I describe some of the common obstacles that personal trainers and nutritionists face, take a look from our perspective and find out how you could avoid making common mistakes.
I am one of the lucky ones in this world that can get up and look forward to going to work. It’s rare you hear people do a job they actually enjoy nowadays. Most people are busting their ass off for a job that they hate. Anyway enough of that, this blog is about my job as a personal trainer. On times throughout this article it will come across like I am complaining about my occupation but that is far from the truth. I am just educating you on what a Personal Trainer has to deal with on a daily basis. I have heard many of my clients say to me that my job is really easy, which is actually true when I have a client that listens to me and sticks to their training and nutrition routine that I have laid out. However, a lot of clients do not. There are numerous problems that a personal trainer has to deal with in order to try and get results for individuals.
A decent personal trainer will put together a plan that is specific to the clients goals and lifestyle. I have no doubt that most Personal Trainers are doing this which is great. Although, that isn’t the issue. The problem is getting the client to stick to it. I have seen it at both ends. I have seen clients who have not stuck to their plan at all and clients who are doing too much and not allowing their body to recover. Take a guess who the clients think should take blame for their lack of progress…yes you guessed it, the Personal Trainer. It’s hard for people to understand that if they are not sticking to their programme then they won’t get the results they desire. You would think this is common sense. In an ideal world you would have clients be honest with you and tell you that they haven’t been sticking to the plan provided. I have had clients over the years be upfront about things and say that they are not going to go on a diet as they just want to get stronger. Clients like this are great, if everyone could be honest like this then the personal trainer can not get frustrated with the client and the relationship can develop.
This is definitely one of the hardest parts of being a personal trainer. That is because everyone is a “nutritionist”. No matter how much you try to educate someone if they don’t want to listen, they won’t. Again individuals want the personal trainer to take the accountability for their actions rather than themselves. Instead of listening to Women’s Own or Mens Health magazines, try listening to the person you have hired to motivate you to train etc. Otherwise you could save a lot of money by buying the magazine every week instead of investing in a coach or trainer. Surely no-one wants to waste money. You wouldn’t pay for electricity and leave it on when you go out of the house would you. If you are not going to eat well and live a healthier lifestyle then at least let your PT know. This way they are not worrying about you not getting results. If all you are after is getting stronger or increasing mobility then eating well isn’t as important as things like leaning out or increasing muscle mass. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that getting stronger is easier. I am just saying from seven years experience, I have seen that people can increase strength and mobility without changing their diets dramatically. The other goals such as more definition do require a much better eating pattern.
Without doubt this is the biggest barrier for clients to achieve their goals. It seems that no matter how hard you battle as the personal trainer you will always be on the losing side to alcohol. I am currently sitting here writing this blog at work as someone has cancelled due to a hangover. This same person is not going to get named and shamed however, it is the same person who constantly moans about not losing the weight that she wants to. I suppose that is the personal trainers fault as well. I understand that not everyone will want to live an alcohol free lifestyle but then you need to understand that you won’t get as good results.
There are mixed feelings when gaining a new client. Part of you is excited as it is a new chance to help better someone’s life with training. On the other hand, most newcomers to training have these crazy ideas about how fast they will get results. What they don’t think about is how long they have not done any training for, yet they still expect crazy results within weeks. I had a client before that hadn’t done any training in twelve years but expected to be under ten percent body fat within three months. This was a lad who was around twenty two percent body fat. I’m not saying don’t have goals as I think goal setting is crucial. However, try to set realistic goals for both you and the PT. If you are setting unrealistic goals then that is only going to lead to disappointment. Also I wouldn’t believe all these crazy three week transformations you see in magazines. These are generally bullshit and make you believe that miracles can be performed and unfortunately they can’t. It’s just hard work and dedication.
You might be thinking what does your job have to do with getting good results in the gym. From experience from working with all kinds of professions I can tell you it has a huge impact. I can tell you if you work crazy amount of hours and do a job such as a barrister you will find it hard to get results. You often find that highly paid and highly demanding professions find it hard to eat and sleep well because the stress levels are much higher than the average person’s. Also their work hours are madness ranging from fifty to seventy hours a week. So again you have to be realistic when working with a Trainer about your goals as your occupation will play a role. I’m not saying that high paid professionals can’t get into good shape. However, they will have to change their lives dramatically. I remember one barrister that I trained a few years ago who got fantastic results. This was due to his determined attitude to get into great shape and did all the things I asked of him. He was sleeping more, taking food every where with him, and training regularly. I even remember him saying that he wouldn’t be able to do this long term as it isn’t sustainable for him. His workload got cut by a lot to make time for training etc. Not everyone will be willing to give this much up which is fine but just bear in mind that results will be limited with a high paid job.
Too Much Too Fast
This is a common problem with clients. Expecting too much too fast is only going to lead to disappointment. Also doing too much too quick will definitely leave you disappointed. I have seen it time and time again people coming into the gym saying I am going to do six sessions a week. You have to remember what past training experience you have before you start setting unrealistic goals. These individuals who set crazy goals are no longer in the gym several weeks later as they haven’t received the results they wanted instantly. Believe me if it was that easy there wouldn’t be a rise of obesity ever year. Instead everyone would be walking around sub ten percent body fat. One of the funniest quotes I have heard from someone who set unrealistic goals for wanted to look aesthetically better within weeks is “squats don’t work”. This has made me chuckle even writing this even though it happened months ago. I mean come on!? So basically because her ass wasn’t the way she wanted it within weeks of training then the king of exercises is to blame. Yes everyone wants results otherwise there would be no point in training. Just be honest and realistic with yourself to keep progressing with your training.
The fitness industry over the last few years has gone mobility mad and rightly so. If you have poor mobility then this is going to have a huge impact on your training. You will not be able to perform exercise to the best of your ability meaning that you will not be hitting the muscle groups you want too. My advice would be that everyone should be doing mobility drills everyday. Invest in a book called The Supple Leopard and remember YouTube is your friend. The personal trainer can only work with what they have in front of them so if that is someone who has tight hip flexers and tight hamstrings then things like your squats and deadlifts are going to be hard work. Do your bit as the client and do some mobility work outside the gym.
This word keeps popping up all over this blog so I thought I would give it a category of its own. The definition of accountability is “the obligation of an individual to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them”. If you know you haven’t been putting the work in with any of the above then don’t look for someone else to blame. Take responsibility and learn from it. We can never learn from things that we don’t admit we have done. The only person you are lying to is yourself.
I know this blog on times sounds like I am ranting but I am not meaning to, I really enjoy my job. There’s nothing more rewarding than having someone listen to you and getting the results they wish for too. I have written this just so people can see the Personal Trainer’s view on times and what we have to work with on a daily basis. It can sometimes feel like you are fighting a loosing battle. Especially for the new personal trainers to the industry as they sort of have to train anyone they can at first to get the experience. I hope this blog has been useful. It was a good one to write. Look after yourself by eating well and training hard. Peace out.