Part 2: Do fitness pros need coaching too? |

Part 1 of this series looked at personal trainers and coaches who are in the same boat as personal trainers or fitness instructors: they are all trying to help others get healthier, but how do you know if they are doing a good job?

In Part 1 of this post, I discussed the importance of coaching in  being successful in fitness. Coaches are vital to making a personal fitness program successful, because they can provide individualized feedback to an athlete and help them reach their full fitness potential. I would not consider myself a successful fitness professional until I had links to three to five successful personal fitness programs I had worked with.

As promised, here’s the second installment of my series on fitness pros and beginners. Before diving in too deep, take a look at what I do. I’m a certified personal trainer, which means I’ve had years of training in my body and my head. I’ve thought about my training philosophy, my methods and my plans for each client. And I’ve gone through my coaching philosophy, methods and plans. But have I gone through them with my clients? Have I really talked to them about what their goals are, about their body and about their feelings?

Even the most intelligent and skilled trainers and fitness professionals may fall out of shape from time to time. We’ll go through why this occurs and how to recover your health and rebuild your greatest physique in this post.

If you work in the fitness business as a trainer or coach, you already know what it takes to become and remain in shape. That is, after all, what you do for a living.

However, many trainers, including ourselves, have been guilty of slacking on their own exercises and diet.

They’ve ignored themselves while focusing so much on their customers and their company.

They recognize that they aren’t leading the “fitness lifestyle” that others believe they are. And what about the physique they worked so hard to achieve? It still seems to be above average. It isn’t exactly where it used to be, however.

It occurs more often than you would imagine. It’s perfectly natural for caring, skilled trainers to fall out of shape now and again. Let’s take a look at why.

Enter Ron Dykstra, a fitness expert.

Ron Dykstra

Ron Dykstra is my name. I work in the television business as well as the fitness industry.

I’ve had the privilege of working with professional and amateur fighters, roller derby teams, and a wide range of ordinary individuals who just want to be fit and healthy.

Strength training has always piqued my attention, and I’ve always wanted to be strong. Extremely powerful. I care so much about becoming strong that I devote almost all of my efforts to it.

And being powerful meant becoming large to me. I reasoned that gaining weight would increase my leverage, so I ate a lot of mediocre meals to do so.

Yes, I grew to be very large. However, it wasn’t the proper sort of large.

You may not have guessed that I even trained if you didn’t know who I was. This felt inherently incorrect to me as a nascent strength coach and trainer.

Worse, despite working hard on good strength training programs and eating far beyond my comfort zone on a regular basis, I wasn’t becoming especially strong.

In the mirror, I wasn’t in the shape I wanted to see.

This irritates me as a trainer. It would have been OK if I had been insanely powerful… but I wasn’t. What’s going on?

The first time you “bulk up,” “experts” don’t typically tell you, is likely to be the most successful, and attempting to go back to this technique may backfire.

However, it is one of the most attractive “nutrition plans” accessible to young guys all over the globe – plenty of meat and potatoes, eggs and oatmeal, protein powder and ice cream – yes! Get down, inner fat child.

The scale weight continued increasing, so I knew I was growing larger. The weight on the barbell, on the other hand, did not.

I was receiving lower and lower returns.

I added 50 pounds of body weight in order to increase my bench press by 50 pounds, giving me a 280-pound press at a body weight of 250 pounds. To bench 300 pounds, how heavy would I have to be? Would I have to gain another 20 pounds?

The concept was intimidating. I was already in a terrible mood. A flight of steps exhausted me at 250 pounds.

My ankles hurt a lot while I was running and leaping. My arms and fingers were frequently tingling with “pins and needles” feelings when I awakened. What would it be like if I gained even more weight?

Years of bulking had not significantly improved my squat, deadlift, or Olympic lifts, I knew in my heart (and in my training record).

