The glamour of the contemporary fitness industry has always put a premium on celebrity clients. Being from Los Angeles, it seems like being a self-proclaimed “trainer” is actually rarer than being a self-proclaimed “celebrity trainer.” Of course, the reason is logical. After all, marketing is a game of association. Yet there is a strong argument that this logic fails when examined closer.
The problem with training celebrity athletes and actors alike is rooted in the fact that they already perform the way they perform and they look the way they look. I’m not sure what shortcomings a trainer would need to make quarterback Tom Brady a loser on the football field or actress/model Penelope Cruz hard on the eyes.
The mark of an excellent trainer, then, is most accurately found in the volume and frequency of his or her ability to turn beginners into intermediates. Show me a trainer who helps dozens of obese people get in shape and I’ll pay attention. When a coach can get a non-athlete to move like an athlete, I start to take notice.
This celebrity trainer concept has carried over to the CrossFit community, too. Mind you, this movement is also a sport and the best of the best need coaches. Still, the strong desire coaches have to attract and represent Regional and Games athletes can be a distraction to the real craft of coaching. Your favorite Games athlete’s fitness doesn’t hang in the balance based on his or her fitness coach in the way we often assume. Brady is heading to the Super Bowl, Cruz is appearing on the big screen and the CrossFit athlete is going beyond the Open with or without you.
The make-or-break characteristic of a quality coach is his or her ability to move the needle that wouldn’t otherwise be moved. Can you coach beginners? Can you illicit change when stagnation is the norm?
These are the marks of the world’s best coaches.