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Personal Trainer Perceptions

Bigtex

Bigtex

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Aug 14, 2012
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1,320
This is a very interesting study and is in this month's Journal of Strength and Conditioning Ressearch.. While most personal trainers I see now are NON-muscular people who look like they have never walked into a gym, it seems the muscular trainer is perceived to be significantly more knowledgable and competant.

Boerner PR, Polasek KM, True L, Lind E, Hendrick JL. Is What You See What You Get? Perceptions of Personal Trainers' Competence, Knowledge, and Preferred Sex of Personal Trainer Relative to Physique. J Strength Cond Res. 2021 Jul 1;35(7):1949-1955. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003027. PMID: 30893281.

Abstract
The role that a personal trainer's (PT) physique plays in how potential clients perceive the PT is an understudied, yet potentially powerful, area of inquiry that has important professional implications. The purpose of this study was to investigate how a PT's physique could influence perceptions of his/her (a) PT competence, (b) level of personal training knowledge, and (c) preferred sex of the PT. Subjects (n = 191) were presented with pictures of male and female volunteers labeled as PTs. The pictures emphasized physique and consisted of varying body types (ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph) and muscularity (muscular vs. nonmuscular). Subjects examined pictures to answer surveys to rate trainers' competence, knowledge, and preferred sex of PT. Personal trainer physique significantly influenced individuals' perceptions of trainer characteristics. Both mesomorphic and ectomorphic body types were rated as more competent than an endomorphic body type. Muscular PTs were perceived to be significantly more knowledgeable and competent than their nonmuscular peers. Female PTs were perceived as more competent and knowledgeable than male PTs. Findings also suggested many more males preferred to work with a male PT while females lacked consensus. Collectively, PT physique seems to have a profound influence whether they are approached or avoided. These findings may have implications for how PTs market themselves to potential clients.
 
Tuffoldman

Tuffoldman

VIP Member
May 23, 2011
883
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Without any studies being done I can tell you based on direct knowledge of this it is 100% correct. Now the perception that somebody may be in better physical condition is a better personal trainer is incorrect but they are perceived to be that way.


I've been doing this for almost two decades. I see a lot of very fit uneducated personal trainers. New clients will come in and that's the first ones they look at and want to talk to because they're perception is if they're in shape they must know what they're doing. No accountable genetics or enhancing drugs etc. I also found the more boisterous or obnoxious the personal trainer is people look at them as being cool and want to train with them thinking they again have more knowledge on how to work out but not make it a workout. Most of those guys that I've dealt with have IQs of an ice cube.

I'm not very pretty, I'm not very good shape, and I'm old and I can close the deal on any client that walks in to talk about personal training because I have the knowledge and I don't feed him a bunch of BS of what they can accomplish overnight.
 
Bigtex

Bigtex

VIP Member
Aug 14, 2012
914
1,320
Without any studies being done I can tell you based on direct knowledge of this it is 100% correct. Now the perception that somebody may be in better physical condition is a better personal trainer is incorrect but they are perceived to be that way.


I've been doing this for almost two decades. I see a lot of very fit uneducated personal trainers. New clients will come in and that's the first ones they look at and want to talk to because they're perception is if they're in shape they must know what they're doing. No accountable genetics or enhancing drugs etc. I also found the more boisterous or obnoxious the personal trainer is people look at them as being cool and want to train with them thinking they again have more knowledge on how to work out but not make it a workout. Most of those guys that I've dealt with have IQs of an ice cube.

I'm not very pretty, I'm not very good shape, and I'm old and I can close the deal on any client that walks in to talk about personal training because I have the knowledge and I don't feed him a bunch of BS of what they can accomplish overnight.
Yea, this was a no brainer study to me too. It made me laugh because it has been years since i have seen a personal trainer in this area that looked like a personal trainer. We have a skinny kid at my gym with tats all over that is boisterous and obnoxious. I watch him looking at himself while he is training clients. He also wears ear phones and sings his rap music while he trains people. He seems to be very impessed with himself. Not sure why anyone hires him.....especially since he has "RU18" on his license plates.

The key I believe is being able to close the deal. Personal training does require some knowledge of good salesmanship. I have an ex-training partner that was a mediocre powerlifter. He doesn't look muscular and certainly isn't pretty and is older than I am. He has been working in one of areas elite personal training gyms for years. I know for a fact this guy has zero knowlege about fintess and nutrition. Not sure how he ever gets a client.

I know I am not a personal trainer, but I do have the opportunity to teach fitness and nutrition to about 90 people every semester. Most of them are in the class to get a required credit and are non-majors kinesiology. Many come into class hating exercise. Each semester I see measured changes in physiques, attitudes and eyes open about their personal nutrition. We do pre-and post testing and actually learn how to analyze their own diet. Most of my students change their minds for what ever reason and want to include fintess/ healthier food choces in their lives by the end of the class. Its all I can hope for.

Hey, I may be old but I know I still look the part. Like you, I don't feed them BS either. It takes time and dedication to make changes. No doubt you look much fitter than you are letting on. ;)
 
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