Confessions of a Trainer


Being a trainer is one of the most rewarding, satisfying, challenging and ever-changing careers I have ever had.  There is not to many other jobs out there in which you get to help people exercise correctly and safely all the while adding motivation, inspiration, guidance and in most cases friendship.  Most personal trainers are hopefully college graduates with a degree in exercise science and many of them may be former athletes in their days as well.  Some trainers may not have college degrees in exercise but have found a love and passion for exercise either through a significant weight loss or just a passion to help others.

Regardless of the case, every trainer should be in this business for one thing and one thing only and that is to help others.  We are here to make a change and to help clients achieve their goals no matter what the case may be whether its weight loss, more flexibility, more power, endurance, better at sports or just longevity of life.  We love to be a part of your success and a part of your life and become extremely happy and proud when you tell us you dropped 10 pounds or your clothes are fitting looser or you don’t get tired after a round of golf or that you have more stamina playing with your kids or grand kids.  We are here to provide you with the best exercise programs to fit your goals and most of us are more than just your average “meat heads”.  The good trainers should know quite a bit about almost every aspect of exercise, should be personal trainer certified, CPR certified and should also hold at least one or more other speciality certification such as FMS, CSCS, PES, CES, TRX, spin, kickboxing, yoga etc..  We have to continue to work at our certification because they expire every 2 years which means we constantly have to keep up to date with all of the continuing education with seminars, more certifications, readings and tests.

The glamorous day in the life of a trainer typically starts at 5 or 6 am in the morning depending on the trainer.  Yours truly does not operate at 5 in the morning.  I have no problem getting up at that time but not functioning at work.  Your early morning clients are your die hards, they are pretty much your bread and butters.  They are almost always on time, never cancel (even though sometimes you want them to) and are ready to work hard.   Some days trainers can work anywhere from 6 to 8 hours straight depending on how busy they may be.  It is common for trainers to have a morning set of clients such as 6 am to 12 pm and also an afternoon set like a 4-7pm.  There might be days where a trainer may be at the gym from 6 am to 6 pm and only works 4-5 hours and these days are misery.  There are some days when their schedules look like swiss cheese with so many holes in it is frightening and these days are no fun.  A day like that looks like this: you train a 6am client, 8 am, 10, 1130, 2pm, 4pm and a 6pm.  This is a long work break, work break kind of day with no real back to back clients which makes it tough to get into any flow or rhythm but also with short enough breaks to not get any errands done.  There are also days when every single client will show up early or on time and then there are days when every single client is late and this happens quite often.  Sometimes trainers will have weeks when it seems like every client goes out of town together at the same time.  Your schedule goes from 35-40 hours a week to like 20.  These weeks are a little rough on the bank account with the hours being down.  I have suggested many of times for my clients to take me with them and I will serve as their travel trainer but I have not been taken up on this offer just yet.  Being a trainer is one of the few careers as well where you get to interact with 6 to 8 different personalities every hour and finding that bond and common ground.  Some of your clients are going to be high-energy, full throttle work horses while others may be a little more mild mannered, quiet and hard working.

Let’s get into some of the nitty gritty things about personal training.  Yes I did raise the weight from the last set because if you can do 12-15 reps with ease then you can 5 to 10 pounds more the next time.  Besides, isn’t it the idea to get stronger, leaner and burn more calories?  In order to get the body you so desire, it is going to take work, heavy lifting and time, so let’s keep adding weight.  Yes, we are going to do another set, 1 set is okay, 2 sets is good and sometimes 3 to 5 sets is the best.  Yes, you can whine all you want but it is still not going to change a thing, you are still doing it again.  Yes, we do do the exercise you hate because if you were to train by yourself you would do everything you like to do and you would not get any better, that is why you hired me.  Trainer count is ALWAYS correct.  If you do not think so, count on your own, but if you short me a couple of reps then you are going to pay.  If and when trainer count is off, which rarely happens, the appropriate answer is always two more.  If you ask how many do you want and say 10, I will say 12 and if you say 15 I am going to say 20.  Sometimes odd numbers need love to, there is nothing wrong with doing reps of 9, 11 or 13.  Yes, I expect you to be early or on time.  I will always be there at least 5 minutes before the session starts waiting for you.  I believe you should never have to wait on your trainer.  You are paying me to service you for the hour so I will not be late.  My goal for the hour is to work you as hard and as much as I can with very little chit chat.  I want you to get the most out of the hour and get the most in because I know my time is valuable and limited.  However, it is your hour and whatever you want to do we can do.  If you want to pay me to go for a walk, hike, grab a coffee or play basketball with you then that is fine by me.  We or maybe just me, hate the word toned.

Everything we do is going to take time to see, be patient and believe in what we are doing.  The more we put into it, the more we will get out of it.  Remember that you did not get fat/overweight in one day so let’s not expect to get lean and ripped in one day either.  Just some insight into the world and the head of a trainer.  Remember to have a great day and if you lose count of your reps just do 2 more.




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