Monday, January 9, 2012

Do Trainers Really Have it Easier Staying in Shape?

"Shouldn't a personal trainer have an easier time staying in shape?"

I never knew what that meant and I always hated that question. As a trainer for many years, I am always poised with this dreaded question by a client or other fitness vagabond, insinuating that the maintenance of a trainer's physique is relatively easy because of the profession. Well, I am here to tell you it's not always easy. Sometimes we have to work at it...probably alot harder than our clients. Why? Over the years, I have been vanquished with numerous compliments on my training style and presentation as I have written about in my most popular blog post ever here. Although my physique was never something to write home about, my athleticism and strength overshadowed the lack of lean cuts and vascularity often seen by well...ummm...other personal trainers. But, little beknowest to our clients the rash of arrows thrown our way that make building or maintaining a perfect physique:

1.) Most trainers are susceptible to illness and conditions, such as colds, from making constant contact with clients or gym equipment. If you understand that gym equipment is touched by literally hundreds of people per week and possibly only spread down 15% of the time, you would understand how treadmill handles and plates house germs-galore!

2.) Most busy trainers work non-stop client sessions that extend to 5, 6, and 7 straight hours without a balanced meal. If you are a popular trainer, guess what? You are the bee's knees in the gym and everyone wants to train with you. That means, small snacks and never any seated hot meals. 

3.) Most busy trainers become dependent on coffee and other beverages (other than water) to help make it through the day. See number #2. Caffeine keeps you awake when sugar is absent. 

4.) Most busy trainers skip their own workouts because of burn-out, mental drain, or tiredness. After a long day of training 7-8 clients,  most trainer lack the energy to put in a good, hard workout for their own good. 

5.) Most busy trainers must accommodate personal obligations around sessions and therefore, planned structure becomes broken. If you work split-shifts in a gym, chances are you are free between 12pm-3pm. This is the period of time you use to make doctor appointments, bring the car to the mechanic, or run errands. 

6.) Most busy trainers rely on snacks to make it through the day, or depend highly on supplements rather than balanced meals. The snacks are typically unhealthy or not sufficient.  

7.) Most trainers succumb to stress--bother physical and mental--which may drain the immune system. Working early mornings and sleeping late will put anyone's immune system in sh*t-mode sooner, rather than later. if you are working hard to succeed, chances are free time is scarce and rest doesn't exist. 

8.) Most trainers are at high risk of injury because their profession deals with lifting heavy objects. Seems irrelevant but its true. Trainers lift heavy weights "for" clients in transition from exercise to exercise. I can count on both hands the times I have strained picking up 45 pound plates to load on a bar while being cold. 

9.) Most trainers train harder, faster, and much more than average fitness goers because they have something to prove. If you are going to wear your profession on your sleeve, chances are you take training hard seriously. This makes you more susceptible to injury and many of the factors mentioned above. 

10.) Most busy trainers don't get 8 hours of sleep. The younger, the more this is true. 



One of the easiest strategies I have always used in my career (and still use) begin with these 5 tips to help you gain control of your professional life:

Tip #1: Purchasing a gym membership outside of your employment. There is a time and place for work, and then there is a time and place for your own goals--without having to be interrupted by others or fellow staff, bosses, or friends. Join a gym that you can workout and free your mind of the day's stresses.

Tip #2: Structure your schedule and keep it solid. Don't let clients tell you when to come in...tell your clients what your schedule is and make THEM adjust to your open slots. Not only does this free up your time, but also gives potential clients the impression that your time is valuable and limited--therefore it is worth what you charge.

Tip #3: Plan 15-30 minute "admin" slots in your client schedule to give you time to prepare for clients, eat a snack, or do some paperwork. You can even plan a 30 minute lunch period (which most employers should do by law). Sure, it may make your work day longer, but it will save you alot of stress and hastiness when you feel more prepared and empowered.

Tip #4: Get regularly scheduled massage therapy sessions. I know it sounds selfish, but since I have been receiving massages from my LMT, my body feels better, muscle restoration is quicker, and stress levels decrease. Can't afford a massage therapist? Invest in a foam roller.

Tip #5: Take fish oil regularly, along with a cortisol support supplement. There are alot of other preparatory steps you can take to gain control of your own exercise schedule, including carrying a bottle of water; snack on nuts; take vacations...blah, blah, blah...but I know you already know those. These are 5 additional tips to help you when you hear that dreaded comment: "Shouldn't staying healthy be easier for you because you are a trainer?"


2 comments:

  1. I'm actually mad from reading this because I wish I'd thought about writing it. All very true. Fish oil has kept me healthy and I make sure to drink tons of water throughout the day, especially if I'm starting early in the morning.

    Food has always been an issue since I've become famous for 10-12hr client days. I make 1-2 meal replace shakes a day when training. These have a vegetable, fruit, nut/seed, protein powder and topper. An example could be banana, walnut, spinach, protein powder, coconut shards, and water/milk. I keep the shake in a closed container and drink it on the floor instead of water for a session. As long as it's watery it's fine. Just be careful with a chunky shake.

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  2. Back when I worked at a big box gym, I used to go all day without drinking water because the men's room was too far away from the personal training area.

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