Today’s post is a collaboration between my boyfriend (who has been a PT and S&C coach for many years as well) and myself. He was a bit of an inspiration behind this post. We often discuss common trends we see happening with our clients, so it’s thanks to a few late night conversations that this post was born. Some of this is tongue in cheek, but nevertheless they are all valid points.
So without further intro, here is our list of 10 things your personal trainer wants to tell you:
Don’t try to make it sound a little “better”, edit your responses when we asked what you have been eating, or say you did a good training session when really you just walked to the shops. Don’t tell us you only had 2 cigarettes all week when really you had a couple packs, or 1 glass of wine last night when you really drank the whole bottle.
We can handle the truth. We have seen it all and heard it all before. We don’t expect you to be perfect. We completely understand that sometimes you’ll eat poorly and have disorganized days or even weeks. We realise life gets in the way of training sometimes. Most trainers are human beings who don’t eat dried broccoli and plain chicken breast all day. We indulge in an extra piece of cake, we occasionally skip workouts, and we sleep in from time to time. So we understand.
We just want you to be honest so we can actually know what’s going on in your life. How are we supposed to properly help you and do our job if we get told half truths or bullshit from you? We need to know how things really are going for you so we can adjust your program or diet accordingly. If you are binging on sugar all the time, this could because you aren’t eating enough carbs overall and we want to help get to the root of the problem. Extra stress in life, poor quality sleep or food, etc. will affect your training and recovery, and we need to know these things. We are invested in you; we want you to succeed and get results, so be completely honest with us and help us help you.
Your personal trainer created a plan for you for a reason, based on your goals. It may seem random to you but they have a method to their routines. Your trainer is not expecting you to do more or less than your plan calls for (unless they say so). If you workout more or eat less than called for (or vise versa), it can mess with your results. Stop asking for a new diet plan every few weeks if you haven’t even properly followed the last one we gave you. Simply put, if you believe in your trainer enough to pay for their services, then believe in them enough to follow their advice/plans properly.
If you are the type of client who only trains, for example, once a fortnight for half an hour, and yet you expect the platinum package from your trainer in return, with all the perks and benefits you can think of included, as well as expecting your trainer to be on call all the time, answering phone calls, emails and text messages all week, you are what we refer to as a high-maintenance, low-profit client.
We are all for doing extras and supporting you in whatever way we can. We love going above and beyond for our clients, especially the ones who have a good attitude and work ethic, and are nice generous people themselves. But some clients can take their trainer’s generosity a little too far and this is when things become difficult. Part of our job is being a good listener and most personal trainers are naturally good listeners, but when our job description starts to evolve into personal trainer/psychologist/dietician/counselor/personal assistant/parent/teacher/bestie it can start to become very emotionally and mentally draining for us.
Consider it part of your workout. Of course you don’t have to. But it’s nice when clients help. Especially after deadlift day. And it saves time, so we can pack more into your session.
So you brought in that magazine cover of an airbrushed tanned model with an 8-pack, signed up to 1 PT session a week and told your trainer that in 3 months you expect to look like him (YES this is a true story and has happened multiple times). Then you were shocked and a little disappointed when your trainer told you that if it was that easy, everyone would be walking around looking like the guy on the cover.
The best trainers have a deep understanding of how the body works. They know that quick fixes don’t exist so they aren’t going to tell you what you want to hear about that latest magic pill. They know what is and what isn’t realistic. Not everyone has the bone structure/genetics to look like their favourite movie star or model.
We want to help you become the best version of YOU. Your best weight or “look” is whatever weight and look you reach when you're living the healthiest and happiest life that you can live and this will be different for everyone. Remember as well that how quickly you get results and how dramatic they are will also tie in with how much commitment, time and energy you are willing to devote to training.
Of course we want you to enjoy your sessions with us but “keeping the body guessing” and doing random things each session is not the best way to get strong and fit. Our job is to teach you how to train better. We aren’t here to keep “shocking your body” with new exercises. We are not here to “kill you”, “smash you” or “punish you”. We aren’t here to teach you fancy new exercises to prevent your boredom. Our focus is to get you stronger, fitter and healthier and we are going to do this in the most optimal way possible. Often times this involves repetition of movements. Repetition is the law of muscle memory too. We love it when you enjoy our sessions, but there are times when we might ask you to do things you don’t always enjoy. Just remember that our number one priority is to be true to you, to help you reach your goals and give you what you need.
When you do something different in your session that you aren’t used to that is what makes you sore. What’s making you sore might also be helping you build muscle, but DOMs or muscle soreness the next day does not need to be present in order for growth to occur. We may ask you if you were sore because it’s an indicator of how well you are recovering. But in order to get stronger, fitter and look better, you don’t need to always be sore and it’s not your trainer's goal.
This goes for the general population as well. If you ask a personal trainer, “Hey, how do I achieve [insert goal here],” and your trainer responds by saying, “What a great question. Here are the steps to take to reach that goal and start getting results...” Then don’t continue the conversation by proceeding to tell your trainer all the reasons why you are unable to do those things and how it’s just impossible and so hard for you because you are “too busy” and have so much on your plate. This is really annoying. If you are not at the point in your life where you are willing to sacrifice a little bit to change your lifestyle in order to be healthier or reach a particular goal, then don’t bother asking. It’s going to take time and commitment if you want to improve your health and get stronger and fitter, and you need to be prepared to put a bit of effort in.
This ties in a bit with the previous one. It’s not part of our job to hear your excuses. We want to help you reach your goals and succeed. Not validate your excuses.
And there you have it.
Now who's going to write a response titled "10 things your client wants to tell you"? :)
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