So you go to the gym for the first time. You’ve paid your monthly subscription fee at the reception and your hands still have that smell on cash. You see a trainer helping a bulked up guy do some sort on squats, and you say why does that guy need help? You walk right up to the trainer and tell him to shape you up. Your trainer asks you to give him 15 minutes and you can warm up and begin with light stretching by looking at the charts or the video guides. And you feel stung, robbed on your precious money to look at charts.
This is a pretty common thing I see people do where I train people. Yes, you paid for the gym instructor. Doesn’t mean the instructor is your butler! Sadly, comments about your worthlessness training people to be fit aren’t all you hear as a fitness instructor in a gym. Here are ten things I’d like people to stop doing in the gym.
Please stop assuming you own me. Yes, you paid for the gym membership. And you’re a client of my gym, and I am its employee, so I need to serve you to earn my bread. But that doesn’t mean you get to imply I’m a bad person because I can’t leave a college kid aiming to make it to the team in the middle on his cardio or during his weight training. I’m no doubt going to come to you. I’m going to help you figure out an exercise regime, a diet chart and how much beer a week is ok to drink. But if I can’t run to you at that instant, please know I genuinely can’t. Personal trainers just cannot afford to get lazy.
I am not a salesman. I’m not trying to sell you boxes of whey, or yoga mats or aromatic oils or whatever your neighbor says fitness trainers sell you. Some on us do get some commission of products we sell at some places in the world, but really, that meager sum isn’t worth the energy we’d spend in drafting a sales pitch. If we recommend you to take whey, or get an app or some exercise apparel, it is because we think you need it and can profit by it. It is ok if you don’t want to buy stuff. We could just work harder. But the results can be slow.
That brings me to the third point. Don’t assume I’m a bad trainer just because you didn’t get ripped after a week. Also, don’t say or imply it to my face. Your body isn’t made on pottery clay I can just put of a spinning wheel and shape as you demand. You need to sweat it out for months of the treadmill. You need to get efficient training before you run a marathon. I’m not a bad trainer because you didn’t just magically turn into a Jaguar after a week on running of the treadmill.
Being a fitness trainer can be draining. I get up at 4 each day, do my own routine of training before the clients come pouring in around 6. I give my best attention to over 10 clients of an average day, which is quite a lot, since keeping track f each one’s fitness levels, diet, food preferences and restrictions, illness history and everything else can be quite a lot. 6-9 in the morning, and then 4-9 at night I am on my feet, flying around helping people do their best to get to their desired fitness goals. We don’t get to go on dates as often as our ripped physique would have you think; we’re usually busy at work when people are getting ready for dinner. So when you say, “oh you must have it so easy! You’re a trainer! You earn money by working out” or some other version on it, it is really painful.
It can be hard to stay afloat in the face on financial troubles. When I had just started out as a trainer, I barely managed three stable clients. Most others would come in for just a week, after which the initial cramps and unease would make them forget about the rest on the month they paid for. Your friends will say that being fit takes a lot on money. And they’re right! It does! But whatever high fees you’re paying at the reception, all on it isn’t coming to me. So a lot on us get second jobs when we’re new to the game.
When you’re a trainer, you need to be impeccably groomed to get clients. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you’re going to be attracting your clientele based on how you appear. So you need to wear the best gear, have your hair trimmed perfectly, wearing a suitable color combination and being generally mindful on the way you act around the gym if you want the visitors to stay. It is true. You need to present aggressively because aggression translates to strength in the visitor’s minds. Even when you just want to chill out a bit.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in being a fitness trainer is that you need to keep yourself up to date of the latest fitness trends. And not all exercise routines are meant for your client. So you need to tell them what will work for them and what is dangerous to even try. I had this one guy who joined the gym to get toned, after sitting home after a fracture caused him to gain weight. It was so hard to dissuade him from doing weights; I was almost in tears when he finally gave up the idea. If you’re out of date, or if your client suffers something serious under your tutelage and makes a complaint, it could ruin your career. So when clients say they want to get ripped but don’t have a strong torso, it is riding of your career to make them get to the level of doing crunches.
Everyone reads stuff of the internet and becomes a fitness guru instantly. It is tiring to hear the same stuff each day from new people. “I read that doing yoga in a hot environment is really good. Could you turn up the heat?” “I bought a lot of watermelon coz this website said it could help in getting abs” “My mom was of Google last night and it said planks are a bad exercise to do. Let’s do pushups instead!”. Listen honey! I know I don’t wear my diploma but I know what I’m doing! Your google search isn’t anything more than baseless unscientific hokum. You need to trust me!
Because you’re all muscled and ripped and good looking (my secret? Confidence!), people assume you’re just some college jock who didn’t land a job. If they were to go through my girlfriend’s academic laurels, and then hear that she too is a fitness trainer like me, they’d probably be stunned. Most fitness trainers I know became fitness trainers because they were good at it, wanted to help people out or found it a lot more rewarding than joining the rat race. A lot of us could beat a lot of you at a lot of academic disciplines. We train people because it is our job and calling. Not because we couldn’t make the cut.
Sometimes, it can suck to be a trainer. You’re constantly at your feet, keeping track of your diet and exercise so you can maintain that exemplary fitness and trying to get success, all the while managing social and emotional parts of ourselves and keeping family commitments. But every once in a while, when someone you’re coaching beats their personal record on the number of squats, or the number of calories burned, or when they start showing the first signs of a positive body image, you feel really proud and accomplished. Not many can change so many lives by adding their persistence and perseverance to those who want to get better. As a fitness coach, you can. And that feeling makes it all worth it!
What is your opinion about it? Let us know in comments if you have faced any of the challenges too!