When it Comes to Fitness Trainers, Personality Matters

Fitness Trainers
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The other day I was watching the show “Shark Tank” on ABC. For the uninitiated, the show involves entrepreneurs pitching ideas to a panel of venture capitalists, in the hopes of receiving an offer of funding for their business. The format for each entrepreneur is the same – her/she comes in, makes their 2 or 3 minute product or service pitch, and then take questions from the panel. The panelists, being savvy investors, ask pointed questions to quickly analyze a new start up business, and do a quick valuation. The questions usually refer to the new venture’s sales, revenue, profit margin, potential market size, scalability, etc. Then there are the intangibles. As the discussion progresses, you can just see the “sharks” asking them asking themselves, “Is someone I can work with? Is he or she going to ultimately make this business a success?

Essential Facts About Weight Loss

The importance personality of the entrepenuer was highlighted on the most recent episode (episode 19), where Ryan “Cowboy” Ehmann, pitched his new fitness product. Ryan was selling a “scientifically proven” workout system that will help anyone “lose 12 inches with any 12 workouts”. He came on the show asking for $120,000 for 25% equity in his “life changing” company (valuing the whole company at almost half a million dollars). He then goes on to demo his “system”. Basically, the “system” is an exact copy of the “target” heart rate concept for cardiovascular training, which has been rehashed in dozens and dozens of fitness magazine article over the years. The only difference is this “system” came attached to the Cowboy, who was a different and interesting instructor. One investor (Daymond John) decided to meet the Cowboys asking price of $120K for 25%. The other investors, who had already passed on the offer, began to poke fun at Daymond for agreeing to invest in a “system” that was really nothing new. Daymond responded, “The guy is great!” referring to the Cowboy. He knew that the only way a fitness product can be successful, particularly one like this “system”, is through the cult of personality. Daymond realized that he was investing in the ability of the Cowboy to generate excitement for the product, not in the product itself. This is all to say that a trainer with the ability to motivate his or her clients is worth way more than any “secret” or “revolutionary” workout system.

I have some personal experience with this phenomenon. I’ve never been a fan of group exercise activities. That’s just my personality – I prefer to do my own research, and try different things in fitness and nutrition. I’m able to stick with a program without any outside help. The one exception for me was the P90X workout DVD series (side note – I have no personal or financial connection to this product). The creator and star of the series, Tony Horton, is a fitness trainer without peer. He’s in tremendous condition at 50+ years old, and brings a hard working attitude to the routines, while keeping things light and fun at the same time. I bought the DVD set a few years ago and followed the system for 90 days. I really enjoyed it, and I got better at several moves (including yoga and pull ups). Was it life changing? Well, no, because I was in good condition at the beginning. Did I lose “inches”? Again, no, because I didn’t have inches to lose. But, for someone new to exercise the fun atmosphere created by Tony and his class on the DVDs can mean the difference between finishing and quitting. Daymond clearly feels that Cowboy Ryan is in that same category as a fitness instructor, and decided to buy into the magic.

A couple of other quick thoughts:

When it comes to weight loss, there is no magic formula, or secret workout system. The First law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only transferred or stored. Fat is stored energy. When we consume less energy (food) than we use, we tap into stored energy (fat) to meet our physiologic needs. When we consume more energy than we use, we store the excess as fat. So to lose weight eat less, and move more. Some types of movement may be more efficient at burning energy that other forms, but the practical difference is marginal, almost to the point where it’s not worth considering, unless one is an elite athlete. It’s far better to do something you enjoy for exercise, as you are more likely to stick with it.
As in most endeavors, mentors are invaluable. If you are new to exercise, finding a good mentor/trainer can make or break your program. Online programs, DVD series, and real live trainers call all fill the bill. Try finding a mentor that works for you, and take your fitness program to the next level.

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