Listen Up! Here’s What to Expect From a Personal Trainer
Have you ever wondered what to expect from a personal trainer? Personal trainers are a dime-a-dozen. However, a personal trainer of quality can be hard to find. A good personal trainer needs to have the necessary skills, experience, and knowledge of his or her primary job. Their personal and professional accomplishments can be an indicator of their expertise level. Don’t confuse qualification with certification. Qualification simply means whether or not one can do the job being asked. Certification is the paper that is supposed to suggest if one is qualified for a job.
You might think a qualified personal trainer is one that has one of those weekend or online course certifications. Yes, anyone can take a personal training course and get a certification. That doesn’t mean that the trainer is worth his or her salt. A trainer can be qualified but not certified. A trainer can also be certified, but not qualified. A certification is just a piece of paper.
A certification is simply a piece of paper that shows a person paid for and completed a course. I could take a course on how to sell insurance. That doesn’t mean that I know all the specifics, ins and outs, and details about selling insurance. Selling insurance takes the desire, the know-how, taking and passing the course, and working in the field to gain experience. An insurance agent will get his or her best training under an apprenticeship.
While personal training is not selling insurance, trainers can fall under the same type of umbrella format of knowledge and experience. Your trainer’s job is to create a safe and effective training program for your current fitness level and ensure it’s progressive. Your trainer will watch how you move, look for muscular imbalances, and demonstrate proper form. In addition, he or she will journal your workouts and ensure you are making progress each training session.
Personal Training is a Business
Personal trainers are usually independent contractors. This means they work for themselves. They set their own hours. Most personal trainers have to hold down more than one job to support themselves since they don’t train people every hour from 9-5. Personal trainers have to schedule their lives and jobs around their client’s schedules. Most trainers work early hours, as early as 4:30 am to very late hours, as late as 10 pm. Therefore, expecting your trainer to jump the moment your text goes through is pretty impractical.
Calling and Texting Your Personal Trainer
Today, we are in a technology dominating world. It’s easy to zap an email or text message these days. However, you do not own your personal trainer. A personal trainer is not your servant. A quality personal trainer is a professional and you should respect his or her personal time, space, and schedule. If possible, try to keep calls and text messages during standard business hours, which are generally Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. You can certainly call or text on the weekend, holidays, evening hours, nights, off business hours. However, that doesn’t mean he or she MUST answer.
Don’t Be This Guy…
Did you know that your personal trainer probably has a life outside of you and the gym? I had a male client. I let him know well in advance that I was getting married. During our last training session for that week, I reminded him. I told him that I would be back on the following Monday.
Get this; on the last day of my honeymoon, on a holiday weekend night, he texted that night, during off business hours, wanting a 7 am training session the next morning. I did not see it because I was still on my honeymoon, giving time and attention to that. When I got up the next morning, I saw his text. I apologized that I missed it and asked if he would like to reschedule.
He got all butt-hurt. Never spoke to me again and literally turned his nose up at me at the gym. That’s a shame that he thinks he is the center of the Universe! Do not text your trainer at 7 pm, especially during his or her honeymoon, expecting a training session at 7 am the next morning. That’s a jack ass move; don’t be a jack ass.
Perhaps he should have set up is training schedule before I left on my honeymoon. He even could have scheduled it during that week. But to text me at 7 pm, knowing I was on my personal scheduled time, and to get butt-hurt? Seriously. People need to realize that they may think they are entitled, but in the real world, it means noting.
Let’s Talk More on Entitlement
Entitlement is an ingrained personality attribute characterized by the belief that one-self is more deserving of resources and preference before, or more than, others are. When you are entitled, you put yourself on a pedestal. It’s the false belief that you come before everyone and everything else. Your entitlement doesn’t mean anything to your personal trainer. Your trainer is a professional and should be treated as such. If you get butt-hurt because your personal trainer has a life, then you’ll just go around being butt-hurt all the time. Treating people with respect goes a long way. If you expect to be treated with respect, then treat your personal trainer with respect.
