Overcoming The Meathead Trainer Stereotype

December 13, 2016

About the Author: Daniel Freedman

Want to be a highly paid, respected fitness professional? You need to look the part, whether you’re training in-person or online. Here’s a story that explains why.

Have you ever noticed how the best movies use misdirection? Just when you think you know how the movie will end, bam! You’re thrown for a loop.

A perfect example of this is Shutter Island with Leonardo DiCaprio. Shutter Island starts with Leo playing U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels investigating the disappearance of a patient who drowned her three children (dark, I know.) During his time at the facility, DiCaprio struggles with headaches and terrible memories of his wife, who was killed by an arsonist, Andrew Laeddis.

Throughout the movie, DiCaprio finds the staff confrontational. The slimy bastads’ seem to be hindering his investigation. But he’s allowed full access to the facility except for one area: Ward C.

Believing this is the key to his investigation, DiCaprio sneaks into Ward C. Once he’s inside, the head of the Staff, a Dr. Cawley, is patiently waiting.

Slowly, the picture emerges. Cawley explains that Daniels is actually Andrew Laeddis, a patient incarcerated for murdering his manic depressive wife after she drowned their children. It’s revealed that DiCaprio isn’t actually a U.S. Marshal. He’s a violent patient at the facility.

The entire basis of the movie was Cawley setting up Laeddis (DiCaprio) to break out of the manic-depressive state and come to terms with the fact that he had murdered his wife. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out for our pal DiCaprio. The movie implies that he remains in the facility and undergoes a lobotomy.

Huh? What the hell does this have to do with anything, much less “Overcoming The Meathead Trainer Stereotype?”

The Importance of Image

During the movie, we decide Leonardo DiCaprio is simply an honorable U.S. Marshal trying to get to the bottom of a mystery. With a prestigious law enforcement job, Hollywood good looks and sharp wit, he epitomizes what we’d imagine a U.S. Marshall being. Smart. Witty. Honorable. Morally incorruptible.

We base these images on our first impression of DiCaprio. We use the frame of his title and his attire to create a picture of who he is.
We do the same with every person we meet. Visual clues like a suit, a briefcase, and a fresh haircut make a man look like a serious, competent businessman.

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Your Image Impacts Your Mindset

Like it or not, how you look goes a long way in attracting your ideal clients.

Your clients have a clear picture of what they want to accomplish and what they expect from a coach.

It’s essential you be conscious of the visual cues you put out for your business.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that keynote speakers generally look the part.
As do high-paid executives and lawyers.

But what’s the deal?
Your look is more than a social standard or statement–it can play a large roll on how you think, your confidence, and how successful you are in the eyes of your clients.

According to this study, more formal wear increases both your ability think clearly, while other evidence points to your appearance playing a roll in financial success, authority, trustworthiness, intelligence, and suitability for hire or promotion.

Potential clients look for the total package when hiring a coach:
Authority, expertise, trust, intelligence, success, and confidence. So it’s time to leverage your “look” as a trainer to attract your ideal client.
It’s essential you be conscious of the visual cues you put out for your business. Are you triggering the right reactions from your prospective clients?

Ask yourself:

(1) What image outsiders already have of you and your business?
What impressions have they already formed despite knowing little of you? If you’re a trainer, they’re assuming you’re strong, in shape, and probably a meathead. They might also think this is a part-time gig and not a real job ( a real issue in the industry. )

(2) How does your appearance play into the image they have of you? Remember, you’re a professional. You’re elite, and you are the best trainer around. Package your look and your attire around creating a professional image that fits your niche.

Targeting And Looking The Part

You don’t need to break the bank to look the part. But, depending on the clients you work with, you’ll want to adapt your look.

Train athletes?
Then you need to present yourself as an authority figure and a coach. Your clothing and demeanor should match the role of a coach, not an athlete wearing his team’s gear.

Are you a physical therapist, nutritionist, or other licensed practitioner? Pardon me if I’m wrong, but I don’t want a nutrition consultation from someone in a baby gap t-shirt and ripped jeans. Nor do I want a physical therapy session from a PT wearing a cut-off shirt high school football t-shirt.

Work with high-end CEO’s, Lawyers, or celebrities?
Wear active clothing, but buy nice or buy twice. Don’t show up like a meathead in scrubs. Look the part and be presentable to your audience. Ryan and Eric Johnson, owners of Sons of Strength, are two super good lookin’ dudes who dress the part to align with their A-list clients. It meets them on an emotional level and justifies the high price point of their services.

You don’t need to walk the runway, but look sharp. Stand out from the crowd. Potential clients will see you doing great work and standing out professionally. That goes a long way to them wanting to work with you.


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