Fitness Articles

6 Things Your Personal Trainer Wishes You Didn't Do

What Your Personal Trainer Really Wants to Tell You

They may seem superhuman at times, but personal trainers are people, too. And although they love sharing their workout wisdom and helping people reach their goals, there are a few things that might get under their skin when they're training a client.

As a personal trainer myself, I've had a lot of conversations with other trainers about what irks them. While some clients' personalities may rub a trainer the wrong way, a good trainer will never let that get in the way of a good professional session. However, there are some client no-no's that are more than just personality quirks—they're detrimental to both a trainer's and client's success in the gym.

Read on for the six biggest faux pas that are could be driving your personal trainer crazy but are also hampering your fitness progress.

Withholding Health Information
Are you on any medications? Did your recent bone scan reveal thinning bones? Did you injure your knee or have back surgery five years ago? Even if your health care provider has cleared you to exercise, your trainer needs to know these important health facts to keep you safe. Medications can affect your heart rate; doing certain moves when you have osteoporosis can make your condition worse; and prior injuries or surgeries can also affect your workout prescription. Even if your trainer hasn't asked, it's up to you to fess up and tell-all when it comes to your health. Don't worry: Like health care providers, trainers must abide by codes of conduct and keep your health status confidential.

No one likes a complainer and, if you're a personal trainer, you really dislike complainers. You see, to a personal trainer, complaining doesn't make sense. If you're paying someone to work you out and push you, then you have to expect to be worked out pretty hard. And why would you want to complain and impede your progress? In fact, complaining takes up precious time that a trainer can use for explaining proper form for an exercise or for general dietary advice. You wouldn't want to miss that important information, would you?

Making Excuses
Many people are busy and have trouble fitting in exercise. But once you commit to working out with a trainer, refrain from making excuses for missing a workout or overeating. Be honest as to why you missed a workout or what drove you to overeat. If a trainer doesn't know the full scope of your situation, then how can he or she help you? And, for most of us, let's be honest—excuses are what has kept us from reaching our full potential. It's really in your best interest to fess up as to why you did or didn't do something. It's all part of the learning process.

This point is closely related to "making excuses" except instead of saying that your dog ate your workout plan, you fib that you skipped a third glass of wine after dinner or you really did squeeze in that circuit workout—when you didn't. Personal trainers get it. No one wants to look bad or let down their trainer, but it's essential to tell the truth.

A good trainer is constantly modifying your workout plan to fit you. And if you're not telling the truth about your workout or eating plan, then a trainer isn't going to be able to adapt your fitness plan accordingly. And at the end of the day, you're paying a trainer to help you reach your goals, so by lying, you're the one you have to face at the end of the day.

Talking Too Much (Or Not Enough)
A trainer can only design your workout based on the information you give them. If you're as closed as a clam in chilly waters, then it's darn near impossible for a trainer to help you set goals that really matter to you. On the flip side, if you're a total chatty Cathy or gossipy Glen, then you really need to make sure that your conversations with your personal trainer stay on track and are about fitness, your goals and your health. A session with a personal trainer doesn't come cheap, and you need to make sure your time is being spent discussing your weight loss—not the neighbors down the street.

And, for the record, trainers can get frustrated when they have to keep redirecting you to the task at hand (read: working out).

Not Following Your Plan
Personal trainers create a workout plan for you for a reason. It may seem random, but they have a method to their cardio and strength routines. Trainers are not expecting you to do more than your plan calls for—or less. If you work out more than called for or eat less, it can really mess with your results. And, if you do too little, then you can't expect full results. Simply put, if you believed in a trainer enough to purchase their services, then believe in them enough to follow their advice!

Wearing Overly Baggy Clothes
This may seem like an odd point to make, but it's an important one. To properly correct form when lifting weights, a personal trainer must see the angles of your body. In a lunge, they need to make sure that your knee isn't going over your toes, and, if you're doing a triceps extension, they need to know that your chin is level. However, if you have on big, baggy sweatpants or a hooded sweatshirt, then they won't be able to tell if your form is as it should be. I know that you want to be comfortable at the gym, but for your safety, a personal trainer really appreciates when you have clothes that show your full form. Spandex isn't necessary, but a big oversize T-shirt isn't helping you—or your trainer!

To get the most out of your personal training sessions, fix these faux pas and you will be on the right path to reaching your goals—and get on your trainer's good side in the process!

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Member Comments

  • I know this article is old, but I agree with one of the previous posters (ONLINEASLLOU)...
    I believe a trainer should adjust his/her style to the client, not expect the client to adjust to the trainer. A trainer's idea of pushing and my idea of pushing may be completely different and generate different results. For example, a trainer's idea of pushing could be to yell. I don't respond well to being yelled at. My idea of pushing is more along the lines of encouragement ("Come can do 1 more! You're almost there!" etc.). And as far as conversation, I'm not sure how that's an issue. For me, sometimes conversation is a good distraction from miles/minutes/rep
    s or whatever. I may have been so busy in conversation with my trainer that I got through an exercise without complaining. Sounds to me like a bunch of whiny trainers gave their 2 cents on this one.
    As a RDN, I find it concerning that personal trainers are giving diet plans and/or nutrition advice. Many health facilities strictly ban this. If you need extra guidance/instruct
    ion/motivation on your exercise and fitness, hire a personal trainer. If you need nutrition/diet/he
    althy eating help, hire a Registered Dietitian.
    I enjoyed this. But I have to add, except for a couple of the points, these are things no one wants the people they work with to do!
  • The attitude of the trainer who wrote this article is why I will probably never hire a trainer.

