What Your Personal Trainer Won’t Tell You

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1. Do not arrive at a training session in the following states:

1. Do not arrive at a training session in the following states:
On an empty stomach, coming off a cold/stomach bug, or on four hours’ sleep. It wastes your time and mine when your body isn’t fueled, hydrated, and ready to work.

2. If you concentrate on the exercise you are doing with me with the same intensity as telling me the latest gossip about your life, you would find it easier.

2. If you concentrate on the exercise you are doing with me with the same intensity as telling me the latest gossip about your life, you would find it easier.

3. We know you are eating more than you tell us.

3. We know you are eating more than you tell us.

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4. If you're on a budget, recruit a few friends for a small group session.

4. If you're on a budget, recruit a few friends for a small group session.
These cost less per person.

5. It takes more than writing a check or showing up for training sessions to make you fit and healthy.

5. It takes more than writing a check or showing up for training sessions to make you fit and healthy.
It’s what you do before and after you meet with your trainer, including choices with food, alcohol, workouts, and a commitment to a new lifestyle.

6. Ask you trainer what she or he does to keep educated in the field.

6. Ask you trainer what she or he does to keep educated in the field.
An educated trainer will get better results and provide variety to keep you engaged and motivated in your workouts.

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7. When you are late it is a waste of your money, a waste of my time and disrespectful.

7. When you are late it is a waste of your money, a waste of my time and disrespectful.
And we trainers see through your stall tactics. “I think I need to fill my water bottle.” “Let me get a dry towel real quick.” “Oh, I need to go to the bathroom again.” Nice try. But you’re paying for the session, so make every minute count.

8. There is a difference between pain and burn and you need to be honest with your trainer about which you’re feeling.

8. There is a difference between pain and burn and you need to be honest with your trainer about which you’re feeling.
If you push so hard that you injure yourself, we both lose.

9. Whatever the text or email says, it can wait until we’re done.

9. Whatever the text or email says, it can wait until we’re done.
And no, you cannot text and put forth 100 percent effort at the same time.

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10. I do not have time to get sick.

10. I do not have time to get sick.
Cancel your session if you’re carrying germs.

11. Gear matters.

11. Gear matters.
Don’t expect to get maximum performance and results by working out in the ratty gym shoes and shorts you dug out of that old box of college dorm clothes. Invest in a good pair of sneakers. Your feet and joints will thank you, and so will your trainer.

12. Remember that a 30-minute session at max effort is better - and cheaper - than 60 minutes of dawdling and half-effort.

12. Remember that a 30-minute session at max effort is better - and cheaper - than 60 minutes of dawdling and half-effort.

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13. Stop whining and push through those last few reps.

13. Stop whining and push through those last few reps.
Sources: Personal trainers in Vermont, Florida, California and Louisiana

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48 thoughts on “What Your Personal Trainer Won’t Tell You

  1. The number one thing your trainer won’t tell you is this: It’s possible you don’t need a trainer, or at least not for every visit to the gym.

    If you are just going for a “better than the folks who never go to the gym” level (like me), you can do that with a small amount of self-guided effort.  A good basic pattern is 15 minutes of aerobics, 30 minutes of weights, then 15 minutes of aerobics to finish.  It costs less to buy a book on the basics than it does for one training session.  If you don’t have enough self-discipline to do the exercises (and your
    whole rotation of them) correctly or completely, take a buddy.

    My own gym includes one “consultation” per month.  Check whether yours does.  Describe what you are trying to go for, and they might suggest a specific machine or exercise, and even demonstrate for 2 minutes.  Many of the trainers have to linger between appointments anyway.  Part of their duties at they gym might include this type of thing.  If not, you can still pay them for one or two session to teach yourself a good pattern, then go it alone for a few months, then check in with them.

  2. The number one thing your trainer won’t tell you is this: It’s possible you don’t need a trainer, or at least not for every visit to the gym.

    If you are just going for a “better than the folks who never go to the gym” level (like me), you can do that with a small amount of self-guided effort.  A good basic pattern is 15 minutes of aerobics, 30 minutes of weights, then 15 minutes of aerobics to finish.  It costs less to buy a book on the basics than it does for one training session.  If you don’t have enough self-discipline to do the exercises (and your
    whole rotation of them) correctly or completely, take a buddy.

    My own gym includes one “consultation” per month.  Check whether yours does.  Describe what you are trying to go for, and they might suggest a specific machine or exercise, and even demonstrate for 2 minutes.  Many of the trainers have to linger between appointments anyway.  Part of their duties at they gym might include this type of thing.  If not, you can still pay them for one or two session to teach yourself a good pattern, then go it alone for a few months, then check in with them.

