Our industry is incredibly broad and everyone seems to have some cool new technology or program. The tough thing in the industry that no one likes to talk about is a standard. The fitness industry is like the Wild West. Anyone can get a certification and start calling himself a personal trainer, coach, or fitness instructor.

Be the standard

People often ask, “What is the best certification for those wanting to pursue a career in the health and fitness industry?” Keyword here is career. Most respected experts in the industry would advise attaining a degree in exercise science, kinesiology or health and human performance. This is because your degree trumps any certification on the market. While many great coaches do not have degrees, times are changing and they are changing quickly.

If you want to stand out in an industry that has no rules, (yet) you should consider stepping-up your game academically. Ask yourself: What is it that makes me stand out? Am I continually learning? Do I attend conferences and more importantly, lectures? We must learn from others who know more than we do. When was the last time you put yourself in front of someone who figured it out without funding and cool new stuff to back them? There will always be a new trend but strong structural and foundational training does not change; it’s incredibly difficult to get that in a weekend course you take online. There is absolutely a place for certifications. Choose one that's fully accredited and does not make money from marketing products to you.

Prioritize your toolbox

With so many evolving changes in the industry it can be a challenge to remain grounded as a coach. We are constantly inundated with new technology, gear and the latest gym “toy,” and “rock star" programs to sell. While these additions to your training “toolbox” can be beneficial, they can also be a distraction. We must have a standard and some structure within our training environments. With that said, it is important to remain in-the-know on what is new and what you can utilize to create a better user experience with your clients.

Utilize new technology and gear to make your services standout but remember nothing is more powerful than movement and human connection. Most clients do not seek out a coach or trainer for the superficial reasons they have convinced themselves of. Most clients seek our help for the relationship and accountability. Clients may come to you wanting to get better, but it’s disguised in the form of 30 extra pounds. For these reasons alone we can see that no amount of technology or intricate programming will give that client what they truly need. We are responsible for giving them what we know they need: a solid foundational training protocol and some serious inspiration. You have an amazing opportunity as a coach/personal trainer to be the difference in someone's day.

At the end of the day, you must remember nothing can replace you. There is no technology, program, gear or miscellaneous certifications that will ever replace the impact you as a person can have on someone’s life. Perhaps it’s best said: “If you're going to put on the suit then you better know how to wear it.” Be the standard.