    If I am paying for someone's time, I expect them to adjust their approach to meet MY needs and preferences ... not the other way around. A knowledgeable and skilled professional should be committed and able to meeting the needs of the client.
    These are interesting points I haven't really considered, like the last point in the article explaining not to wear really baggy clothes. I haven't had a personal trainer before, so I don't know if this list is common knowledge for a lot of people or not. I want to hire a personal trainer to help motivate me and get me to exercise, so it'll be good to keep this article in mind. www.fortefitness.
  • I have to agree with previous posters. I think this article would do more to make me never hire a trainer, than anything else. 1. I complain a bit. Why? Because I don't tend to be forceful enough to tell it plain. I complain when an exercise is a bit hard for me. I will complain more when I think it should be modified to fit what I can do. I won't tend to just say no, I won't do that, or I can't do that, etc.

    Now, I am to the point where I won't do the excuse making, but then I have reached my weight loss goal, but there was a time when I would have. Have the time, you only slightly know in yourself it is an excuse. If trainers are too harsh, I won't go back.

    I am a very shy, low self-esteem person and this article makes hiring a trainer sound like a very bad idea for those like me. I do hope that is not the case. (Dental hygenist are bad enough!)
  • I hired a trainer only when I felt like I'd done as much as I could on my own--not as a drill sergeant, but as a teacher. When the trainer turned out to be a meathead whose only goal seemed to be to push me to the point that I HATED THE GYM and NEVER wanted to work out again, it was clear that it wasn't for me. It's too bad; I'd like to work with a good trainer who could really tailor a program that fits my needs but that experience left a bad taste in my mouth. I really feel that since I'm paying the trainer, he or she needs to work WITH me, not AT me. I don't, and never will, gain anything by being shouted at or belittled.
  • LJONES0553
    I had no idea that so many medications could cause heart problems. It has really made me consider my own.

    Lilly Jones | http://www.bancro
  • When you do something like this you must really be into this. Some peoples already don't have self confidence in themselves. So they have these peoples to help push them to their goal. They know if you are really working out. That's why I ask them things that I want to know and I do my own thing.
  • lol, all these people complaining about being called on their complaining! Are you fit or fat? If it is the latter, it is no wonder with all the whining. If you want to be the former, suck it up. A work out should be hard work or you are not getting what you paid for! Sure the client is paying the trainer and they have a "right" to complain, but the article writer is merely pointing out that too much complaining is one of the things hindering your progress. If that offends you, you are the one who needs to register the message the most! Accept it.
  • Silly article. IMPO its the trainer's job to help the person. As the commenter before said people go to a trainer to be pushed. That is what they are getting paid to do. To help the person change for the better. You also have to keep in mind that most people who see a trainer haven't exercised in quite a long time or maybe don't exactly know the ropes. So you have to expect some "complaints" and some negatives. When I choose a trainer, I usually go with someone I can work and connect with and I make whatever I have to say very clear. If I want to "complain" I will. As far as big clothing goes...some people want to dress in spandex. Its more comfortable dressing in baggy clothes. If anyone who reads this article and is now having 2nd thoughts......ple
    ase don't listen to this mumbo jumbo. There are quality trainers.
  • As a personal trainer myself, all I can say to this article is, well, something that would be censored.

    Honestly, soooo much of what this "trainer" wishes you wouldn't do are the EXACT reasons why you need a that you can learn to like exercise, so that you don't "cheat" and then lie about it. ugh.

    Too many trainers expect their clients to come to them already "trained". The VAST majority of people who hire a trainer are doing so because they need the "push". They come to you as a complainer, excuse maker, and nutrition plan faller off of er.
    They know this about themselves. THIS is why they hired help them NOT do that anymore. What this trainer seems to be saying is she just wants you to come to her already doing all the things you hired her to help you do. Kinda silly, no?

    I've had more than a few chatty clients. You find ways to deal with work them so hard they would rather not talk! ;)

    Complainers? If they aren't complaining, I'm not doing my job!

    The diet cheaters. Well uhm, yeah, it happens. I don't expect perfection. Perfection is NOT healthy. Just don't lie about it! People lie if they think there will be negative consequences, or when they feel shame, or fear they will be made to feel shame, or maybe the feel like they've let the trainer down. There is no shame in being an imperfect human being...unless you lie about it! ;)

    The over achievers who do more than they should or eat less than they should - well, for the over exercisers, I adjust their calories, for the under eaters? Work them less. You have to look at the reasons WHY people aren't following the plan and them help them find ways to follow it...or change it up so that they WILL follow it.

    Baggy clothes - I have the same "issue" with it...however, I have a bigger issue with people feeling uncomfortable during workouts. Most women want to hide their extra weight. Having been there, I understand this. If I can't get a good sense of how the body is moving...I change the exercise. Simple.

    Not withholding heal...
  • Wow when I left comments like these elsewhere on this site they were deleted.
  • While I can understand that some may feel defensive here, the point is not to put you down if you do a bit of complaining. We all do that sometimes. The point is made in conjunction with the original article (about how to choose a good trainer) that WE are actually hindering OUR OWN progress when we spend too much time chatting, complaining etc.

    We are with a trainer to optimize our time and efforts to get the best results as quickly as possible. This article is presented as a help for us to do just that. And let us all remember, the trainers are people too, they have feelings as well. If you don't have a good fit with your trainer, I did see another article on how to break up with your trainer.

    There might simply have personality differences that are hindering you both. Hope this helps, I know how hard it is to be frustrated with something so important.
  • I agree completely with TXGrandma. It's ironic that this trainer wrote a whiny, complaining article about customers who complain.

About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

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