Guest Post By: Irma Ilao, CPT, SFN, SET
Last week, I had an exterminator come over for a routine evaluation as I will be purchasing my home next month. He asked to look at the basement and so I led him downstairs. As he sees my home gym he says, “Wow, you have lots of gym equipment down here.” I reply, “Yes, I’m a personal trainer.” He replies, “Oh, that explains a lot…[long pause], so is it true that…?” And then I prepared myself for all the questions…
I find that everywhere I go, as soon as someone finds out what I do for a living, they will have an opinion, a question or a statement about the gym, exercise and/or personal training. Love or hate fitness, it is always an interesting topic of conversation. And don’t get me wrong, I love discussing and answering people’s questions. And many comments amuse and intrigue me, but there are a few comments that do get under my skin.
8 Things Personal Trainers Hate to Hear
1. “You must like to yell at people a lot.” My training technique is assertive, positive and educational. I don’t find myself yelling in an aggressive intimidating manner. It is not in my character. And in my opinion, it is not the way to encourage and motivate someone to exercise. But for some reason, many people think that signing up with a personal trainer means army boot camp. Not all trainers are the drill sergeant type. In fact, most are not at all and it is really just one of the many stereotypes placed upon them.
2. “I bet you are really good at sports.” Assuming every trainer plays sports is like saying every doctor can perform surgery. I did not grow up athletic or interested in sports. I stood on the sidelines and was picked last in gym class for a team. I remember being laughed at when I was weighed in front of everyone for being only 70lbs in high school. I was physically weak. I’m fit now because I love to exercise and lift weights. I love making my body strong and building muscle. But becoming fit did not make me all of a sudden interested in playing sports.
3. “Want to sign up for ten 5k’s this year?” Many of my clients are very goal oriented and I encourage that. If they need to train for an event to be motivated, by all means, sign up for it all. However, for me, I am active all day training others and am already on a strict personal regimen myself. So my idea of leisure time involves the couch and a movie or laying on the beach. And for a good time…getting out of sneakers and throwing on a pair of heels for a fancy evening out beats getting muddy during a mud run any day!
4. “I don‘t want to be friends with you on social media because you will judge all my bad eating.” Those who know me know my weakness for sugar. Like most people, I have a sweet tooth and I understand the struggle. And I honestly do not hide it on my personal page or my business page. I love eating healthy but I will have my cake too. I prefer people to know that I just love to eat! I’m not a fitness model or competitor that needs to be on a restrictive diet all the time.
5. “Why do people need a trainer? Just look up everything on youtube.” There are people out there who are very self-motivated when it comes to exercise. And that’s awesome. But there are even more people who are not. Do not discourage these people from reaching out to a professional who can help them get started on a fitness regimen. It’s not just about motivating them or making them accountable, but it’s providing them knowledge and tools to maximize their results.
6. “Your client is already thin. Why does she need to work out?” With age, our metabolism slows down. I noticed that rather quickly in my late twenties/early thirties. I could not just eat anything that I wanted without seeing and feeling the consequences. Also, exercise does not always mean losing weight…it could simply be for maintaining a healthy weight and gaining lean muscle. Being active keeps your heart and lungs strong and manages stress levels. Skinny or overweight, our bodies are meant to move.
7. “Personal trainers just want to take advantage of you and charge you a lot of money.” Personal training is a service and like anything else, we get paid to provide that service. But to say we take advantage indicates it is easy money. If I wanted easy money I would not have chosen a profession where I have to bust my butt marketing constantly. Maybe if I lived closer to the city where trainers are more sought out, it would be different. But I live in a small town in the country. I keep my fees very reasonable because it is already a challenge to get clients to walk through my door. I’m grateful for the consistent flow of business but to say it is just about the money is clearly untrue. This is an inspired and passion driven profession. We do what we do because we love the work and care about our client’s well being.
8. “Personal trainers are superficial and arrogant who just want to flex.” Certified personal trainers are educated in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology and nutrition. Having a sculpted body is merely the application of that knowledge and a representation of what they can do for you. I believe it’s important to look the part when your career is all about health and fitness. Unfortunately, such emphasis on physical attributes can be viewed as superficial and then translate further as being arrogant. True there are those few that give the good ones a bad rap. If your trainer cares more about flexing their muscles and using your time to demonstrate how heavy they can lift, find a new trainer. A good trainer values your time, pays attention to your form and execution, and also educates you and monitors your progress.
About the Writer:
Irma Ilao is a Certified ISSA Elite Trainer, Fitness Nutritionist, and Specialist in Exercise Therapy. She trains clients at her home facility and also at 4Ever Fitness in Milford, NJ. She is also a fitness blogger and photographer at beyourownfit.com.
Her passion for fitness began long before being a certified trainer and hopes to always carry and spread positive energy for healthy active living.