If you ask a random person what they expect out of a personal trainer they might say something like, “I expect to be told how to workout and be made sore.” When breaking this thought down the specificity of it rings hollow and largely superficial. The trainer used to be more of a hobby/job than it was a profession; that is until CrossFit came along.
CrossFit seeks to professionalize the trainer and have people think of him/her in the same way they think of their dentist, accountant, or lawyer. A professional whose time is very valuable. A professional who is going to cure a problem that we can’t cure on our own.
The trainer of the past used to be able to get away with “teaching” rudimentary movements. “You do a bicep curl like this but you do it slow to really get a burn,” they would say. They used to get away with rudimentary nutrition concepts like your “metabolism” being too slow or the still ever popular calories in vs calories out theory. There was little to no actual teaching going. The movements required no cues and the workouts never left a person thinking about stopping halfway through.
CrossFit wanted to get rid of that so they forced their trainers to learn complex movements. Weightlifting, gymnastic movements on the rings or inverted, rowing on a concept 2 erg; all things that must be taught over and over and over. The nuance of these movements is only exceeded by the frustration one feels in practicing them. CrossFit gave lectures on nutrition and the actual processes the body undergoes when eating different foods. The trainer became equal parts weightlifting coach, nutritionist, and physical therapist all rolled into one.
It is with this new era of trainers did people’s fitness actually begin to look like something out of the movie “300” and not failed attempts at trying to look like an underwear model. People became able to show what they could do instead of just showing how they looked. There became real metrics behind what someone’s fitness level was instead of just saying something that imparted no meaning at all. “My Fran time is sub-5 minutes. I can deadlift 2 times my bodyweight.” Sentences like this became stamps of approval instead of something like, “I usually run for 30 minutes and then lift for an hour.” Lift what? Run how far and how fast? Training became professional and fitness became real.