“And so I dress my naked villainy with ancient strange ends borrowed from sacred literature, and seem a saint while I play the devil most of the time.” —William Shakespeare, Act 1 Scene 3 of Richard III 

Like this phrase, I cloaked my need for comfort foods in knowledge gleaned from the internet and publications. My bones are covered with muscle, fat, and bloat.

And if I wanted more proof, I simply had to cite someone larger and stronger than me, who would say things like “Just fuggin’ eat.”

This gave me free reign to consume cookies, cake, and orange soda, which tasted great but made me feel a little shady as a fitness professional.

There was just one flaw in this strategy…

Bulking’s supposed magic never worked for me.

I never gained enough muscle mass to achieve remarkable strength and muscularity, as I had hoped. I imagined gaining a ridiculous amount of weight and then “hardening up” at that weight.

I’m not sure why I believed it was feasible, since it’s never happened to me in real life.

Rather, I grew older. And he’s becoming obese. My joints took a beating.

And I was sick of convincing myself that cookies were acceptable inside the “anabolic-window-post-workout,” and that they were a certain way to gain muscle.

I had to make an adjustment.

I admire bravery. But, like attempting to spin a wheel with just one spoke, seeking strength alone had brought me to a stop. My wheel needs spokes added to it. And I required outside assistance to complete it.

(Note: this was a PN Coaching lesson that was very beneficial to me once I understood it!)

I’d been aware of it for a long time. I’d seen Dr. John Berardi’s metamorphosis of powerlifter Dave Tate, previously of Westside Barbell renown (and the source of much strength and bulking information).

On the PN site, I noticed some really amazing makeovers. My fiancée, who is also an amateur boxer and a trainer, became interested in PN and started working with Coach Krista Scott-Dixon.

Everything seemed to lead to PN.

This was the outside assistance I needed.

Coaching prepared me not just physically but also mentally for bodily change over the course of a year.

That sounds like they used a can opener to open up my brain and extract the chubby child I used to be. That isn’t the case at all.

Instead, they presented me with a series of tasks, some of which were just partially physical. And he knew he could rely on my complete participation on a daily basis, whether it was a dietary decision, an exercise, or a written task.

My coaches then followed up with me to make sure everything was clear and to hold me responsible for my decisions.

I started to establish a rational and healthy connection with food and eating, and to comprehend its chemical impact on my body and mind, rather than the typical jumble of actual and pseudo-science about nutrition that used to dwell in my brain.

For me, certain elements of PN Coaching came naturally. Being urged to perform regular exercise was no issue for a man who enjoys it.

However, many of the lessons required me to stretch myself in new ways. I answered the daily assignment question glibly one day, but it left me with a terrible sensation.

I was quite aware that I had deceived myself. After struggling with the project for many days, I had to rewrite it.

That was a challenge. But I was rewarded by gaining a deeper knowledge of myself.

Many lessons made me angry with myself or the PN team, but they were also the ones from which I learnt the most.

Ron Dykstra 2

I was held responsible by PN Coaching.

My coach stressed the importance of making genuine, long-term changes and developing lifetime habits that promote health and longevity.

PN never mentioned a “6 Week Fat Blast,” or whatever it is that is circulating on the internet and selling copies at newsstands. Change occurs throughout time. You start thinking about food, exercise, and yourself in new ways.

The best thing is that new ideas lead to new actions.

However, without some caring direction, it’s difficult to break out of our current behavioral cycles or imagine new ideas.

If you think and do the same thing over and over again, you’ll get the same result — that’s self-evident, right?

It became brutally obvious that I was repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result: bulking up, then deflating a little, always ending up in the same spot.

Reaching out for assistance to break free from that pattern was an act of personal strength, not a sign of weakness.

It’s simple to act as if you know something. As health care providers, we want our patients to have faith in our expertise and experience.

It’s difficult to accept that you don’t know everything. To seek assistance.

Is it, nevertheless, preferable to stay in the dark, proudly ignorant, and refuse to change? And who among us has all of the answers? Information sharing is beneficial to all of us.

“I’ve only been able to see farther by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton is credited with the invention of the wheel.

