Should Young, Up-and-Coming Trainers Build a Presence on the Interwebs?

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Saturdays with Roman, Episode 3

In episode three of Saturdays with Roman, I discuss something relatively controversial, something that’s been bothering me for quite a while.

There is a general question in the industry of young trainers who haven’t spent years “in-the-trenches” bringing their businesses online and building a presence.


What are YOUR thoughts? Should guys who have only been in the industry for a few years be putting content out there? Or should they wait until they have put in their 10,000 hours?


About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

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  • Reece Mander

    Great post Roman! While i’ve been training people for 4 years and researching for 9, i feel i’m educated enough to provide training/nutrition advice for the people i train. They are mostly desk workers/professionals. I have enough experience and training knowledge to help these people. Training Olympic athletes for a given sport i will leave to trainers who specialise in that area. I think as long as you can help the your target audience why shouldn’t you help!

  • Cole

    I think it is important to establish an online presence as soon as you feel comfortable with the material you will be writing about. As some have mentioned it will help you learn the material better (it seems that trying to write/teach someone really helps a person better learn a subject). Another thing is that as a 25 year old guy myself I like to read from some guys who are around my age and who can possibly relate to me better. A third thing is that if it takes 10,000 hours to be good at something then it must take 10,000 hours to be effective at communicating online. If you wait until you have worked 10,000 hours in the industry before you put anything online then you have another 10,000 hours of online work to do before you are an expert. It seems like that is a long time to wait to be an expert at communicating online when you could jump start that and start working on it when you are young and still learning a lot about the fitness industry.

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  • You were so passionate about this that you almost make me want to become a fitness pro. Excellent work on this video. I’m sure in a few short years, there will be a crop of fitness pros that will credit this video for helping to believe that they could do what they love, be good at it, and make money.

    Excellent work.

  • Peter Mitchell

    Great topic this week. While not young, I am new to the personal training game and have begun learning how to market and self-promote.

    Frankly, 10,000 hours be damned, we all start somewhere and blogs, facebook, and twitter are the places to market yourself. Plus, a large portion of the content the “10,000 hr experts” are putting out there is a re-hash of practices spoken about by other “10,000 hr experts”. Not a whole lot is brand spankin’ new out there – at least not for long. So guess what us newbs are going to write about?

    Secondly – Young, old, up and coming or not, it’s far easier and cheaper to gain a level of mass exposure that just wasn’t possible 10 years ago on the same budget. That said, it seems that good marketing will eclipse a new trainers lack of experience in the short term. But in the long term, if that trainer doesn’t develop themselves and their trade as an ongoing process, then they’ll be left in the dust of those who do. The cream always rises to the top.

    As for the next SwR – In movies and TV-land commonly accepted ethics and morals are getting thrown out the window. In plots and stories the end apparently justifies the means. The hero/heroine usually earns little to no new insight about themselves. Why has the anti-hero become so popular?

  • I don’t think that anything proves the 10,000 hour rule wrong. At all. Saying that someone is stagnant because they are not spending time learning new material points to the fact that they are not putting in hours learning. Yes they may be doing floor coaching, but chances are after a while many trainers do not bring in 40 new clients every month. Because of this, much of their floor time is spent working on the same issues with the same clients. Those who spend the time outside the gym reading and growing are spending the time moving towards their own level of mastery. There is no trade for time. That being said, If you want to get good at putting yourself out there, gaining exposure, and reaching people, you need to spend time doing that as well. Hopefully you have something awesome to say.

    • Clint

      i get the feeling this was directed at me lol. I was just getting at the fact that just having spent 10,000 hours face to face coaching doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you are a book of knowledge (I probably could have worded it better before but was pressed for time). I know of trainers who have spent many more hours face to face with clients than I have but i feel it doesn’t necessarily guarantee they are more knowledgeable or can guarantee better results than I can.

      An observation that I have made since day dot of been in the industry (and I think Roman mentioned it, or something similar) is that it seems often the case that the great marketers originally do a lot better than the great personal trainers but eventually the great marketer is found to be just that, a great marketer and then these clients often look for a great trainer, or ideally someone who markets well and has the knowledge and previous results to back it up. It is a bit of a shame however that sometimes the great marketer’s poor coaching soils the reputation of the industry/personal trainers in general.

      Fortunately for all new trainers however and experienced is the access to free information on the internet(interwebz =D) [albeit not all is 100% accurate) and that this often saves trainers from spending big bucks on workshops and seminars but like any profession you only get out what you put in. Although there is the “in the trenches” experience there is a lot more to a successful trainer than the hours spent face to face- I believe it is the hours behind the scenes you put in that will separate you from the field regardless of your time in the industry. As I said, quality time is more influential to your career than quantity.

  • Clint

    To totally prove the 10,000 hour rule wrong- and I’m sure there are many trainers who experience this….my first 2 years of training was in a big gym where the trainers who were getting the best results with clients were new to the biz. There were two trainers who had a wealth of experience (one 5 years the other 10+) but there opinion was they were there to make money, not spend it. I was one of the new trainers who spent a stack of money attending workshops, courses and time reading as many articles as possible. It may be a biased opinion but I felt I caught and often passed trainers in knowledge and even experience within 12-18 months then they had in years. It’s the age old quality vs quantity. Time alone is not a guarantee. Interesting topic though!

    • One problem with 10,000 hours is that it creates ‘mastery’. This means going beyond conscious competence to unconscious competence. For many people the best trainer is someone with conscious competence of the exercises because they are better at explaining the how and why – your example of the ‘do as I do’ is a great example of the problem of unconscious competence.

  • Jen Rau

    I completely agree with the idea that it doesn’t take everyone the same amount of time to get good at something. With that said, I definitely think that young, up-and-coming trainers should build a presence on the internet. Are they still learning? Yes. But aren’t we ALL still learning? And at the end of the day, it’s strictly up to the trainee whether or not he or she will choose to follow that information. With all the crap that’s already on the internet, people who are interested in fitness information need to do their own research and make their own judgments. After all, every single person’s body is not going to respond the EXACT same way to a certain program.