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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Thoughts: Personal Trainers

While at the gym the other day, I had some mixed emotions while watching one of the “trainers” take a client through a workout. Let’s examine both the pros and cons:


I have a lot of respect for anyone who does this for a living, especially if they got into it for the right reasons. Most trainers are going to work long hours, get paid an average (but not outstanding wage), and probably be in and out of the industry in a few years. It’s definitely not the easiest job in the world.

As well, people often think of all the glitz and glory of working with highly functioning people or strictly elite athletes. I hate to tell you, but it’s not always all that glamorous, especially when starting out. In the beginning, you take whomever you can whenever you can to make ends meet. You don’t have the ability to pick and choose who you want to train. Especially if you have other people underneath you within the business, it’s not just about you making money – you are responsible for your other coaches and their lifestyle as well.

It’s easy to criticize trainers if you’re not in the industry, or if this isn’t your sole means of employment. But making a living as a trainer? Well, let’s just say it’s not the easiest thing in the world.


While I can appreciate the hard work and dedication these people put in, there are certain things that just flat out piss me off. First off, I’m pretty sure one of the guys had little or no training experience, let alone a certification. The “training session” consisted of weighted lunges (she didn’t need any extra weight, believe me), ab machine crunches, and a host of other poorly chosen exercises. So while the exercise selection sucked, the coaching wasn’t any better. The people who lose in this equation are the people paying for the sessions, and the good trainers out there who get a black eye from being associated with this trainer.

Now, couple this with a total lack of professionalism when it comes to attire. A polo shirt is fine, but take the time to at least tuck it in. It’s no wonder why people think trainers are total idiots; if you look the part, people will assume it to be true.

If we want this profession to be elevated to a higher level (whether it’s strength coaching, training, therapy, whatever), not only do we need to act the part but we need to look the part as well. Get your education up to par. Read articles and books. Listen to high quality CD’s and DVD’s. Attend seminars. You get the point.

But once you have the education and the know-how, take the time to look the part as well. Shaving from time to time, dressing appropriately, and keeping yourself in shape all help to raise the bar.

If we want to be paid like professionals, it’s time to look and act the part!

Mike Robertson

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