By Corrie Pikul
Trainers don't want to say anything that might deter you from working out. But we got them to share a few frustrations (as well as insider tips) that can make everyone's time in the gym just a little bit better.
1. We take some offense when you show up hungover.
"You knew you had a 6 a.m. appointment with us, yet you still chose to go out drinking the night before."
--Traci D. Mitchell, a Chicago-based health and fitness coach, and the creator of the 40 Day Shape Up plan
2. ...however, you should still come in even if you aren't feeling psyched to work out.
"I had a client last week who told me he felt very tight and sore. I scrapped the high-intensity Tabata program I had planned, and we did dynamic stretching for the session. Sometimes a client will want to talk about nutrition or how to make time for exercise -- instead of doing [that day's] workout. They're still paying for that session, so they can get something out of it other than exercise."
--Jenn Zerling, Los Angeles–based owner of JZ Fitness and the author of Breaking the Chains of Obesity: 107 Tools
3. Please don't expect us to hold your dog or watch your twin babies while you work out (seriously, you can't believe what people ask us). But we're happy to do other things to help you maximize your efficiency.
"I believe that doing stuff like setting up and putting away the weights, helping carry the towel or moving the water bottle out of the way is a part of good client service."
--Traci D. Mitchell
4. Yes, we can smell you. Everyone can smell you.
"We want you to feel comfortable working out, but keep in mind that the gym is a closed environment, often without much air circulation. Your outdoor running group may not notice if you wear the same tank for a week, but odors are magnified inside."
5. It drives us *&^% crazy when you use your phone during a session!!!
"This has nothing to do with a trainer's self-esteem. It's not even about being polite. You hired me to achieve a goal, and every minute you spend texting or talking on the phone takes time away from me helping you get where you want to be."
6. We don't mind when you bring a friend ...in fact, we love it.
"I feel that I can still give personal attention with up to four people in a session. The trainer makes slightly more per hour, but the clients can pay 50 percent less, if not more, depending on how many people are in the group. We can do partner exercises and different drills, and the time flies by. It's a win for everyone."
--Traci D. Mitchell
7. Working out with us isn't enough to cancel out your other bad habits.
"I had a client who worked out so hard that her face would turn purple, and she was frustrated that her body wasn't responding. I had a feeling it had to do with her diet, so I suggested she keep a food diary. She was very resistant and swore she ate only lean protein, salad and fruit. Then I bumped into her at a restaurant, and she and her partner had enough food for eight people: sausage, bacon, pancakes, waffles and more. She was clearly unwilling to see her role in the situation and take responsibility for her fitness -- and she never kept another appointment with me after that."
--Geralyn Coopersmith, the senior national director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute
8. It doesn't really bother us when you cheat on us with another trainer -- but it does when you act weird about it later.
"If no one acknowledges the switch, it can get a little awkward when you see each other in the gym. I'd prefer that a client be direct. We want them to find someone who fits their needs. And good trainers usually have plenty of other clients."
--Traci D. Mitchell
9. We are constantly washing our hands -- and you should be, too.
"I often see people in the restroom who walk right by the sinks without pausing. Then they go out to the machines, the weights and the mats. You can't control that, or how often the gym cleans equipment, so your best defense is to wash up after you've handled anything in the gym."
--Jen Cassetty, a New York City–based sports, nutrition and fitness expert
10. We are professionals, and you should hold us to those standards.
"Few people would walk into a meeting with a McMuffin and a coffee and sit down on the floor. We've all seen other trainers do these things, and it's not cool. And if a trainer doesn't show up or is often late or changes your appointment time more than once -- things do come up, but it shouldn't be consistent -- you have the right to ask for a free session."
11. ...but most of us aren't the best business people. So please don't make us feel guilty for asking you to pay the money that you owe.
"Many trainers feel uncomfortable talking about money and enforcing the standard 24-hour cancellation policy. We develop a relationship with our clients and want to keep them happy, so when they ask us to let it slide 'just this once,' we consider it. But training isn't something we do just for fun; it's how we support ourselves."
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.