the muscles being worked. But apparently it definitely doesn’t work your back?! Shoulders, yes, back, no!

If, as a client you don’t question things like this, then you, yes you, are as much of a douchebag as your trainer. I’m very much in the camp of my clients generally tend to question everything, which is great. But if I honestly don’t know the answer to what there questioning, I’ll say so, and I’ll do some research and find the answer for them. What I won’t do, what so many trainers do, is baffle them with bullshit. Eventually, you will get found out. So, I guess, this all comes down to experience. Once this same PT has been in the industry for a few years and gained the experience, maybe his knowledge and methods will improve? Or maybe, just maybe, his ego and arrogance will mean he learns nothing and he will leave the industry after a few years.

The question at the beginning was what is more important. Qualifications or experience?

Some of you would argue qualifications, some would argue experience, may be some of you would even say both. Does it not depend on the context of the situation?

Let’s take it away from the fitness industry for a second. Let’s say you were going in hospital for major surgery. The hospital was kind enough to offer you the choice of two surgeons. One, who has just finished all his qualifications, has a crazy amount of letters after his name and proclaims him self to be an expert in his field. This is his first job and he has never performed this operation, under pressure. Zero experience but highly qualified. Your second choice, has over 10 years experience, is revered by his colleagues and has performed this same surgery every year for the past 10 years. Successful outcomes on every occasion. But he doesn’t quite have as many qualifications.

You’d go for the second choice right? It’s a no brainer.

But then we have the same age-old question of…

‘But you can’t gain the experience if no one gives you a chance in the first place’

This is true. But then with all the courses and qualifications now around, I honestly, genuinely believe, that they have lost there worth. For instance, does having a Masters really mean that much anymore? I don’t think it does.

I can’t remember the last fitness course I did. Does that mean I have not continued my education. I’m not even on REP’s. Not that that means a damn thing. REP’s is the most pointless organisation in the fitness industry. But yes, I have continued my education; I’ve travelled across the world to learn off the best and to pick their brains. I will continue to do so as well. But what I won’t do is waste my money on most of the crap that is around nowadays in this industry. I seek out the experienced coaches, the guys and girls with a proven track record. The people at the top of their game, generally seen as the best by their peers. Not the self appointed experts.

Also remember, that the best athletes don’t necessarily make the best coaches. The same as the best players tend to not make the best managers. Experience is everything for me. But there is a problem here as well. You can have all the experience in the world, but if you don’t have the ability to deliver your message to all walks of life, then you’re not the coach I would choose.

What do you look for?

Qualifications or experience?

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