I love my clients. I do. And one of the best things about being a trainer is becoming part of someone’s life. I get to hear about the daily/weekly events in people’s lives. I know about pregnancies before friends and family (and I get to see the pregnancies progress on a weekly basis). I’ve been there for engagements, births, new jobs, and first marathons. And while I tend to be very open with my clients, there are a few things trainers often don’t feel comfortable telling people.
1. I know you lie to me.
While there are some things about which you’re brutally honest (please — I don’t need to know the details of your gastric distress), I know there are some things you’re hiding from me. I know you didn’t work out every single day on vacation. I know you had more than “like three french fries” when you went to lunch today. You Instagrammed your seven course tasting menu last week. And I’m pretty sure you didn’t stop at one drink at your work happy hour.
That’s okay. You don’t have to tell me everything. It adds mystery and intrigue to our relationship. But please don’t lie to yourself. Don’t get into the habit of convincing yourself that vacation calories don’t count, standing while eating zeros out calories, and a Spinning class burns off at least a dozen cookies. In order to see the results you want, you have to be brutally honest with yourself about your eating and exercise habits.
2. You’re not doing enough.
Finding the perfect client — the one who is willing to change her diet, do additional workouts/practice on her own, and tries everything you suggest — is like playing a slot machine. You hit on a win often enough to keep you motivated, but usually there’s no huge payout.
You tell me that you’ve cut out carbs, but can’t give up bread and pasta. You openly admit that if it wasn’t for your session, you wouldn’t have made it into the gym this week. And you consider your two block walk to the gym (or worse, the dash from your car in the parking lot) as your warm up.
Don’t feel bad; it’s not entirely your fault. We’ve been duped by magazine covers that promise us ripped muscles, toned thighs, and six-pack abs without giving up a single morsel of food or lifting anything heavier than eight pounds. You know all those celebrities who say they eat cheeseburgers and stay in shape with yoga? Yeah, they lie. Most of us have to put in plenty of sweat equity and be spot on with our nutrition to be in the shape we envision.
3. I’m not your ________________.
Insert whichever word is applicable to your case: doctor, therapist, spouse, mommy.
I’m your trainer. I’m here to give you a workout and some nutritional advice. And while I’m happy to make chitchat with you about what’s going on in your life, please remember our roles. If you’re injured, go see a doctor. Even if I have an idea as to the problem, I can’t diagnose anything. Don’t waste time and risk making things worse. If you’re having issues with your spouse or job, find a therapist. It’s their job to help you work through issues that are bothering you. Again, I can’t give you any valid advice, and if you spend our time complaining about things, you’re not going to get the greatest workout and I’m going to dread our weekly sessions. The client who called me to spring him from rehab (yes, that happened)? I did; Clearly he didn’t have anyone else to turn to. But he’s no longer a client. I referred him to another trainer as he crossed a line with which I was uncomfortable.
4. I’m exhausted.
You know those days when you’re just off? It’s been a long week — perhaps you’re under deadline, you’ve had out of town guests, you’re coming down with a cold. You just want to close the door to your office, pop in a video for the kids, and fly under the radar, waiting for the day to end.
Yeah…we don’t have those days. This is an “A game” only industry. No matter how early our day starts, how late it ends, or how many days we’ve worked that week, clients still expect us to be energetic and chatty. One of my favorite trainers put it this way, “The hardest part of the job is that every hour you’re wearing down, but each client is ramping up.” While we do our best to be up for everyone, there are some days we are running solely on our last cup of coffee.
5. You don’t want to be me.
Sure, it looks like fun. We love the gym, right? And how much fun would it be to be able to get paid to wear exercise clothes all day and workout. Yeah, I thought the same thing…when I was a teacher.
But even if you aren’t dissuaded by the “perks” of the job: no paid vacation or sick leave, long hours and a six day workweek, I can pretty much guarantee you will be after you hear what I have to do to keep this up. Let’s not even talk about the hours upon hours I spend working out each week. Let’s talk diet. I’ve given up alcohol (that alone will cause many to fall off this bandwagon), simple carbohydrates (whoops, there go the rest), sweeteners, and processed foods. Going out to eat is a rare occurrence (you’re probably too tired anyway); and a good portion of my Sundays are spent prepping my food for the week. Cake really is a treat reserved for birthdays. Correction — birthday, yours. But I’m not going to tell you all the dirty details of my diet and exercise regime since that might demotivate you.
I will, however, tell you how proud I am of your progress. How I can see the changes in you from when you started. How I love that you’re willing to try new exercises, even if they put you out of your comfort zone. And, of course, how much I appreciate your confidence in me as your trainer. But I know you still lie to me.