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Personal Trainers Teaching Failure!

Here is my experience with personal trainers. All trainers should learn from this article!

To those who do not know who Nietzsche is or know him but want to know him better tantalized over the state of human beings and degradation of values. His final work was a compilation by a great number of notes, which became The Will To Power.

In his reflexive questioning he states, "Values and their changes are related to increases in the power of those positing the values."(14) Thus, begins MY re-evaluation of personal trainers for hire.


Success - The Anticipation

I set up an appointment for a free orientation for a body fat analysis, and getting set up on an exercise regime such as what machines to use, how to use them, etc.

Failure 1 - The Disappointment

The lady at the counter was not very helpful but set up an appointment with a trainer. When I showed up the next week the trainer didn't. She uttered some excuse that he has another job and couldn't make it. So, I scheduled another appointment with another trainer. He DID show up but had me workout with a paying client. Was this unusual? He basically had me workout on only five machines doing 60 reps each.

The paying client was very much in shape and was in advanced training, yet I did the same reps and machines that he did. One machine was where I placed both arms in a sling and hung my body and did 60 reps where I had to raise my lower body at a 90-degree angle (hanging leg raises). It was a killer!!

Failure 2 - The Confusion

The trainer said that I would be very sore the next day. Not only was I sore the next day but the rest of the week my back and arms were killing me. I don't want to appear like a weakling but I am still feeling back pain one week later and find it hard to even get in and out of the car. Is this typical for a first workout?? I didn't receive any body analysis or anything. Shouldn't cardiovascular exercise be part of my exercise? Did I receive proper service or is this typical and I need to get over it?


The Value Diminished

I've been training for 25 years, been involved in the fitness industry for eight and personal training for three. I have SEEN and learned a lot the past three years. I must admit, success in the personal training industry is not easy, especially for one who is not genetically gifted or politically talented. Yet, the best stuff needed (and clients will appreciate and like you for) to succeed or be the best trainer you can possibly be are FREE to you and NO CHARGE to clients! They are:

    1. Your own passion toward personal fitness with something to SHOW!
    2. A lifestyle or image that exemplifies BASIC KNOW-HOW!
    3. Willingness to service others in their personal fitness to EXCITE!

Health clubs should include at least some sort of courtesy introductory fitness training session, orientation or fitness evaluation with a trainer for members not interested in doing any personal training. In this/these session(s) the trainer is supposed to "show how to use" certain exercises (not to personalize a training program) and at the end of the session(s) the member can decide whether s/he wants to purchase any personal training sessions (to provide a personalized training program).

Many serious people involved or wanting to get involved in their personal fitness don't know the value of personal training probably because some trainers don't provide that! And that's a damn shame. Unfortunately, most trainers have risen to the occasion of being young, dumb and full of cum!

Minimum Qualifications

I studied Exercise Science and received my bachelors in 1987. I first applied for a personal trainer position at the gym I train at in 1989. I re-applied in 1994, 1996 and 1997, but to no avail on all occasions. That didn't stop me. I re-applied again in the spring of 1999. The gentleman I spoke to gave me some useful tips on how to get the ball rolling to be accepted or employed as a personal trainer. I followed his advice and at my expense registered for a personal training certification costing $400 without guarantee I would pass the test and receive my certification for professional personal training.

Fortunately I passed and became certified. Being armed with my certification I re-applied in the summer of 1999 by providing very little information about myself - hoping to pass myself off as just another interested trainer, but with an edge - a bona fide personal trainer and CPR certification. I was hired the following week. I wanted to believe I was hired on the basis of my experience, college education and my own passionate pursuit of my personal fitness but it wasn't. I later found out that my "personal reference" tilted in my favor.

It is too easy to become a personal trainer, even if that is not your professional pursuit. People wanting to become personal trainers do not need a college degree, a certification for personal training, and not even passionate toward personal fitness! Where is the personal trainer's investment sum or record? It is not what you know but who you know and don't have these days to become hired! Re-evaluation of all values please!

No Commitment

You are right it was not fair to you for the first trainer not to show up. It lacks commitment on his/her part and unwillingness to help a new member "without being paid" or paid "minimum wage." But that shouldn't matter. What should matter to the trainer is that s/he is assisting to improve or increase another's fitness because s/he knows the results it brings and understands the joy it brings others wanting to become fit whether that be a smile, a smaller waist, bigger arms, or a change in wardrobe.

