Trainers’ Top Pet Peeves … And Random Trainer Musings

I came across this great article regarding Trainers’ Top Pet Peeves, and I had to read it. As a person who spends, quite honestly, more time than a normal person in a gym, I have my share of gym pet peeves (as you may have read here, or here, or here).

I find it amazing that some people actually think that doing some of these things when they are supposed to be training are okay. Seriously, you’re paying this guy or gal upwards of $50 (in many cases, WAY upwards) an hour, and you’re checking your email? Or complaining that something is hard, then wondering why your body still looks the same three months later? Here’s a tip: a good trainer wants to help you succeed. But they can’t make YOU want to succeed.

But, that said … it also goes both ways. You want to make sure that if you are going to make an investment in yourself (both from a time and monetary standpoint – keeping in mind that a full commitment does require a lifestyle change), you are working with a certified, qualified, focused individual who is committed to helping you achieve your goals, be they to lose weight, to gain weight, to tone up, to run a 10k, to make it up the stairs without feeling like you’re going to die … Everyone wants something different, so be sure that your trainer is focused on what you want – not what they think you should want (or what they are good at).

(Side note on that point – back when I first started working with a trainer, the guy was convinced that I had the right body type to be in fitness competitions. I just wanted to look good. I’m pretty sure I will NEVER take off all of the nearly 10 lbs. of muscle I put on working with him. Now, I don’t want to be a waif … but I do put on and maintain muscle fairly easily, so I worry sometimes that people think I’m scary. Point being – be clear about what you see as YOUR ideal body. Don’t just let them turn you into their little project).

Going back to my point about finding a good trainer … remember that just because they are certified, or they have X number of years of experience, that doesn’t necessarily make them the right one for you. Which brings me to my biggest pet peeve when it comes to trainers.

I’d call this the “I know you pay me more than you make in an hour, but I have better things to do with my time than watch you” trainer. I’ve seen a trainer texting while his client is doing squats with her heels off the floor, undoubtedly one wrong move from blowing out a knee. I’ve seen trainers more concerned with talking to their friends or flirting with a cute girl than watching their client’s form (and, I’ll admit, on occasion, I’m guilty of being that friend or cute girl). And every time I see something like this, I make a mental note NOT to suggest that particular trainer should someone in one of my classes ask for a trainer recommendation. Because honestly, if you are paying someone to help you reach your health and fitness goals, they should be delivering their end of the bargain (as should you).

Luckily, I was fortunate enough to work with two phenomenal trainers over a span of three years. To Steven (in Nashville) and CJ (in Merrifield): if I ever did anything dumb/annoying/questionable (and I’m sure I did): I’m sorry. But at least I always apologized when you were forced to touch my sweat. And I think you kind of liked it when I’d get mad that I couldn’t do something right the first time. And I’ll gladly credit you both for teaching me so much, and for pushing me to train as hard as I do today. You’re the best!

Finally, I have to share a story that still, a good 10 years later, still makes me laugh about when I think about trainers and their clients (though, in the situation, it really was quite uncomfortable). My senior year of college, I would go to the campus gym, which was, at the time, had been relocated to the old bookstore, since they were in the process of renovating the fitness center – word is Fike is now amazing. I graduated before they finished gutting the place. But, I digress … back to the gym in the bookstore. I worked out in the morning or early afternoon – usually after my morning classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and before my afternoon classes on Monday and Wednesday (yeah, I pretty much had the best schedule ever my senior year of college – I started at 2 p.m. on Monday and was done at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday). There was always this older lady, probably in her 60s working out with one of the trainers, and I couldn’t be near her when she was doing anything that could even be considered somewhat strenuous, because she didn’t forcefully exhale, or grunt, or yell …  no, she moaned. Like she was REALLY enjoying her workout (if you know what I  mean). I still have nightmares about it. And I feel bad for the poor lady who had to train her.