  3. yes i workout with my friend and they complain the whole session and it really pisses me off, just get it done and shutup

  4. I agree with most of these except the burn or pain one.  Trainers need to verify this with their clients.  I went to a trainer to get my glutes working after back surgery and he really pushed.  I started having a pain in my hamstring and when I told him he just pushed harder.    I always heard not to push an injured muscle but he was the trainer with a masters in excercise science and other whatever certifications so I figured he knew what he was doing.  He didn’t..I just got finished with six weeks of physical therapy to fix my over-strained hamstring.

  5. I agree with most of these except the burn or pain one.  Trainers need to verify this with their clients.  I went to a trainer to get my glutes working after back surgery and he really pushed.  I started having a pain in my hamstring and when I told him he just pushed harder.    I always heard not to push an injured muscle but he was the trainer with a masters in excercise science and other whatever certifications so I figured he knew what he was doing.  He didn’t..I just got finished with six weeks of physical therapy to fix my over-strained hamstring.

  6. I agree with most of these except the burn or pain one.  Trainers need to verify this with their clients.  I went to a trainer to get my glutes working after back surgery and he really pushed.  I started having a pain in my hamstring and when I told him he just pushed harder.    I always heard not to push an injured muscle but he was the trainer with a masters in excercise science and other whatever certifications so I figured he knew what he was doing.  He didn’t..I just got finished with six weeks of physical therapy to fix my over-strained hamstring.

  7. I agree with most of these except the burn or pain one.  Trainers need to verify this with their clients.  I went to a trainer to get my glutes working after back surgery and he really pushed.  I started having a pain in my hamstring and when I told him he just pushed harder.    I always heard not to push an injured muscle but he was the trainer with a masters in excercise science and other whatever certifications so I figured he knew what he was doing.  He didn’t..I just got finished with six weeks of physical therapy to fix my over-strained hamstring.

  8. I agree with most of these except the burn or pain one.  Trainers need to verify this with their clients.  I went to a trainer to get my glutes working after back surgery and he really pushed.  I started having a pain in my hamstring and when I told him he just pushed harder.    I always heard not to push an injured muscle but he was the trainer with a masters in excercise science and other whatever certifications so I figured he knew what he was doing.  He didn’t..I just got finished with six weeks of physical therapy to fix my over-strained hamstring.

  9. agree with the cold/stomach bug…but…the advice on empty stomach is way off.  And working out with only 4 hour sleep is not optimal but doable.  Plenty of study suggest working out in a fasted state is more effective than on stomach with food in it.  Take a look at the military, PT before sunrise and we are in pretty good shape.  That said, if you’ve got hunger pains that are so intense that it is distracting, then that could be a problem.

  10. You know, if you have a personal trainer who won’t tell you most of these things, you really should get a new personal trainer.

  11. Reading this ensures that I will never waste money on hiring a personal trainer if they are going to be so disgruntled with me for not being able to keep up.  I have felt that way about a lot of the “13 Things ____ Won’t Tell You” articles.  They may feel justified in their rants, but if they are that irritated about what I’m doing as a customer, I’ll just keep my money and not bother them.

    1. There’s a difference between “not keeping up” and “not putting in effort” and if you can’t see it (clearly you can’t) you probably shouldn’t be hiring a trainer anyway.

  12. Bah!! I’ve been working out for years and with several different trainers – and they’ve been more than forthcoming with these tips! I feel this article was written by a disgruntled trainer who wants to get back at his clients.
    I expected better content from RD.

  13. I was just whinning about 2 ladies talking away while on a cardio machine the other day at the Y.  I think this just justified my rant!  Work out…don’t yap!!!

  14. # 3 is so true, I see my husband do it to me all the time. That’s why we do not agree on anything to do with health, from food to excercising.

  15. Where did you get this info from???? I’m a trainer and I tell my clients exactly those things…why wouldn’t I? I want my clients to see results and I won’t hold back. Sorry (to whoever wrote this b.s.) but you’re wrong!!

    1. Right?  As far as I’m concerned, a personal trainer who ISN’T telling their clients these kinds of things isn’t doing their job!

    2. My trainer tells me all of these things and more.  She is conscientious, well educated with a Bachelors degree in athletic therapeutics and is constantly training herself.  We are soo lucky to have her and her fellow trainers at our gym in Ponce, Puerto Rico

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