Monday, March 26, 2012

The Personal Trainer and Teacher Connection

Wendy, an amazing teacher, and I just trained with Dan, our exercise physiologist...well, he trained us.  I have noticed that Wendy and I are usually nursing various injuries which alter the exercises Dan has us complete (disclaimer: not due to training).  I have also noticed that he always has her do more “pushups” than me, regardless of the variation as they’re never typical push ups.  (I do get a little jealous.)  Nonetheless, I consistently lift more weight with my quadriceps than her. Over the past seven years, I have had several different workout partners while training with Dan; it just occurred to me today, that to be an effective personal trainer, one must treat each client differently.  Dan has to juggle all of our “issues” and I’m quite impressed with his differentiated method. I see that his clients have various:

  • goals
  • injuries
  • strength abilities
  • strength deficiencies
  • interests (exercises they love and/or detest)
  • workout partner preferences
    • many have favorite and least favorite workout partners
    • others want to workout with many partners (they think they won’t have to work as “hard," which they soon realize that is not the case)
    • some prefer to workout alone (they want a more "strenuous" workout and/or want a private therapy session-j/k)

I believe that the most effective exercise physiologists execute exercise plans that are unique, applicable and motivating for each client; while the most effective teachers create learning plans that are also unique, applicable and motivating for each student.  In addition, the most effective trainers believe in their clients' success, as the most effective teachers believe in their students' success. I’m wondering why it took me seven years to discover this connection as I see it so clearly now.  


  1. The true definition of differentiation. Something we are always striving for...great connection!

  2. Rachel,

    We need to take that light bulb moment back to the classroom as well. Funny how you can see and do the same thing over and over but still not 'get it'.

    Individualized exercise routine = Individualized learning plan