4 Ways a Recovery Coach and a Personal Trainer Are Similar
Updated: Feb 4, 2019
A few weeks ago, I was unable to take my usual outside stroll with my Golden Retriever due to rainy weather. Instead, I decided to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill. About 20 minutes in, I glanced ahead at the sea of weight machines and noticed a middle-aged man working with his personal trainer.
I don’t know much about weight lifting, but I do know this man was using a machine that seemed to strengthen his quadriceps. Even more noticeable, however, was the expression on his face. Eyes crinkled, lips pursed, jaw clenched, neck strained…this man was clearly lifting more weight than he could handle.
On the third or fourth rep, his personal trainer motioned him to stop and release the weight. She moved the pin up a notch or two to lighten the load, and then signaled him to proceed. Not only was he able to safely perform several reps, but his face was at ease, relaxed and lighter as well. He still had to put forth effort to achieve the long-term results of strength training, but he maintained good form and experienced success.
The more I thought about the scenario that had unfolded before me, the more I recognized the similarities between a personal trainer and a recovery coach.
A recovery coach, like a personal trainer, walks alongside his or her client to provide support when needed.
A personal trainer reviews his or her client’s facial expressions, body language and form to determine if the individual needs heavier or lighter weight. Similarly, a recovery coach can detect when an individual might be headed for relapse by his or her behavior, willingness (or lack thereof), body language and outward appearance, to name a few.
When a person’s form is incorrect while lifting weights, a personal trainer makes slight adjustments to prevent injury. The same is true for a recovery coach: a few minor tweaks to a person’s recovery plan could mean the difference between white-knuckle recovery and being “happy, joyous and free.”
A personal trainer cannot do the work for his or her client. The individual must be willing to listen to suggestions and do the work necessary to achieve the desired outcome. One session will not produce bodybuilder results. Likewise, while a recovery coach can guide an individual on the road to recovery, success is contingent on the client’s actions over time. Quick fixes and magical cures do not exist.