Monday, April 25, 2011

When Trainers Have Their Own Agendas

Sometimes personal trainers forget that personal training is a service. A service is defined as:


1.) to supply with aid, information, or other incidental 


1.) an act of helpful activity; help; aid: to do someone a service

Over the years, I have had many opportunities to meet trainers and watch them in action.  I have also have met people that had a desire to become personal trainers and see them study and enter the field. However, I have found that only a small niche of these people [I have come across] actually have success in the field.

No...I am not talking about financial success....I am talking about rewarding and longevity.

Personal training is a 'give and take' service. We give our knowledge, support, and resourcefulness in exchange for a reward: a feel good satisfying emotion that transcends the title of "service" and ultimately, makes you feel like a professional.

However, some trainers struggle in this field. Most drop out within the first 2 years. I don't want to talk about why they struggle and drop out. I want to talk about why they enter the personal training field for the wrong reasons.  And along the way on this post, you may recollect some meetings you have had with trainers or colleagues that make you nod your head and say, "yeah, I can kinda agree with this blog post". If so, I appreciate it your commennts.

The Narcissist Trainer - This is the trainer that cannot stop gazing at his or her own physique as they train a client. This fascination with their own physical attributes is fueled by ego and a constant need to self-assure. However,  the narcissist trainer is really a wound up bottle of insecurity that needs to constantly confirm that he or she is in better shape than you and has acquired the role of "fitness trainer" because you (the client) do not possess the body that they do. 

The Mentally-Unstable Trainer - I have met many trainers that have a passion for helping others; but it borders an uncontrollable obsession with self-assurance. Many trainers rely on their clients to feel better about themselves because these trainers may have suffered episodes of neglect, regret, and insecurity in the past. Choosing to pursue the dreams as trainers is really a therapeutic process for them to establish self-contention, happiness, and self-efficacy. In my opinion,  these trainers do more damage to the industry and to their clients because they possess no self-regulating rationale. Eventually, they will be terminated from employment or lose all business.

The Fatal Attraction Trainer - This trainer also is in the business for the wrong reasons. When phone calls begin to go from exercise-related conversations to constant calls regarding plans, relationship status, and loneliness; this trainer will do nothing to stop an obsession with a client (male or female). Their relationship with the client can turn to fearfulness or cross lines to damaging reputations. A trainer with an obsession for a client has access to personal information including address, phone numbers, personal history, and abstract information that can be used to fulfill a trainer's need or desire. These kinds of trainer-client relationships always end up bad...

The Not-Take-You-Seriously Trainer - This trainer has not found their niche in life. Personal training is a fun "gig" for the moment, but their real endeavor is becoming a pilot, hedge fund consultant, or talent recruiter. If you have ever spent some time in NYC at a Crunch or Equinox gym, I am sure you have run into plenty of trainers that are hoping to hit the big time as an actor, screen writer, or model. Personal training is a simply put stop in their pursuit of a "real career". These types don't really have a client's interest at heart and can really be properly defined as your typical rep-counters and clipboard-holders. Sadly,  these guys possibly are overly-paid and revered more for their good looks and chiseled bodies---not their exercise programs.

The Cheerleader Trainer - We love some enthusiasm and motivation during our workouts, but there has to be a method to the madness. At the end of the day, sure we want to make clients feel special and part of something bigger--but we have to know where we are headed with their program. Anyone can make someone sweat and breath harder. But there has to be a logic that is tried and true behind the hard-work.

At the end of the day, personal trainers should be committed  to 3 things: caring for a client by designing progressive programs and addressing their needs; self growth as a professional, and advancing in the field through continuous learning. If you meet a trainer that seems a little off on those basic three factors,  than chances are you found a trainer that is not into the career for the long haul OR, is not in it  to make others better--only to satisfy their own agendas.


  1. I agree John, you see a lot of trainers that care more about themselves during a session than the client. That's simply not right. I like to work out and stay fit, but when I'm with a client its their time, not mine.

  2. Loved the article. Over the years I've met every one of these trainers.

  3. umm-yes sacked 4 male trainers in the space of 6 months-as too toughy feely-the comments- made me seeth with anger- totally inappriotate-they can,t get that you aren,t going to fall at their knees- its all about them-selfish and abusing their paid position


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