While away on a community hiking trip I was in an always peculiar situation that coaches and trainers run into here and there…being a role model outside of the gym! These are times when you are surrounded by clients or even other trainers.Your decisions regarding what your order off a menu to hygiene are inspected, trust me. Every coach or trainer handles this time differently. Some, once outside of the gym, never resemble the image of what you think a coach or trainer would be other than being “in shape”. I’ve also spent time with others who score well on the “health NUT” scale.
I try to be a balance between the two. I have found that clients or gym members may resent you if you are able to eat and drink whatever you want without any consequence or jiggle of fat. You also may influence them to make poor choices when they are with you thinking that they can get away with it too. On the other hand clients and members might become uncomfortable around you if they feel like you’re judging them for making less than stellar health decisions. If you’re acting like a health nut and slapping cookies out of peoples hands they probably won’t want to spend much time around you anymore.
My recommendation would be to be yourself but your clients should already be educated enough to make healthy decisions on their own. In fact, your job as a coach is to provide your client with the tools and knowledge to lead their own healthy lifestyle without your whip always cracking close behind. I also have no issue explaining why I eat certain things and why I avoid certain things even if I’m not following my typical healthy diet. Become an open book on your lifestyle while explaining that different things work for different people and they should focus on what works for them. I guess my “role model” objective is to show that I can live in-shape and healthy without becoming a slave to perfection.
You’re responsible for setting a good example without putting those around you in a position where they feel judged.
– Josh Gould ( Boston Personal Trainer )