PN Coaching is a very empathetic approach to coaching.

Everyone needs assistance from time to time. That does not make you a coward or a liar.

It restores your sense of normalcy.

In today’s Information Age, we have access to the full total of human knowledge at our fingertips, at any time of day. However, most individuals are unable to adequately filter fitness information in order to attain their ideal physique.

Sure, we all know how terrible potato chips are for us and how wonderful spinach is for us. However, most of us are unsure how to apply that knowledge to ourselves in a compassionate and fair manner.

I didn’t think so. My “path” consisted of Bacchanalian overindulgence followed by Puritanical self-recrimination, which made my head feel rotten and my body bloated.

I was able to make a transformation I previously believed unattainable because to the advice and support of my PN coach.

And guess what happened next? Strength. I won gold at the men’s Raw Masters CPF Powerlifting Nationals in June 2013, a week after my end-of-PN picture session, when I weighed 185 lb – 65 lb less than I had begun out over a year earlier.

I had lost a lot of weight. I was more powerful. I was a completely different person. As a result of it all, I’m a better trainer.

Allow someone to assist you.

If you work in the fitness business and are reading this, you should consider receiving counseling from someone outside of your company. The added perspective is amazing in and of itself.

Everyone may benefit from this sort of assistance and support, and individuals in the fitness industry may need it even more than the general public.

The majority of personal trainers work on someone else’s schedule. Getting up early in the morning to meet with clients before going to work. They’re staying late in the gym to finish their own workout. (Or maybe totally foregoing their own training because they’re so exhausted.) In the middle, there’s the delicate balance of becoming caretakers for other people’s needs.

We place a premium on other people’s training while neglecting our own. We like assisting others in achieving their objectives, but we don’t always achieve our own objectives. We know there are individuals who can help us, but we don’t want to seem gullible by asking for assistance.

Does this ring a bell? If that’s the case, that’s OK. You are not any less of a coach as a result of that. Allow someone to assist you.

There may be some difficult things to learn along the road, but I know my fitness tribe enjoys a good challenge.

The result is a healthy, thoughtful way of living, as well as a fantastic method to put what you teach into practice.



Click here to read part 1 of this series, which features Toni Bauer.


Do you want to be the healthiest, fittest, and strongest version of yourself?

Most people are aware that getting enough exercise, eating properly, sleeping well, and managing stress are all essential for looking and feeling better. However, they need assistance in putting that information into practice in the context of their hectic, often stressful lives.

Over the last 15 years, we’ve utilized the Coaching approach to assist over 100,000 customers lose weight, gain strength, and improve their health… over the long haul… no matter what obstacles they face.

It’s also why, via our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs, we educate health, fitness, and wellness professionals how to coach their own clients through similar difficulties.

Interested in becoming a coach? Join the presale list to save up to 54% and get a seat 24 hours before the general public.

On Wednesday, July 14th, 2024, we will be accepting applications for our upcoming Coaching.

If you’re interested in learning more about coaching, I recommend signing up for our presale list below. Being on the list provides you with two distinct benefits.

  • You’ll get a better deal than everyone else. We want to reward the individuals that are the most engaged and driven since they always create the greatest customers. If you join the presale list, you’ll save up to 54% off the general public pricing, the lowest we’ve ever given.
  • You’ll have a better chance of getting a place. We only offer the program twice a year to ensure that clients get the particular care and attention they need. We sold out in minutes the last time we started registration. By signing up for the presale list, you’ll be able to register 24 hours before the general public, boosting your chances of getting in.

This is your opportunity to transform your body and your life with the assistance of the world’s finest trainers.

[Note: If you currently have your health and fitness under control but want to assist others, look into our Level 1 Certification program.]


In Part 1 of this blog post, I took a look at what it takes to be a fitness pro. For me, this isn’t a job that you can just get by with some boot camp classes and hope for the best. It’s a very demanding and time-consuming career, and I don’t think anyone would be happy living like that for too long.. Read more about negative effects of strength training on bone development and let us know what you think.

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