11 Things Your Personal Trainer Wants You to Know

1. It’s Important that You Have a Specific Goal.

If you’ve ever met with a personal trainer or fitness professional chances are they asked you what your goal was.  It might seem cliché but having a specific goal is the first step to making sure that you will see results.  If you don’t know what you want the end result to be, you don’t know how to move forward.  No goal = no plan.  Too many people come to the gym without a specific goal and wander around aimlessly and then wonder why they don’t see results.  Ask a trainer what their goal is and they will say it right off the top of their head; I want to bench press 315lbs, I want to decrease 2% body fat, or I want to get my marathon pace under 9 min per mile. People who are successful with their health and fitness goals have just that: A GOAL.  Get a goal and get a plan.  If you are interested in speaking to a personal trainer take some time and think about what exactly you want to accomplish.  The more thought you put into it the better your trainer will be able to design the most optimal program for you. P.S. “I just want to tone up a little bit” is not a real thing and therefore not a real goal. 

2. Most personal trainers and fitness professionals are 100% commissionable employees.

Common courtesy tells us that it is not polite to talk about money.  Even in the fitness world there is debate among trainers as to whether or not it’s okay to explain our pay structure to our clients.  But I’m going to put this out there so that it is crystal clear.  We are 100% commission.  What does this mean?  It means that the company we work for does not pay us a dime.  In fact, we generate profits for the company.  Most companies take a large percentage of whatever revenue the trainer generates.  As much as 51% in some cases and this isn’t necessarily a bad deal.  The company provides us with an awesome facility, state of the art equipment, as well as a captive audience of members who are all potential clients for us.  People seem to have this misconception that we get paid to hang out at the gym and wait for people to show up and want to work out.  This isn’t true.  If we aren’t making a sale or training a client we aren’t getting paid.  It’s not that we don’t want to take time out of our day to talk to you; it’s just that we have to stay busy and be as productive as possible to maximize our pay.

3. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

No matter what you think you cannot exercise your way out of bad nutrition.  You can train with me five days a week and not see results if you aren’t paying attention to what goes in your mouth.  Nutrition is the most difficult component for the majority of people.  For this reason, any trainer who is worth a damn should be talking to you about your nutrition.  If your trainer isn’t fire them immediately.  Most people don’t realize, but nutrition is an opportunity to improve your health and fitness just like exercise is an opportunity.  Most of us only exercise one time a day, but we eat multiple times per day.  There are many more opportunities to improve our health throughout the day with good nutrition than with exercise.

4. You are capable of working out on your own. I know you can do it.

Your trainer is a big component of your support system.  For some people their trainer may be their only support and motivation.  It is a proven fact that individuals who hire a personal trainer are more likely to stick to a fitness and nutrition plan and reach their goals than people who don’t hire a personal trainer. That being said, the majority of your success will be dictated by your behavior outside of the gym.  There are 168 hours in a week.  Even if you train with me three hours a week that still leaves another 165 hours for you to hold yourself accountable.  You need to be coming to the gym on the days you aren’t scheduled to meet with me.  You need to stay active on the weekends and avoid binge eating and drinking.  Go hiking, bike riding, yoga, etc.  I don’t care what you do but just do it consistently.   You can’t expect me to be held responsible for your lack of results if you are sitting on the couch and pounding beer and cheeseburgers on your off days.  Get it together.

5. The price is not open for negotiation. If you want to barter go to the flea market.

All trainers have a fixed hourly rate.  Most gyms and health clubs have a tier system that dictates the trainer’s price and commission percentage.  Our charge rate is our charge rate.  When I tell you my hourly rate this is not an opportunity to make a deal.  Many trainers these days have at least a four-year college degree in a health/exercise science field.  They most likely hold multiple advanced certifications.  We attend workshops and do research on our weekends.  We collaborate with other trainers to elevate our own skill set.  We have invested tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours into educating ourselves and honing our craft.  So when you ask if you can pay us less we seriously get offended.  If you’re not prepared to invest in your health then don’t insult me by asking me to work for less money (this goes back to the whole commission thing).  Now, there are some exceptions.  Most gyms will offer discounts for special events, new clients, or during times when business is slow.  Keep in mind it is always at the trainer’s discretion if they want to discount their rate.  If you want a less expensive trainer I will be happy to point you towards someone with less knowledge and experience than myself.  Just remember you will get what you pay for.

