My eyes were ping pong balls, moving between my two surgeon friends as they discussed a recent operation. I could do little more than sit there and enjoy my Thai food as I listened to what sounded like a foreign language, to my ears. This feeling of utter confusion made me think about how my own clients must have felt as they listened to a conversation between me and another trainer, which was peppered with complicated fitness terms.
You can be the greatest trainer in the world, but if you suck at communicating, your business could suffer. Many fitness professionals become so accustomed to using industry terminology with colleagues that they forget how to speak with their clients.
Know Your Audience
Good fitness writing doesn’t leave readers feeling muddled, confused, or ignorant, but that’s exactly what will happen if you forget who you’re writing for.
Laypersons are not fitness experts; this is the reason they’re seeking your services. This audience can be made up of current or prospective clients, those new to fitness, and people looking to expand their knowledge. When writing for them, avoid industry jargon and break down concepts as simply as you can to ensure that you’re communicating clearly.
Colleagues include other professionals in the industry, such as personal trainers, gym and studio owners, and students of sports science. If this is your audience, then it’s okay to use advanced fitness terms.
Why Using the Right Language Matters
If you want your readers to find your content valuable, choosing the proper language is essential.
Using industry jargon in your fitness writing might make readers feel like they are in above their heads, because you aren’t writing for them. As a result, they will search for a different source of fitness information or services, one that uses simplified terms and breaks down complicated topics in language they understand.
Writing for industry colleagues requires a different balancing act: If you use too many basic fitness terms, you can come across as an amateur, but if you use terminology you don’t fully grasp to sound more like an authority, your colleagues might disregard what you’re saying.
Tips for Clear Communication
If you’re writing for peers, it makes sense to use industry terminology, but if your audience includes laypersons, be more cognizant of the language you use. Here are some tips to help with writing for the general public:
Keep it Basic
Avoid using scientific terms or shortened versions of those terms. For example, instead of using quadriceps femoris or quads, say something like “the muscles on the front of your upper leg.”
Include Variations of Terms
While this might seem counterintuitive, sometimes including the scientific, industry, and common versions of a term or concept can be helpful. If you’re describing the quad muscles, you can use the scientific term (quadriceps femoris), industry name (quads), and a quick description (muscles on the front of the thigh):
This exercise strengthens the muscles on the front of the thigh, which are called quadriceps femoris (quads).
Use analogies, metaphors, and real-world examples to illustrate what you’re trying to convey.
For example, when discussing the kinetic chain, you can liken it to a chain-link fence:
When you push one part of the fence, the entire fence is affected, and so it goes for the human body. If you have tight hamstrings, your glutes, lower back, and traps will be affected by it.
Provide Credible References
Provide the reader with more information about a term or concept by including a link to a reliable resource that explains it thoroughly, such as a dictionary or an encyclopedia.
Many of your readers will be visual learners, and images can help them learn better and faster. Consider using the following types of images in your fitness writing:
- Photos: Use photos to provide clear visuals of what something looks like and to add visual interest to a piece of writing.
- Diagrams: Illustrations that show arrangements and relationships can offer insight; for example, diagrams can show skin, muscle, and skeletal layers of the human body.
- Charts: Charts are types of diagrams that can be used to show progress or decline or to compare two factors, such as the fat-burning rate of cardiovascular exercise compared to resistance training.
- Infographics: Ideal for illustrating steps in a process or to provide visual representations of lists, infographics can also be used to summarize the main points of an article.
Test Your Material
Finished writing your blog, book, or guide? Reach out to people in your target audience and ask them to read your written content and provide helpful feedback before you publish it.
Also, consider hiring a professional fitness writer to review your written materials and provide feedback and edits before it goes live or gets published.
Want to Write for a Fitness Audience? Keep it Simple
Figure out who your audience is, and then adjust your language accordingly. Keep it simple for laypersons and use industry terms for colleagues.
Would you rather focus on running your business than worrying about creating educational and engaging pieces of fitness writing? Want to work with a professional fitness writer who can produce clear, compelling content that is custom written for your audience? I’m here to help.
Check out my fitness writing services and learn how I can take care of all your fitness writing needs.