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What's the Difference Between Personal Training and Performance Coaching?

So, what is a Performance Coach? At the Institute of Human Performance, a Performance Coach is a distinction we give to a trainer who, regardless of the state of the client walking through the door, can improve said client's performance.

Sounds simple enough, but let's clarify this further. A lot of personal training at your big box gyms really focuses on getting you bigger/stronger. A Performance Coach though, can handle more nuanced situations.

Need to add significant yardage to your golf swing? A Performance Coach is more equipped for the task. Is the client an elderly person dealing with limited mobility issues? Your run-of-the-mill personal trainer is ill-equipped to even begin understanding that sensitive situation.

Our Performance Coaches start with a biomechanical assessment that informs our structured programming. We've successfully used our methods to:

  • improve student athlete performance from the grade-school to collegiate level

  • to maximize speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) in an athlete with respect to their genetic abilities

  • help relieve back pain in a client that is aged 55+ years old and sits for 80% of the day.

In essence, a Performance Coach is a personal trainer, in the same vein that a Neurosurgeon is a doctor. The difference is in the distinction.


At The Institute of Human Performance, we're aware that the general public is more familiar with the title Personal Trainer, and it serves as a good, common communication point. What we have to address, is the connotation of the title.

Due to the varied backgrounds of personal trainers at average gyms and the lack of governmental regulation with the title, the quality control of the client experience when working with your average personal trainer can often be hit-or-miss (or result in injury).

There are some incredible, life-changing personal trainers, and then there are some that are lackluster.

While we don't disagree with the title personal trainer, we use the word Performance Coach in our gym (you'll see it on the back of some of our staff t-shirts).

A staff Performance Coach at IHP is an educated, certified individual that has gone through our own internal vetting process to ensure excellent technical knowledge, interpersonal skills, integrity and ultimately results with our clients.

If you'd like to experience the difference between what we do compared to what goes on at other gyms, feel free to stop by or give us a call.

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