6. I want to lose 10lbs……….TODAY!

Any trainer can get results for their client quickly.  Keeping the weight off is another story entirely.  Lasting weight loss and improvements in health are made through behavio
r change.  Changing behavior is not an easy thing to do as it takes time for old bad habits to be replaced by new better habits.  It definitely doesn’t happen over night.  When your trainer tells you you’re not going to lose 60lbs for your family reunion in two weeks it is because we care about your long-term health and success.  Drastic weight loss is not healthy for the body and it increases the likelihood of regaining all the weight you lost plus usually an extra 5-10 lbs.   All good trainers know this and want their clients to lose weight safely and keep it off throughout their life.  If a trainer tries to sell you a fantasy of overnight success chances are they’re a fraud.

7. We’re not meatheads…ok, we’re not ALL meatheads

The stereotype of personal trainers as muscle bond jocks who spend all their time lifting, drinking protein shakes, calling everyone “bro,” and dropping heavy weights on the floor at the gym is a passing reality.  Most trainers these days are highly educated and extremely skilled at what they do.  Many of us are actually hardcore exercise science nerds.  Even some of the most muscular trainers at the gym probably have a great deal of knowledge and if you give them a chance they will explain the sliding filament theory of muscular contraction in the most epic detail.  If you don’t know what the sliding filament theory of muscular contraction is…ask a trainer.

8. Eat food and drink water before showing up for your workout…seriously.

I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have seen a client go completely pail in the face, become nauseous and get light headed 20 minutes into the workout. Come to find out they have had less than 500 calories of food and virtually no water the entire day and it is now 6pm in the evening and they are dying.  Food is energy!  Water is essential for normal metabolic functions and your body does not perform well without either of these things.  You will not build muscle and lose body fat if you are constantly in a caloric deficit.  Not to mention you will have no energy to invest in your training.  Eat your protein.  Drink your water.

9. Don’t overestimate your knowledge because you watch workout videos online.

I once had an individual tell me that he could learn how to do my job after an hour of watching YouTube videos.  No kidding!  Well, I guess I just seriously wasted four years of my life and tons of money getting this Kinesiology degree!  Bullshit.  I have forgotten more science of how the human body functions than the average individual could ever hope to learn.  Please don’t insult my intelligence and disrespect my entire profession.  Trust that I am the professional in this situation and know what I am talking about.  I don’t show up at your place of employment and tell you what to do, do I?

10. Respect Our Time. It has a Price Tag Attached to It.

This is one of the worst parts of the personal trainer job: The Last Minute Cancellation.  Trainers work off appointment only.  We aren’t just waiting around for people to wander into the gym.  If you cancel on us last minute we are left with an unpaid hour.  As I stated earlier, we don’t get paid if we aren’t training so we then have to scramble to try to fill that hour with something productive in order to not lose money.  We know that life throws curve balls and it’s okay when it happens occasionally and it’s a legit reason.  Unfortunately, it still happens all too often.  Most gyms have a 24-hour cancellation policy that allows trainers to charge for a session.  This is their way of protecting their employees’ paychecks.  Even then, most trainers are very understanding of real life circumstances and will give you a chance to make the session up.  But if we charge you for it don’t be angry because there is nothing worse than multiple cancellations in a day.  These sessions add up and can negatively impact our paychecks in the long run.

11. We Take Your Goals Very Seriously.

When you set your sights on a specific goal we become invested in it emotionally just like you.  We may look like super fit, cool, strong people and sure we are now.  But many of us have experienced a time when we were less healthy and fit.  We know what it’s like to be unhappy with your body and physical appearance.  It is our priority to see that you get results.  We are genuinely bothered when the scale doesn’t move in the right direction just as much as you are.  We also understand that this is a process.  It’s important not to be too attached to the number on the scale and stay faithful to the process.  Stick with the healthy behaviors you have been working on and you will be successful!  Seeing you reach your goals is what we love most about our jobs.  It’s what makes us tick; it’s the reason we do what we do.

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