Sunday, November 21, 2010

Celebrity Personal Trainers or Pro Marketers?

Everyone wants to look like their favourite celebrity, their idol, or their favourite super star athlete. Who are the amazing personal trainers that are behind the sexy bodies of the stars that you want to look like? Better yet, how did they get to become a personal trainer to the rich and famous?
Don’t get your hopes up too high because your favourite celebrity has thousands dollars to spend on cosmetic enhancements and surgery. Oh yeah, and don’t forget how good digital imagery is getting these days. The celebrities and magazines have professional photographers that master in the art of air brushing, and photoshop.

However all the biggest stars like Carrie Underwood, Britney Spears, Diddy, Gwyneth Paltrow, J-Lo, Kim Kardashian, and Madonna etc. have personal trainers to help them look and feel great. They also usually have personal chefs to help keep up with their healthy diet. The new trend is that the trainers themselves are now riding their clients coattails into their own fame to become part of the rich and famous. Trainers in this category include people like Tracey Anderson, Bob Greene, and Gunnar Peterson.

Honestly, these trainers are in most cases no different than the ones at your local gym. To train the stars a trainer doesn’t need any formal requirements. The truth is that most celebrity trainers simply happened to be in the right place at the right time, or happened to know the right people and contacts. According to a book I am reading about social networking, it’s the weak contacts that we have met through our lifetime that can connect us to the most powerful people. Maybe your dentists brother is a famous star etc. This can be a way for trainers to get their gigs.

Once a trainer has established at least one super star client they then can be endorsed by them. That means that another famous person will take the word of the other famous person and hire the unqualified trainer for more work. Word of mouth is usually how news spreads, along with social media. If celebrity tweets, facebooks, or myspaces about a trainer more people will want to train with him/her and there is now a demand for this trainer. Sometimes life just isn’t fair is it?  Also you may be fooled into thinking that the trainer is credible because he/she is so and so’s trainer. BE CAREFUL -  THEY MAY NOT BE CREDIBLE AT ALL! They may recommend dangerous diets or physical prescriptions. In some cases unfortunately celebrity trainers don’t have a good knowledge base or great people skills. Some don’t even have education or certifications to back up their claims.

I am not saying that all celebrity trainers are unqualified but some definitely are, in current news is the recent criticism of Jillian Michaels.  She recently came out with yoga and kettlebell DVD’s, and she is not certified in YOGA or Kettlebells. Apparently she even uses improper technique in the DVD’s. This is a liability. Despite her questionable advice I can’t argue that has an  ability to generate millions of dollars because of their celebrity relationships. Sadly, she is making a lot of that money by exploiting uneducated people, playing on their unrealistic desires in an unrealistic time line to look like the next biggest loser. The healthy weight loss is determined to be 1-2lbs a week, and on they show they lose 10lbs or more. THIS IS NOT HEALTHY! And has proved to be very hard to keep post production.

Some trainers like Jillian are amazing at selling products, some are better at the marketing and selling aspect than they really are at training. Pieces of their advice is questionable, and leaves me wondering if they have even tried some of the workouts that they dish out. I always perform the workout and exercises before divvying them out to my clients.  Trainers may have great marketing skills but just because someone may be great at getting in the public eye, on the news or in magazine does NOT mean they know what they are doing from a physiological stand point or even in the gym. Make sure to do your research first, find some testimonials that have been given by people about the trainer, check out articles they have written, or videos that they have done on youtube or on their personal website. Research their educational background, and how credible their certifications are. Instead of doctors, physiologists, cardiologists, and dietitians now a days the celebrity trainers are featured in newspapers or on the nightly news and  entertainment programs, offering diet and nutrition advice. THERE IS NO QUICK FIX! NO AMAZING DIET! The best diet is healthy eating, cut out the sugars and alcohol and exercise, exercise, EXERCISE!

I always say, BE THE BEST YOU THAT YOU CAN BE! We’re Not All Going to Look Like Supermodels or Professional Athletes.  Not everyone is going to look like Kim Kardashian or Usher, regardless of how hard they work. I want to remind you that genetics, overall lifestyle and diet play a big role in fitness level.

Whether you are an average joe or a celebrity, you always want to hire the trainer with the best education, experience, and certification. However, you want to make sure that this person has experience to back up all of their paper trail. So do your research before buying a celebrity personal trainers product, and sometimes the trainer at your local gym has more experience and has had more clients with long term success. Happy head hunting!

[Alicia Bell is an Elite Personal Trainer, NCCP Sprint Coach, and a Training Advisor for RIVALUS.]

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