Trainer or Coach?

training or coaching rowing

Value: Coaching vs. Training

The evolution of the health and fitness industry has yielded countless changes over the years. Personal training used to be reserved for the wealthy or for the future/current professional athlete. Nutrition knowledge and the globo-gym have become “Wellness Facilities,” and everybody and their mother is a “specialist.”

As I’ve watched the CA develop and my team grow, I’ve also watched everybody else, both locally and distant. They are my markers for the pros and cons of success, competition, mentorship, and even a business model. The one common thread I have pulled from looking at them all is this; not one of them is a trainer or a teacher.

These are people that have their own successful business. They run seminars and clinics, many on the national and international level. They produce books and videos, have online programs, offer certification opportunities. What floored me most is that they are the manifestation of the one thing that has a greater impact than both a teacher and a trainer (those teachers in my family, and those that train at the CA, still your pitchforks and hold off on stringing that noose).

They are a COACH: (Generally a damned good one too!)

So what is a coach? (“Teachers” you might want to think about changing your job title after you read this because those that I know, you fall into this job title much better.)

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:


(from the concept that the tutor conveys the student through examinations)

A:  a private tutor

B:  one who instructs or trains <an acting coach>; especially:  one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy <a football coach>

Related to COACH


Guide, counsel, lead, mentor, pilot, shepherd, show, tutor

When I discovered this and it had some time to settle into my brain, I realized why I was a shitty trainer. I had been going about this whole thing entirely incorrectly. I don’t want to have people learn something and then do it. I want them to change and embrace it. Make it their own and then take it out into the world to share. To become their own coach for their family, friends, and anybody they can touch.

Great coaches will get you to be better, act better, inspire others to be better. They will pick you up and get you over your tough spot, support you, kick you in the ass if they have to, listen, lead, follow, be your greatest advocate, your cheerleader, and on occasions even the devil. But the biggest thing they will be is personally invested in your success and doing whatever it takes to help you achieve it.

That takes investment. That investment generally has a cost, which is something this industry is great at NOT understanding. They undercut one another looking for greater revenue via mass consumption. Boiled down concepts, “general fitness” trainers, and site specific band-aids are their solution instead of a cure to an individual person’s problems.

So while you’re shopping for a training facility, think about this. What do you want? A trainer? Or a coach. Understand the difference and remember this: the greater the accountability you want, the greater the cost and the more immediate the impact will be.

P1030377Best seat in the house:

(Noah Chaskin crushing a lifetime 2k PR 6:37 winning his event setting the 2nd fastest time of the day.)