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  • Writer's pictureJake Lawrence

Coach or Trainer? What's the difference?


As I transition out of being  a personal trainer, exclusively, I’m presented with the question of, “who needs a trainer, who needs a coach, and what is the difference?”

To answer this question I look back and reflect on the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with at my last fitness studio. Most, came to me with the need of accountability, motivation, and a physical place and presence to meet a few times each week. They desired change, but could not facilitate it on their own. My responsibility was to cultivate that environment, providing solutions, and hopefully in the journey, foster a strong passion for health and fitness. Here, I am a trainer first, coach second.

So, if you fit the bill of someone I just described in the previous paragraph, you are not alone. A gym, studio, trainer, and consistent weekly appointments will be necessary for you. To be successful, this is where you have to start.

If you’ve already shown that commitment, have been working towards clear goals, have experience in training and competing in a sport or lifestyle activity, or understand programming and functional training exercises, a coach will be the best fit for you.

On the other hand we have the roll of “coach”. When I think of a coach I think of someone with a high level of knowledge and experience both as a doer and a motivator of others. They are also a mentor, trainer, psychologist and leader. This person customizes workouts and prescribes specific programs for the client’s goals, wants, and needs, whether that is sport specific (marathon, triathlon, ultramarathon, team sport, etc.) or lifestyle based (general health, corrective exercise, wellness, activities of daily living (ADL)).

As a coach (mentor and trainer), my roll is to give you the “right goods”. The correct formula for you to achieve your goal, and the proper guidance to ensure you progress consistently and rapidly. You do the work, you own the responsibility of your health, learning about your body, confronting weaknesses, and completing what you start. You get yourself moving and prioritize your health. We work together to break barriers, mental hurdles, psychological hangups, physical imbalances.

When you hire myself, or another fitness professional, what you are paying for is that individuals knowledge. If you want the lowest price, you’ll find someone with a lower quality product. Watered down information. If you want cutting edge, top of the industry knowledge, you’ll have to pay for it. This is worth much more than the $50-$70 per hour you pay to have someone observe your workout.

Before you jump, either way, think about your health. Think about your wants and desires. Think about your image and your needs. Really think about what it takes to mold and create that desired “you”. It is not 3 hours per week, or 4 hours per week. It’s a lifestyle, period. It’s how you think, how your express yourself, who you choose to socialize with or call as friends. It’s how stingy you are with your time and energy. How open you are to honest assessments, and how willing you are to take action in the here and now.

My goal is to get you on the right path immediately. From our first interaction/meeting we begin breaking down barriers and forming our plan of action.

Relentless, Forward, Progress…

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