OyChicago blog

Firing your personal trainer

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It’s happened to me. Some, I didn’t work hard enough; others, I worked too hard. One time, this woman called me and said, “I have severe post workout muscle soreness, I can’t come anymore.” Another time, I had a slick trainer steal my client with a smooth promotion...Sure I was pissed at first, but that client started busting her butt and working out everyday and I’m proud of her. If you’re not getting the results you want, speak up and make a change.

Like any healthy relationship, communication is the key to a good training season. I always ask my clients, how do you feel, is this too easy, is this too hard. But, I wasn’t always like that. When I first started training people, I just wanted to break them down Jillian Michaels style. My first job at Bally’s was to train people who bought a membership and got three free sessions. The hope—that these people would continue to train once the sessions ran out. Well, my first month, many people never came back after the first free session. This one girl told me she had to go to the hospital because her butt muscles were so sore (get your head out of the gutter). My response was, “really?” Her answer, “no, but I couldn’t walk right for a week.” And she never came back. Whether your trainer is a friend, coworker, parent or me—be vocal. If you’re trainer doesn’t listen, pink slip him.

Even if you’re not about to fork over money for a trainer, learn to have good form some other way. You can do this by watching demonstrations on Youtube or asking someone at your gym. When I see trainers letting their clients get away with bad form, it rips away at my insides; I just want to yell, “DUDE! LOOK AT THEIR BACK!” I actually lost a client because she wanted to be beaten like an egg but had horrible form and I wouldn’t do it. She couldn’t figure out why her knee hurt or why she kept spraining her ankle. Well, work on balance and core strength! A good trainer should help you prevent injury and other health issues. When I train people, I look at the following signs:

• Heavy breathing
• Bad form
• Heart rate
• Shortness of breath
• Core Strength
• Posture
• Gait

Do not use the Biggest Loser as guidelines for healthy living. It’s unrealistic to lose 10 pounds in one week, and it’s not good for you. I’m all for a ball-busting workout, but build up to that carefully. If your motivator is making you puke or feel light headed, take it down a notch. I had one client who was a freak of nature for 45 minutes and after that he crashed. It could be diet, sleep or fitness level but listen to your body. Don’t get me wrong, slackers will not see results.

Speaking of slackers, remember, training is not talking time. Whether you are working out with a friend or trainer, you still need to be working. I’m all for small talk, but come to the gym to workout. If your workout buddy is a chatty Cathy, you have a few options:

• Nicely tell them to shut up
• Find a new partner
• Stay on task, hurry to the next exercise

Most trainers, including me, are part therapist, but when it’s time to work we get quiet.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think you should enjoy your workout. I’m no Chris Rock, but I try and make my sessions fun and enjoyable. If you really hate the gym, find something you enjoy, like dancing or boxing, and if your trainer is mean, fire him. I had a friend tell me her trainer was mean to her. She asked me what to do; I gave her the name of a nice trainer. She now looks great and actually looks forward to her workouts. So stop reading already, and go have some fun in the gym!

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