Youth Fitness Trainer or Coach

Youth Fitness Professionals

Personal Trainer = Someone who works with a client to plan or implement an
exercise or fitness program.


Coach = Someone who gives instruction, advice or direction.


As defined by Webster’s Dictionary.


Much has been discussed about my use of the term ‘Coach’ in favor or the word
‘Trainer’ when describing myself as well as IYCA certified professionals.


And I have been asked many times why I have such a strong inclination towards
the one versus the other.


Re-read the definitions above and you should be able to figure it out for yourself.


The Art of Coaching information I provide in the Level 1 YouthFitness Specialist
course is both a great source of pride for us here at the IYCA, but also serves as a
strong differentiating factor in terms of our organization versus other educational
bodies in this industry.


Programming, training, exercise selection…


These are the sciences of our work.


Communication, coaching and instruction…


These are the arts within Youth Fitness.


Understanding how to reach each and every one of your young clients in a manner
that they will hear and respond to is perhaps the single greatest challenge facing
Youth Fitness Specialists.


We must be chameleon. We must accept the fact that understanding the specifics
associated with learning and communication are every bit as important, maybe
more so, than creating and implementing effective and developmentally-sound
training programs.


I am not a Trainer.


I am a Coach.


I am a Mentor.


I prepare my young clients for sport and life in every capacity possible.


I become a friend. A shoulder to cry on when need be.


I espouse the importance of education, school and how to value a strong,
connected relationship with family.


My favorite and most memorable moment at this past weekend’s youth fitness Summit in
Louisville was watching Kim McCullough take the stage and deliver a beautiful
seminar about mentoring young athletes.


15 years ago, Kim was the first young athlete I ever trained.


She was passionate, intelligent and very much a leader back then.


And she still is today in youth fitness.


Kim was recently named as a Faculty Member for the newly formed IYCA University.


Now I take no credit for the extraordinary woman Kim has become.


But I never ‘trained’ her as a teenager.


I very much coached and mentored her.


And when she ended her presentation with a power point slide showing a photograph
of her and I together I nearly burst into tears.


Training your clients can get the job done.


But Coaching them will have an impact on their lives forever.


And yours.



‘Till next time,



3 Responses

  1. Will says:

    Spot on Brian! Coaching is SO much more holistic than simply training… I have always been at pains to explain to parents that I am a COACH, not a trainer & now I have validation from the IYCA!

  2. […] myself a personal trainer as much as I consider myself a strength coach for reasons explained here by Brian Grasso. I am technically qualified to be a CSCS, just haven’t taken the exam […]

  3. Liz Donnelly says:

    Kim’s presentation was truly inspiring to me for that very reason in addition to her powerful content. The picture of you two was touching.

    I can’t wait to get into the general fitness market (going to happen with my city’s rec department starting this June and to homeschoolers even sooner!!).

    Thanks for bringing coaching back to a basic philosophy. It’s indispensable to bring humanity and warmth to this profession.


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