Recently, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post explaining why I believe personal trainers have a bad rap in the big picture.
I still stand by this.
The truth is, if you log on to facebook, twitter, Instagram, and the like, you’ll be exposed to plenty of videos of clients getting put through all hell in a torturous training session with a personal trainer. The hashtags follow in abundance, “encouraging” viewers to jump on the wagon, and possibly asking them what their excuse is.
Hey, I’m all for a solid training session, and I’m also for pushing clients to reach limits they may not have reached on their own. But there’s a caveat.
If you talk to any personal trainer (at least in my city), they will ALL agree that there are “lots of bad trainers out there” – But they never think that they’re one of them. Surprisingly, if you talk to 9 out of 10 personal training clients out there, they too are aware that there are many weak trainers in the industry, therefore their selection process shows a discriminating mind.
Unfortunately, that discriminating mind usually gravitates to who “gives them the best workout”. And we all know that there’s a bit more to it than that.
Of course training clients are paying a trainer to put themselves in his or her hands for the amount of time in question; that’s the entire point of personal training. But here’s my thing. In my experience, I’ve seen too many clients who seem to think that the extent of what they should expect from a trainer is simply good workouts that get them results.
What I’m saying is, a client can’t (and shouldn’t) be a training “imbecile” forever. Going through workouts that involve arbitrary movements that will beat a fat person thin is one way to get results, but the fact of the matter is that client will only have his results to talk about after the fact. Training with a military drill sergeant who Biggest-Loser-“bootcamps” clients until they’re ready to die, overlooks key principles of training that must be addressed.
With that said, it’s no secret that becoming a personal trainer doesn’t take much of anything – time, money, or brainpower. Therefore it’s also no secret that some kids are getting started fresh out of high school.
WHY I BLAME CLIENTS
In my opinion, there’s been enough bashing of our industry to make it a well-known fact that it’s hit or miss with these “professionals”. It’s time to put the clients – yes, the paying clients on the hotseat to ask them if they actually care where they’re spending their money.
To the ones who don’t care, you can move on to the next article.
In my books, personal training should obviously give clients results and a bit of a “push”, but it should also do two more things: educate the client, and create independence. If you’re not taking anything away from your sessions other than simply being wiped out, I believe you’re wasting your time – regardless of the fact that you’re losing your gut in the process.
The truth is, if a client’s not learning anything, then that means the trainer’s not teaching anything – either because he doesn’t care about what he’s doing, or because he doesn’t know. It’s only a matter of time before you probably get injured or stop seeing results due to poor technique. Part of a trainer’s job is to help a client move well, and understand his or her body, and how it works (without a crazy anatomy and physiology hybrid crash course).
The idea of creating independence seems oxymoronic in an industry like personal training, but it’s true; a good trainer will give a client, through practice, the skills necessary to be able to conduct his or her own workouts and programming, if need be. When a client who’s been working with his trainer every workout for years, has no idea what to do on his own, that’s a red flag. Yep, I said it.
I’ll say it again: Clients need to stop placing ALL of the blame on bad trainers – because we’ve already established that they’re here, and they likely will be here for a long, long time. It doesn’t mean that the clients need to go get certified themselves – that’s not the point of this.
Just as easy as it is to log on to a site, or pick up a book and get certified to do this for a living, it’s also easy to log on to a good website to read something- anything – from credible and respected sources about the most surface level training principles. I mean, if you’re really looking for a lifestyle change, the stuff should interest you anyway. Shouldn’t it?
The amount of good information that circulates the World Wide Web and even the library makes finding such info much less of an arduous task than it used to be. When you buckle down to read a few facts, you may be surprised at what you find – and I’m sure it’ll make screening for trainers who can actually prove themselves useful to clients like you, that much easier.
It’s known fact that the industry is laced with incompetent professionals – so doing your homework is just part of the breaks. So before you hit the floor to do some lateral push-ups amid sets of bosu ball burpees with your trainer, take the time to educate yourself; then at least one of you will have done so.