Personal Trainers Lives are PRN
PRN stands for pro re nada, a Latin phrase that translates to as needed or as the situation arises. Many personal trainers work PRN, meaning they work when and where needed. That could be anytime, anywhere.
It’s a challenging job. We don’t get much downtime. I, personally, run from one client to the next and from one job to the next, all day, every day. It takes energy, time, and effort to thoughtfully engage with the various personalities we encounter on a daily basis. On top of that, we manage our time, business, and client’s expectations, and their progress. I train clients 6 days a week, from sunrise to sun set. It can become mentally and physically exhausting. Therefore, we are entitled to self-care and to manage our stress to help our clients with their fitness goals.
Your personal trainer is working for you. It’s their job. Therefore, show up on time, and don’t waste their time by constantly going over time. If you have to miss a session, contact your trainer ASAP. If you miss a scheduled training session with no notification, that’s on you. You are expected to pay since that’s time your trainer carved out for you. If you miss a training and your trainer showed up, he or she will be pissed. That’s an hour he or she could have scheduled someone else or a personal appointment with a doctor, contractor, dentist, etc.
In addition, pay your trainer on time. Most personal trainers take payment the day of the session. If you don’t pay your trainer before the session, most definitely pay them afterwards. You expect pay on time for the work that you do, so does your personal trainer. Paying your trainer late without discussing it before hand is disrespectful. When trainers know they have a client on a certain day at a certain time, that’s payment he or she is expecting that day. Being late on payment could cause a cascade of issues for your trainer.
What to Expect From a Personal Trainer
If you train with me, you will notice that I’m very interactive with you. I won’t bring my cellphone on the gym floor when I’m with you. In fact, I’ll track your progress using a training log. In addition, I’ll encourage you. I’ll push you mentally and physically. I’m there for you when you have a hard day. I engage with every client I work with. When you ask questions, you will get the raw truth. Most of the time I have an answer. If I don’t, I will find you the answer. I will watch how you walk, move, and lift. Sometimes I can find imbalance in your stature. I will recommend physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, detoxing, acupuncture, etc. If I feel you are malnourished, I’ll recommend a nutrition plan, even a quality place to get vitamins.
Keep in mind that a quality personal trainer will only work as hard for you as you do for yourself. If you show up for your training bitching and moaning, talking about all the junk you ate, and you find it too hard to eat a certain amount of protein, your trainer is taking mental notes. Why would a trainer keep plowing away, working extremely hard for you, if you aren’t giving a rat’s ass about your nutrition? If your trainer sees you not putting for at least 85%, chances are, he or she will hold back on pushing you hard or showing you advance exercises. Put in what you want to get out.
Reasons to Leave Your Personal Trainer
You don’t necessarily have to HAVE a reason to leave your personal trainer. However, if you feel you are not being treated fairly, by all means, jet. So, reasons people may leave their trainer is due to lack of results. More often than not, that’s the client’s fault for not following a diet of quality. Most clients want high-quality personal training, yet eat junk (restaurant food, fast food, processed food, sweets, etc.) 4 days a week, if not more. The truth is, you won’t really see real results until you clean up your diet and follow it consistently. Diet lies heavily on the client, not the trainer. Your trainer can’t control what you eat when you are away from the gym.
Other reasons you may leave your trainer are:
- If your trainer is not pushing your hard enough in the gym
- Your workout isn’t personalized
- Pushing or hard selling of supplements by your trainer
- Your trainer is unprofessional
- Body shaming to motivate
- Trainer is locked-in on one style of training
- Lack of using progressive overload
- Not journaling trainings
- Not working on your form
- Lack of educating you
This is just scratching the surface. Quite frankly, you should respect your personal trainer if he or she has earned it. Realize that your personal trainer is not your slave. If you don’t want your job contacting you in the evening when you are with your family and personal time, don’t do it to your trainer and expect an answer or scheduled training session 12 hours later.
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