That's the hang up with trainers who shouldn't be trainers. They enter this business either as a "change of career" or hear it's a good opportunity to make "lots of $$$." Wrong motivation. Some trainers become trainers so they can get a "FREE membership" at the club where they are at so they can train for FREE! That blows my mind. If training is indeed part of the prospective trainer's lifestyle s/he should get a membership at the club s/he wants to train and then apply to become a trainer. That shows personal commitment!

Training you with a paying client boggles my mind. That was not fair both to you or his client. And to take you on the same workout as his "advanced" client! That is very disrespectful of you and your personalized goals. This club of trainers should be following a set fitness training protocol to familiarize new members or guests with a standard workout protocol. If you did not get this particular service ask for it. You are entitled to it.

Unnecessary and Unfair Exercises

Some trainers think of themselves of having to train their client hard so they feel pain. I remember watching one inexperienced trainer showing a beginning trainee how to use the cable machine for standing cable flyes (Cable flyes is an advanced exercise you see in those muscle books and guys doing them to refine their already developed muscles to bring out more detail for contest readiness!) to exercise the chest muscles! She was in a lot of pain the next day and the following days (she told me after becoming acquainted with her and her training). She didn't like the trainer or his training. The smart thing she did was to complain about it to his fitness manager. Her training and muscle soreness experience had a negative impact on her fitness and training because she nearly refused to complete the rest of her sessions!

Pretentious Knowledge and $$$ Motivated

Trainers may also perform some highly advanced or "new" exercise to dazzle their client to show off their pretentious knowledge or the latest they learned from one of their certification courses. I saw one trainer demonstrate to her client how to do a squat while holding an exercise ball out in front of her with her back turned from the mirror facing the crowd in the gym! Do you think doing this exercise in front of everybody made her feel good and comfortable? I doubt it. Does the trainer do exercises like these herself? I think not. Basic core exercises are absent from trainers.

For 25 years I have been using basic core exercises to continue to build more muscle and get more cut! Some people don't come to the gym because they are intimidated and feel uncomfortable. I joined my first gym after training at home for a year until I built myself up physically and gained more confidence.

These pseudo-inexperienced trainers believe that giving their client pain or showing off their knowledge is an indication of being a good trainer and a mark of excellence for potentially resigning the client to spend more $$$ on more sessions so the trainer can make more $$$ and, thus, partake in the measurement of success! Politically and money-motivated trainers are trained to be good sales people, which, forces the client into more sessions and creates dependency on the trainer so the pseudo-trainer can celebrate in her/his "sin par excellence!"

All this and more paints a bleak and negative picture and purpose for passionate and highly motivated personal trainers who provide real knowledge, applicable training and a complete exercise program for the client to create dependency on her/himself for future training "on their own."

Superior Genetics or the Politically Motivated

Most trainers come from having athletic backgrounds or better genetics. That's another reason why some join the personal trainer business. They think their looks or superior genetics will make them successful. If superior genetics do not help trainers become successful then it is the politics of kissing ass to gain leverage in favor to the hierarchical order of the bureaucracy. But these trainers lack one important aspect of the business what new gym members are looking for - identification. From a philosophical point of view, identification is projecting oneself into another for understanding her/him better of giving right needs. To recognize true needs is to provide genuine service.

Trainers must be involved in their own personal fitness and have the right heart to help the new gym member/client succeed not fail. This should be a trainer's priori. I was happy to hear an instructor of a re-certification personal training course re-iterate the hang-up of some trainers "showing off" their good looks or superior genetics. I come from a non-athletic background. I was one of those guys in P.E. class that was one of the last picked for a team sport. I started bodybuilding when I weighed 115 pounds. Now I weigh 200. I am stronger, have more energy, look and feel better and have more confidence. And that is what your average health club member wants too.

No Directional Goals

A needs and analysis should be a part of any health club goal assessment to tell you of your present fitness and set specific weekly and monthly goals to accomplish the long-term goal(s). A needs/analysis should discuss your medical history (any health problems or physical that would hinder movement or load placement), food habits, current cardio (if applicable), which supplements you are taking, weight training experience and how the trainer can tie all these components to help you by involving yourself in her/his "professional" personal training services.

An assessment should involve taking measurements, weight and a body fat test to "measure change" in 4-6 weeks. The body fat test tells you how much fat and muscle weight you have and can determine your nutrition regarding amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, total calories and food ratio. The purpose of an assessment is to involve yourself in your own fitness by setting goals but first having a vision of what you want to accomplish and an inner mission to keep you motivated to SUCCEED not fail!

Copyright © 2002 Randy Herring