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Few things Personal Trainers shouldn’t do but they are..

I have been in this industry for a good 8 years now and i have seen some weird some unprofessional and even outrages things that trainers do. This industry is the best that i have come across to work in and the satisfaction that comes with it is never too much as we always strive to make ourselves better to help clients. Unfortunately, there are many of them who just wants to get noticed quickly and do whatever that is to help strive their personal business. I personally know a few trainers myself that gives what the clients is paying for. Now don’t get me wrong, i am not hating on my own profession but i am only hating those who make me look and sound bad as a professional. This heartfelt article goes out to clients as well to those who might be reading this, please be aware that there are many trainers just like me that takes your time seriously and hope to not waste your time or ours. If anyone is wanting to differentiate someone who is worth their time to be paid as their personal trainer(s) here are some of the “contraindications” you can look out for. After going through some “characters” and finding out that you or your personal trainer is guilty of it and not changing anything……i’d only have one thing to say. Good for you.    

   The “healer”


Can you feel that? Let me help.

This is the trainer/coach that prefers to be very hands on. Now unless you are doing a massage therapy, i highly doubt that there is a need to touch your client EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Placing your fingers or palm on a certain parts of the muscle can definitely help with the mind muscle connection so that clients understand what needs to be engaged and what not to engage. If you have to touch, use your index and middle to help your client and then use more cueing to allow them to understand. Not constant touch. Its is disgusting, unprofessional and downright wrong. Personal trainers are not the only one that has lawsuits coming after us for this very reason of “outrage of modesty” and i hope that ALL trainer should never be on any case like this. This would be a great example of you can assist your client for the mind muscle connection and still stay professional:

Me: Placing my pen on the lats, i ask the client to pull the lat pull down to her chin and hold it there. Asking her, can you feel this part contracting?

Client: Yes.

Me: Good, we will try and do a few more reps with you trying to “feel” the same part working and getting them tired so that we know you are working the same muscles and not your shoulders shrugging up.

Client: I will try! (after a few reps of controlled movements)….Oh yeah i can feel it!

Me: There you go!


 The “spotter”



Where do i even start with this? Read this many many many times please. If it feels wrong and looks wrong, you’re most probably doing it WRONG! Maybe this spotting thing takes a bit of a practice, learn from many trainers out there that knows exactly to stand for every movements the put their client through.  There are some of them who is a combination of the “healer” and the “spotter” together and it makes me wonder how and why can the clients not say anything? Maybe because they think it is right of you to do so as clients think whatever trainers do is right as we have “studied” for this. Sometimes in a gym setting where there is many people training alongside the spotter, it amazes me that they’re oblivious to their positioning of themselves to a client.


 The “Gadget guy”



Gadget guy isn’t so bad, he’s just certified with all of the toys and he sees many benefits to all of the toys he has bought! I like them myself more than any type of trainers actually. These guys are normal going for courses after courses to lee their knowledge current and wanting to help clients fast track their goals, but most of the clients who comes in  are less than your average joe and they don’t need all those fancy toys to play with. Sure they’re fun, sure they’re challenging but are they in most cases really necessary? Ask yourself this question. Squatting on a boss ball with a client who has a lack of mobility in the ankle is brewing trouble for the trainer. Is doing the battling ropes with a client whose traps are activated constantly with a tight pec minor(upper cross syndrome) beneficial for fat loss? Think again. Most of our clients needs to master the basics first before even loading them into an unstable environment, doing plyometrics, olympic lifts etc you get the idea. Make them master the basics and work out the kink that they have and sure enough they will feel better, move better and ultimately reach their goals faster.


  The ‘Head Turner”  

This is sure to turn a few head his way.

This is sure to turn a few head his way.

Is there a need to put your untrained clients into a position that can cause more problem to solve than the cover of mens health magazine? Im sure we have seen this a plenty in gyms especially commercial ones. Clients are more than happy to try anything that challenges the whole body in stability, mobility, strength,endurance, balance and of course with the trainer’s watchful eyes. When things go wrong and they do go wrong most times, the trainer will quickly glance around and smile as if the client is a veteran at juggling weights standing on top of the wobble board. I know that doing this might look good and might even bring you prospect clients but look at it at the bigger picture that when your paying client gets injured or worse still sue you for negligence of duty, there is not a single head that will turn after that towards you. Making your client move better than yesterday or last session will always be a better way of improving his quality of life, if he’s moving better he will be talking to his friends that you are definitely doing something right and before you know it….more referrals. You don’t have to make your clients go through fancy movement just to have your name carved in the stone, all you need to do is make your client move and make sure he moves well. When a client does something like the squat under load with perfect posture, you are more bound to turn more heads as people are always keen on learning the correct techniques and not injure themselves!


 The “Broker”



While you work out he’s busy checking stocks or so what it seems like. Constantly on the phone. Which client would be a part of this where they pay you $80 to text your friends or check in on facebook by the hour? (if you know any refer them my way please). Seriously? He’s using an app on your program on the phone or iPad? Wouldn’t you prefer to DIY and save yourself that money then? I have personal ethic issues with trainers who are doing this bad habit as they for one very obvious reason, do not take their profession seriously, two, they think clients are unaware of it and three, they are just oblivious to their clients training as they are already paid for. I have had many clients whom i have taken over their previous trainer only to tell me that they’re surprised that i don’t touch my phone at all during our sessions. Be a bit more professional and put your phone on silent or better still leave it at the desk until you finish your session. If you really have to use your phone , make sure you tell your client to give you a few minutes before starting the session and when you start the session, give your clients what they came and paid for. They will thank you when they see other trainers training their clients side by side with you.        


 The “Housewife”



I don’t have much to say on this but trainers please don’t get yourself to gossip amongst your clients about other trainers or coaches as it only makes you look bad, not the one that you’re talking about. Positivity, dedication, passion and testosterone is what makes the fitness industry what it is. Not negativity, low dedication, procrastination and oestrogen (which is why you gossip too much). If you have to, gossip about fitness and how others made to their goals faster and retained it. If your client wants to gossip about your colleague, just say that you have more interest in their training and would rather talk about how to get them to achieve their goals faster. How professional and profound would that make you look like then hey. After all, you don’t want to be stuck with someone who’s always negative when you’re training them, trust me.


The “Clinician/Rehab Trainer”



If you are more than qualified to ‘fix” someone up then please by all means. There is a fine line with being able to help rehabilitate a client from a post surgery and trying to impose a fitness solutions to a medical problem. With all the array of certifications available now that allows one to use the title rehab specialists, certified rehab trainers etc personal trainers are not referring cases which needs to be assessed by a qualified practitioner and yet try to solve what the can’t seem to do…connect the dots. There is no harm saying the obvious that you do not know and that you are not highly trainer in that area. Working with a qualified practitioner is always a good idea. How so? Safe progression is the key word here. Think of it as your family members that’s training, if something is wrong with them while training or they get hurt and you can’t figure things out wouldn’t you quickly refer them to someone who can help you get an affirmative answer for you to begin training and make changes accordingly? See when you know your real job scope as a fitness trainer or a personal trainer is, you will know the limitations of it and refer out whenever you have to. If you don’t want to do that take a formal studies that will help you propel yourself to help clients as well to be able to diagnose them. So if you’re unsure of your clients medical and health conditions, always refer out. Your clients will be happy knowing that they’re on the right track and that you know your job best (fitness training). Don’t try to fix them with them only to come back to you with the same problem that they came to you ages ago, it only means you did nothing for them. Do what you do best and do it right.

About Jab

Delusionally Optimistic Personal Trainer and Manual Therapist. Lifetime foodie advocate.


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