Yesterday I did a segment with HuffPost Live. You can catch it right here. And if you’re interested in catching my mug, I show up right around the 8:30 mark, and then periodically after that. Last week I was interviewed for an article featured on the Huffington Post, and the segment was a offshoot of the piece asking one question: “As a personal trainer, what are a few things clients do that bug you?” Or something to that effect.
I’ve been personal training since 2004, and teaching classes since 1999. I have had some great relationships with my clients – many of whom I consider good friends even today. I don’t have really concerned about people getting to know me well when we work together on a one-on-one basis, and if people are up for sharing, I’m all ears. Training is a personal business (imagine that!). We trainers have the privilege of getting to know clients, including their strengths and weaknesses. In fact, we seek out what the weaknesses are so we can help our clients improve o them. Any good trainer will value personal information gained, and hold it in confidentiality. I get to know my clients very, very well. I don’t pry, but after I start working with a client, the relationship opens up a little bit. For me, I absolutely love health and fitness. If I can share that knowledge to help make someone else healthier – fantastic! How great of a job is that??
I know I’m making it sound like I’m floating on Cloud 9 and made from the stuff of unicorns, but most of the time this job is great. Most of the time. Every now and then, however, I get a zinger. Now that I have a private practice, I don’t run into it as much (or ever), but it’s happened in the past. I consider myself a fairly tolerant and patient person. Just don’t tell my husband I said that – he might have a very different opinion. I expect people to have quirks, ad God knows I have plenty of my own. There are just a few things, however, that can irritate me if it happens too often. Here they are:
1) Canceling on me at the last minute
I can count the number of times on one hand that a client has needed to cancel on me at the very last minute because of an emergency. In fact, I work with a lot of moms with small kids, so it’s no uncommon when school or daycare calls 15 minutes before a session because junior is throwing up, I understand and overlook it. I have had clients cancel on my at the very last minute, however, with no really good excuse other than they’re “exhausted” and can’t train. The worst offender was someone I trained while I was pregnant with my first daughter. I had a session scheduled with this person at 6:00am. At the time I was working in a health club. I arrived at 5:50am with my eight-month-pregnant belly. A moment after I walked in, I got a call that my client canceled because she didn’t get enough sleep and was too tired. Yeah, that’s one example. Honestly, it didn’t happen very often because I have a 24 cancelation policy. Most clients don’t want to see their money disappear for reasons like poor planning (like drinking a weeee too much the night before, too!).
2) Counting calories as I train you
I’ve had a couple clients wear a heart rate monitor that gives a caloric burn. Typically, a personal training session is built around a good warm up, some sort of strength training and then some stretching. A person will absolutely burn calories, but it won’t be in the same way as if they were doing consistent cardio. THIS IS OK! Strength training – whether it’s using free weights, doing body-weight only exercises, or using machines – will benefit you long, long, long after the workout is over, and in fact boost your metabolism much more than cardio-only workouts. Getting bent out of shape because you’re not burning more calories during a training session means you’re missing the big picture. One client continuously told me exactly how many calories he was burning every ten minutes. That got irritating. I tried to explain that the value from the type of training we were doing couldn’t be measured in calories. He eventually got over it and we worked together for a very long time.
Other than that, things don’t really get under my skin too much. I don’t like when people make personal calls during a training session, but other than parents needing to make a call on behalf of their kids, it’s never been a concern. I’ve never had a particularly smelly client, so body odor has never been a concern. People usually brush their teeth. No one has ever worn a thong leotard. And I’ve never had a client try to boss me around. That would really bother me, and I doubt I’d work with them beyond one session, but it’s never happened.
So there it is. All two of the things that really really really bother me.
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Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.