Your wallet says they work for you, but sometimes it really feels like you work for them… any relationship that starts with that kind of challenge is bound to have its ups and downs. However, the ability to work with your personal trainer is key to both of you achieving results.
As early as your first initial meeting, make sure your trainer is someone with whom you can carry on a conversation. If there is a language barrier, a lack of shared understanding, or you each subscribe to different fitness philosophies, don’t be afraid or ashamed to walk away. Trainers, like any other professional in a service-related field, appreciate that not every person is an ideal client. They aren’t any more eager than you are to get into a partnership where you’re always fighting with each other. Once you’ve found a person you believe understands you and your goals, be respectful of their time, insight and instruction. Obviously, if you’re engaging the services of a trainer in the first place, you likely have something you want to improve. Don’t turn it into a macho shoving match because your personal trainer corrects your technique. Saying “I’ve always done it this way,” doesn’t benefit either of you. It only shows you’re an arrogant piece of work. Similarly, if you can’t be consistent about showing up at your scheduled time, be prepared to get dumped. Or, make sure you commit to a time at which you can reliably be present. This is a job for your trainer after all, and just as you’d be peeved at a business appointment that doesn’t show or constantly cancel or reschedules, you should expect (and respect) that your trainer feels the same way. If a trainer has set aside time for you, that’s a slot they weren’t able to offer another client. And, if that particular client had no other time available, they may have had to pass on that job. You not showing up actually costs them money.
Now, on the flipside, if you feel your trainer is unreliable or can’t provide constructive criticism, feel free to kick them to the curb. Some people may enjoy being called a worthless weakling no better than pond scum, but if you’re not one of them, speak up and say so. In truth, it’s better to try and establish those guidelines at the beginning of the relationship, but if you both reach a particularly challenging goal and the motivational aspects of the relationship get amped up quickly, it’s not a bad idea to revisit what works for you. Any good trainer would rather hear, “Hey man, I don’t respond well to ridicule. Could you try some positive reinforcement instead,” rather than have you walk out of a session cursing his or her name. Likewise, if you feel you’re not getting the results you want, bring it up. Your trainer may not have understood you wanted fast results, or because you started at a low fitness level created a more gradual plan. Sometimes, it’s simply that one person’s body won’t respond the way another’s does and so plans have to adjust. If you do find yourself on this path, though, do be prepared for full disclosure with your trainer (and yourself). You really can’t blame the trainer if you’re doing the workout and then polishing off two Big Macs for dinner… and they will ask.