Personal Trainers Are People Too

Personal trainers are people too. Today, I’m going to be a little self-indulgent. Now this can be a very rewarding job, monetarily and the difference you can make in people’s lives, but it can also be really tough. I’ve seen a lot of personal trainers come and go, some very good people, some who cared, some who could genuinely have made a difference, because it’s really tough. It’s a dog eat dog industry, with all manner of shady tactics being used, but clients, and potential clients, aren’t helping.

First things first, a message to everyone, be honest. If you don’t want personal training, if you can’t afford it, if you only want an induction, whatever it is, tell us upfront. Please. We won’t bite your head off, or at least we shouldn’t. Personally, I’d much rather know the situation upfront. Between my sessions, session preparations, reading up and learning, my time is precious, and when I used to work in a gym, I would easily be doing well into double figures worth of free sessions a week for people, for no return. Most personal trainers are self-employed, they pay rent for the “pleasure” of working in that gym, and they are not paid for those things they do. Now this often surprises people, so when you’re using your free session for the sake of it, with no intention of continuing, you’ve just wasted an hour or so for that personal trainer. And they’ve probably gone into it with hope of securing a vital client, hope that’s soon dashed. But even worse than that, is when people make promises or claims they were never going to follow through on. I have had so many people lie to my face, “Yeah, I definitely want personal training,” or “Yeah, I was thinking of two sessions a week,” and then you never see or hear from them ever again. And that hurts both of us, I’m left deflated, and you’re too ashamed to come to the gym again. So, just tell the truth, and save us both the hassle.

A fair amount of personal training, especially in the early days, is spent worrying. Even now, I live in constant fear of my phone. Every time it goes off, every time I receive a message, my first instinct is, “Who’s cancelling a session now?” It’s brutal. When times are tough, like in the early days, and I was living hand-to-mouth, every cancellation was not only hitting my pocket, but it was hitting my mind. “How am I going to survive this week, is this the right career for me, am I doing something wrong?” All of these questions, and that’s why not many last, that’s why you see a constant stream of new personal trainers in your gym. It’s brutal. And the excuses certainly don’t help. “Oh, I’m feeling ill,” but then why do I see you in the pub on the way home…? And let me tell you, you last minute cancelers are the worst. That’s just nasty. I’ve spent time prepping your session, I’ve either made my way to the gym, or I’ve stayed on after my last session, or I’ve arranged sessions purposefully around yours, and because you couldn’t be bothered, I’m now left hanging. So, stop that, or at least have the decency to cover the cost of the session.

Now I know some of you might have had bad experiences with personal trainers, but so what? You’ve probably had bad experiences with doctors, but you go back to another one. You’ve probably had bad experiences with relationships, but you go back to another one. You’ve probably had bad experiences with kebabs, and yet, come the weekend, there you are, back buying another one in the early hours of the morning. And that’s the beauty of personal training too, you’re not tied down. They can’t keep your money for services they haven’t provided, and if you’re not happy, you can just change your PT. There are plenty of us about! Find one that works for you, find one you click with, especially if it’s something you’re interested in. And don’t worry about your old personal trainer, do what’s right for you.

There’s a bad reputation surrounding personal training, but I can honestly say that applies to the small minority of personal trainer

s. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, and working with a lot of good ones throughout the years. Don’t tar us all with the same brush, keep trying until you find a good one, one that cares. I promise you, it won’t take long. A good PT can help you change your life, but remember, we’re people too, and your actions can demoralise that good PT, your actions can affect the effort that good PT puts into you, your actions can force that good PT out of the industry. Treat your personal trainer with the same respect you expect in return. I’ll see you next week.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer