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You Give Personal Trainers a Bad Name

Posted Mar 13 2008 5:00pm 4 Comments

This blog post is dedicated to the personal trainer who works weekends at my sister’s gym near Albany, NY.

First a little back story: Cliff Notes Version

1. My sister calls me not too long ago and mentions that she wants to get into shape; in her words, “for real this time.” As you can guess, we’ve been down this road before…..(wink wink, nudge nudge).

2. As a mother of two, her days are typically filled with fake light saber battles with my nephew (Jedi Name: Harza Genis for your information) and playing “Pretty Pretty Princess” with my little niece. All of this on top of making sure the house is clean, laundry is done, and that dinner is on the table every night. Honestly, I don’t know how she does it. Suffice it to say, the last thing on the “to do” list is go to the gym.

3. I finally convinced her that following recorded episodes off of Fit TV were about as useful as used a tampon and she joined a local gym a few weeks ago.

Fit TV

4. Of course as a new member of the gym, she was offered a free session with a trainer. Beforehand I had her buy a copy of “The New Rules of Lifting for Women,” so she had a general idea of what types of things she should be focusing on. Namely, lifting free weights, steering clear of the treadmill, etc.


5. What does the trainer do? Shows her how to use the machine circuit and then demonstrates how to press the buttons on the treadmill to increase the speed. All of this despite the fact that my sister asked if he could show her the free weights. Mind you this was a personal trainer, not some person involved with a general orientation to the facility.

Anyone with the intelligence of I don’t know, a bowling ball can show someone how to use a chest press machine. I wouldn’t be surprised if this trainer’s certification is made out of Scooby-Doo stationary and said, “World’s Greatest Personal Trainer. Love Mom” in glitter paint. The whole experience just turned my sister off to personal trainers all together. Can you blame her?

Needless to say, I made the trip out to Albany this past weekend to help my sister out. We went over simple foam rolling drills, a proper dynamic flexibility warm-up and I even showed her how to deadlift in less than five minutes. I also caught a glimpse of the trainer that worked with my sister a few weeks ago. Right on cue, he was busy showing a new member how to perform leg curls. Brilliant! Why didn’t I ever think of that?

Special Side Note: to all personal trainers who read this blog (especially new trainers), don’t be a stereotype. There’s a reason why we’re often seen as uneducated, meat heads. Do yourself a favor and read Jimi Varner’s book “A Trainer’s Dozen: 13 Principles for Personal Training Success.” Don’t be like the nimrod above, you’re better than that.

Comments (4)
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Totally agree Jeff. Unfortunately, it's a sad state of affairs.

Hey Tony, I blame this on the fact that anybody in the world can just go online, pay their money and print out a cert - I've seen some sites where the exam is a twenty question multiple choice that you take immediately after you print out a couple page text that contains the answers! Their tagline is something about beginning a new career today - the guy that "helped" your sister may very well have been a graduate of this school.

It's good to know that there are still at least some good trainers out there, and props to you for going out and giving your sister a hand.


Glad you liked the recommendation. Definitely look into it if you can. And high five for using the free weight!.....;o)

I'm glad you recommended the book. I've been looking for a good resource. At my gym the trainer goes for many reps with light weights on the machines and the other ladies talk about you when you use the "man" weights. But I use them anyway.
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