What makes a great fitness and health leader?

Working in the fitness and health industry gratefully gives me the opportunity to meet a lot of individuals, from all walks of life. I have worked with professional trainers and athletes and leaders with a passion for fitness or nutrition.

Even to this day, it still amazes me how complex we are as individuals but similar are leadership styles.

The 3 types of leadership

The three types of leadership that I see most often in the fitness industry are

LISTENING Leaders often use methods to achieve their set outcomes by adapting to situations. I personally respond well to these leaders, as do we all, because they take a lot of what we do in our lives in to consideration when developing plans and objectives.

PHYSICAL Leaders are determined to lead with the physical aspect of the training – perhaps a bit like of fashioned drill Sargent-Majors. Often, this is in the face of resistance from the client. For young army cadets and some people who really want to push themselves, this might work. Although I don’t think many people really want to pay for this type of training.

Lastly EGO Leaders are very different are the show-off trainers who look at themselves in the mirror while ‘training’ their client.  Initially they seem very glamorous and exciting but after a while you realise they don’t really care about you.

As a personal trainer in the fitness industry I know it is important to always keep my clients goal in focus. As we get more successful as fitness trainers it is easy to lose sight of this and then I know that I’m at risk of egotism taking over and becoming too much of a PHYSICAL or EMOTIONAL Leader.  Hence, keeping my clients goals in mind – and checking back with them to make sure their goals haven’t changed, is key to me leading well.

After all, we have to remember that people will act and do as you do, so it is essential to set the right example.

Can you change your leadership style?


I do believe some of us are born with traits that seem dominant but I think we can choose to learn differently.

Again, the key to this is the ability to relate to what your client really wants and needs and the easiest way to do this is to review their fitness and health goals.

If you regularly review your client’s goals – and also help them to adjust those goals to fit their changing circumstances, then you will position yourself as a ‘listening leader’ and your clients will thank you for it.