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8 Things Your Personal Trainer Wants You to Know

8 Things Your Personal Trainer Wants You to Know

Have you ever wondered what your personal trainer is thinking about? If so, this article is for you. Or, if you’re thinking about purchasing personal training, this sneak-peek into the mind into the mind of a personal trainer should help you make your decision.

1. Our sessions together can’t undo a week of bad decisions.

Before you even think about paying a personal trainer, you need to ask yourself a very important question:

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“Am I willing to make my health and fitness a priority, not only in the gym, but in my daily life?”

Sometimes people blame their personal trainer for their lack of results, but more often than not, the buck stops with the individual. Of course, a good personal trainer should offer guidance that will empower their clients to make good decisions outside of the gym, but all of your training sessions could be for naught if you’re not willing to take action with the instruction you are given. Put simply, an hour or two of exercise cannot undo a week of poor eating decisions.

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2. You don’t get bonus points for “extra credit” workouts.

Fitness and fat loss results don’t happen while you train, but rather during your body’s recovery process after training. You are welcome to partake in as much light activity as you want to; walking, water aerobics or swimming, and dancing are some positive “extra credit” activities that would probably be safe to do in addition to your work with a personal trainer. More vigorous activities like sprinting, long-distance runs, lifting weights, and CrossFit classes, however, could quickly become counterproductive if you’re not careful. It would be smart to mention any additional activity you’re pursuing to your trainer, who will make sure the extra stuff is taking you towards you goals (instead of away from them).

3. “More” does not necessarily mean “better.”

I don’t know how a “one hour personal training session” became the norm, but this seems to be what people expect from a personal trainer. This idea is woefully simplistic, because the ideal length of your workouts depends on a wide variety of factors including your needs, goals, experience level, the type and intensity of training, and more. If your personal trainer ever stops a session after 40 minutes, this doesn’t mean he or she is lazy and denied you  20 minutes; it probably just means 40 minutes was the ideal length of that workout.

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On a similar note, how sore you feel after a training session is not an accurate gauge of whether your workout was effective or not. Your body will be sore when you perform an activity that is new to you. For example: lifting weights for the first time (or first time in a long time), performing a movement you’ve never done before, training at an intensity higher than you’ve ever experienced, etc., will make you sore.  However, your body will adapt to these challenges as time goes on, and your soreness should gradually decrease during the process. This doesn’t mean you need to “confuse your muscles” or “shock your system” or anything like that (note: if a fitness routine is marketed with such buzz-words, it probably means it’s a rip-off); it just means your body is evolving into a stronger version of itself (and maybe it won’t suck so much when you drop a pencil and have to bend over to pick it up after squat day). 

4. You don’t need to work with me forever.

The best personal trainers are not dictators, but rather liberators. Instead of making a client feel as if they must depend on their trainer for results, they make an honest effort to set them free. Your personal trainer should be teaching you about things like proper form, exercise selection, and progressive overload (the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training) as time goes on. If these concepts are new to you, or if you have quite a lot of work to do, I’d recommend sticking with your personal trainer until you feel confident in your ability to apply these concepts on your own; however, that doesn’t mean you need to work with him or her forever. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I feel a wonderful sense of satisfaction when I get to watch a client walk off into the sunset with full confidence that they can keep moving forward without me.

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5. Honest, open communication is a must.

No matter how smart your personal trainer might be, she isn’t a mind-reader. If you’re struggling with something, you need to tell her about it. I once had a client who told me she was concerned because she hadn’t lost any weight in the last month or two we had been working together. Baffled by this, I asked her a long list of questions to figure out what the problem could be, and it turned out she wasn’t eating anywhere near enough food to fuel the demands we were placing on her body. And that brings us to…

6. Working out while undernourished is counterproductive.

You need to come to the gym hydrated and you should also eat a snack including carbs and protein about an hour or two before your training session. If your progress stagnates, don’t jump to the automatic conclusion that you need to eat less; in my experience (especially when working with women), the opposite is more often the case. As your fitness level and physical strength increase, so do your caloric needs. Keep a food diary and share it with your personal trainer if you find yourself at a standstill, so they can help you identify the problem and implement a solution.

7. A minor injury doesn’t mean you can’t exercise.

There is nothing fun about spraining an ankle or wrist, but that doesn’t mean all activity is off the table. Your personal trainer should be able to work around your injury in a way that is safe and beneficial for your progress. For example, if you have a broken ankle, you could still perform seated or lying upper body exercises that target your chest, shoulders, and back.

8. Where you are starting from is irrelevant.

I know you might be intimidated by working with a personal trainer, especially if he has an incredibly fit physique, but please don’t feel that way. An awful lot of us (self included) have struggled with weight gain, body image issues, emotional eating, and just about anything you can dream of. A good personal trainer would never judge you for your starting point, because it just doesn’t matter; the important thing is where you’re going, not where you’ve been.

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments.

Are you a personal trainer? If so, leave a comment telling us what you would add to this list.

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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