I have been a certified personal trainer for nearly four years. I have worked in a gym environment, I have taught group classes, and I have trained independent clients. I have written hundreds of workouts, measured tons of waists, and poured over numerous food logs. Basically, what I am trying to say, is that I have been around in this industry and I like to think I know what I am talking about.
Every personal trainer has pet peeves when it comes to clients, potential clients, or just gym-goers. Many of us have the same pet peeves. There are also different ones out there. I have many different pet peeves, so I am just going to list my top five!
Many clients lie. Do you know what doesn’t lie? Results. Check in logs. Family members.
I have been lied to about some of the most stupid things. I know that many trainers have that reputation for being a “meathead” but honestly, does it seem like I fall under that stereotype? Hopefully not!
Let me list a few scenarios that I have been lied to about:
- The most common: no progress or weight gain. People swear up and down that they are following their diet and working out. I will say it again: results do not lie! Just own up to it. If you truly are doing everything I have told you to do and you are still gaining weight, you need to see a doctor because this tells me maybe you have a thyroid condition or something else is going on that I cannot diagnose.
- “Yeah, I worked out, but at a different gym.” This was a client who lied to me before and said they had worked out but I already checked the gym’s check in logs and he never did. I asked him which gym he worked out at and he told me LA Fitness on a specific road. What was funny was that there was no LA Fitness on said road.
- “I need to cancel because…” It is all good if you need to cancel. We get it, life happens. You get sick. Your kids get sick. You get a flat tire. You need to work late. The moment you start lying about why you are canceling is when we are going to have a problem though. I’ve even had people fake sickness only to check in on social media at some restaurant in town.
2. No-shows or showing up late.
My time is valuable. That is why I charge for it. When you book a session with me, you are taking up an hour of my time for me to teach you a bunch of knowledge I have in my brain. You are also making sure that nobody else books me for that time.
When you no-show a trainer, you are not only disrespecting them and their time, but you are disrespecting their other clients who might have wanted your time slot but your trainer said no because they were already working with you.
When you show up late to a session, we have to adjust our plan for you. We feel rushed and we feel like we can’t give you a quality session. It makes us even more irritated when you walk in like you don’t have a sense of urgency or like it isn’t a big deal.
When I first started training and people would show up late, I would text everyone else after the late client to shift all of my sessions so the client could get in a full session with me, despite being late. I finally stopped doing that after awhile. Why should I punish my other clients because one client showed up late? If my client showed up with only fifteen minutes remaining, then I would train them for the remaining time or if they opted to reschedule, then we would do that.
I also used to never charge no-shows because I didn’t want it to impact my no-show rate in a negative way. I finally stopped doing that, too, so I could still be paid for my time and the client who no-showed me lost their session.
3. Telling me how to do my job.
Who is the expert here? The last time I checked, I was the one who had three certifications and you were the one seeking out my help.
No joke, I have had people come into the office to talk to me and tell me what I needed to do as the trainer and what kind of workouts I needed to be prescribing the client. Client knows best, right? Wrong!
I am all for clients asking me about different types of workouts, different diets, and other trends in the fitness world. I love to talk about fitness and I love to educate people. I do not like being told how someone thinks they need to be doing absolutely no weight lifting because they are going to get bulky so I need to stop making them lift weights.
No. It does not work like that.
4. Being rude.
Being sexist also falls under this pet peeve.
I have had so many people look at me and make fun of my size, because I am petite, and underestimate me. RUDE.
I’ve also dealt with rude clients. I once trained someone who was a salesman for a company and he was trying to get me to buy his product. I kept refusing because, you know, trainers don’t really get paid much. He was under the impression that since he was helping pay my bills, I should help him pay his. I won’t lie, he was a convincing salesperson however he resorted to insulting me as his final sales tactic. He somehow tied my not willing to buy his product to not caring about my own health. He told me that he lost respect for me and how can I preach to others how to be fit and healthy when I clearly don’t care about being healthy.
Says the 500 pound man.
Another thing… If your trainer is employed by a chain gym with a corporate office, don’t get irritated with them about something corporate decided to do. Chances are, you trainer is already irritated enough by it and is scared to lose their clients because of it.
5. Gym-goers: cleanliness (or lack of) and interrupting sessions.
I really do not mind other gym patrons. I can work around them. When I am not training someone, I loved to visit with our regulars and offer them advice. With them knowing of our presence, they are more likely to become our clients. Plus I just like to get to know them and put a smile on their face.
However, nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of a session and someone interrupting it with a question or to complain about something (like the wipe dispensers being empty… which is not my job to take care of).
The other thing is when a gym patron doesn’t put away their weights or doesn’t clean off a machine or bench after using it and leaves a bunch of sweat behind. Then I have to take time out of my jam-packed session to clean up after them, which takes away from my client.
There you guys have it! My five pet peeves as a personal trainer. I have learned over time that it is important, as a trainer, to let clients know of my expectations. I let them know what I do when they are late or when they no-show me. I also set up ground rules for sessions and conversation topics that are off limits (sadly, I have had to do this with many people, specifically old men who wanted to talk about my husband and I’s sex life and whether or not I should be a bikini competitor).
I wear a lot of hats: NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. A writer with a B.A. in English and Professional Writing. A fur mom and a wife. A mental health advocate and a septic shock survivor. An Airman and an athlete. I live in South Florida and am in love with the ocean. People can typically find me either in the gym or at home, writing or reading.