Tagged: physio

4 Good Reasons to Fire Your Trainer

Due to the fact that my industry is unregulated and anyone can call themselves a trainer after taking a weekend course, it is generally filled with some pretty interesting characters.  What still amazes me to this day is the fact that people will blindly walk into a fitness centre and sometimes invest thousands of dollars, simply under the promise that they are going to lose weight, get ripped or be able to perform like a high level athlete in no time – and not even interview the person properly!  Some trainers prey on this like a lion devouring a carcass, and take advantage of people who are emotionally vulnerable as a part of their selling process.  You can see examples of this all over YouTube if you just search for “personal trainer sales”.

Other trainers will use a personal relationship to take advantage of their clientele and drop their service level – sometimes to the point of completely neglecting them and what they were hired for in the first place.  Because they now see the client as a friend, they allow themselves to forget the professional side of the equation.  Trainers generally aren’t good business people, which is why they get into an easy entry profession in the first place, and chain gyms pretty much guarantee that even a totally incompetent idiot can get clients if they just stick around for long enough.

This bothers me.  I tend to take my job as a trainer seriously, and what a lot of trainers (and clients) need to learn is that when you a trainer is affecting someone’s body in a positive or negative way they are impacting a lot more than just their physical well-being.  Also, I don’t know many people who can afford to waste $60-100 an hour and not get value for it.  I know I can’t.  Our industry is also rampant with unprofessionalism.  Trainers texting, eating, or ignoring clients to chat with other people during workouts.  Trainers who talk more than they coach.  Trainers who come in to work hung over and brag about it.  Believe it or not, this is actually common – and it really shouldn’t be.

So in a nutshell, here are some very good reasons to fire your trainer.  If you are a client reading this and can relate to one of these, fire your trainer.  Today.  If you are a trainer reading this and get fired (or have been in the past) well then odds are you should probably stop doing one of these.

1)      They don’t show up for work. 

Trainers who constantly cancel, take loads of time off and always make excuses or reschedule should be fired immediately.  You are paying someone for a service and they are supposed to be focusing on you and your results.  A trainer who no-shows for any reason in this day and age should likely be fired right away.  With texting, email, easy ways to communicate there is no excuse beyond a legitimate emergency and this should happen once in a blue moon.

I personally know a trainer who took over 65 days away from work last year and constantly cancelled sessions last minute – but then would charge his clients if they did the same thing.  That’s 13 working weeks away from his clients, and for some reason – he didn’t get fired by some of them.  Good thing he got paid up front!  As a client, don’t let your trainer use a personal relationship to abuse the fact that they are hired to do a job.

2)      When they do show up, they act like you are hanging out with a buddy. 

If you are talking more than you are working then the session probably isn’t doing you a lot of good.  A skilled trainer can maintain a conversation (if you really need them to) while you are doing movements.  Frankly, if you are resting too much because you are chatting, why are you paying that person?  Most trainers cost over a dollar a minute – make sure you are getting value for your time.  Personal training also isn’t a therapy session or a “nutrition consultation” where you pay the person to solve problems that are outside of their scope of practice.  Doing ten sets of exercise in 45 minutes isn’t going to get you very far either.  There should be a plan, and it should be executed properly.  I know that often I don’t even have time to get everything in that I want to do in an hour long session, never mind chatting.

One big test – if your trainer is talking to you about their own personal issues a lot, get rid of them.  The session should be about you and what you are accomplishing towards your fitness goals.  Be serious about your physical fitness and health and find a trainer who is too.

Oh, and if they ever pull out a cell phone during a session except to use it as a timer or they have an emergency, you might want to think about how much they respect the time they have with you.

lazy trainer

This should never, ever happen.

3)      They don’t have a plan, long term or even during a session.

“What do you want to work on today?” was a normal thing I heard when I worked at some gyms.  Um…it is your job to figure that out and tell me, that is what I’m paying you for.  Can they modify or change a workout in the moment if it is needed because you ended up moving furniture the day before and your back is sore?  If your trainer doesn’t have a plan for that workout and then moving forward odds are they really aren’t focused on getting you what you want – results.  If you tell them that you don’t want to work a particular body part because it is already tired and they give you blank stare, run for the hills.

Part of the skill as a trainer is also being able to figure out what is appropriate for that person in the moment and constantly be assessing ability.  This can change even movement to movement.  If a client comes in and hasn’t slept, didn’t eat right or has another problem and the trainer just goes ahead with a hard core circuit workout (that they have likely done with every client that day) then they are putting you at risk of injury.  Is someone who either doesn’t know better or doesn’t care worth investing in?

I actually heard of a guy who would put a daily workout on a wipe board and have every client do it that day – no matter their condition, age, size, etc.  Ridiculous.  And not worth your money.

4)      They have no experience dealing with your specific issue.

I know you have a personal relationship with your trainer and would never want to leave them, but honestly sometimes if your goals change or something happens you may need to find a new one.  An example would be a client who gets pregnant and their trainer has never worked with a pregnant woman before – is that really a good idea?  If I suddenly decided to enter a powerlifting competition and my trainer was a marathon runner that might not be a great fit.  If I seriously injure myself and my trainer has no background in that particular injury, is it really wise to hope that they learn with you as a guinea pig?

A trainer with integrity will refer out when situations like this come up, not simply wing it hoping for a good result.  Don’t be afraid to suggest that maybe they could find you someone more suited to your needs.  Likely the money you invest will get you a better result.  Personally I’m never insulted if/when this happens and I have a good network of other professionals that I can refer to.


I know that sometimes I am negative on my industry, but realistically these things happen less often than you think.  Just make sure that they aren’t happening to you!  In order to improve your results, you need to make sure you are working with a top quality professional, and they are definitely out there.  Sometimes you just have to weed through them a bit before finding a good one.  Let me know if there is anything you would add to this list and feel free to comment and subscribe!

Why I Don’t Agree with Online Training (But I’m Trying it Anyway)

Part of the whole philosophy behind person training (at least for me) is that it is personal.  It is dictated by the client and based on their individual structure and movement ability and goals.  Every exercise has a purpose and a goal during each workout, even if it is simply to have more resistance along the same profile than the last time we met.  Each week we try to progressively move forward down the path of their choosing.  My clients get 100% of my attention when they are with me, sometimes to the point of annoyance.  But I just consider that part of my job.

Online training to me in the fitness industry has always meant cookie cutter programs, sent to each person who was promised a “custom workout and diet”.  I’ve actually known fitness competitors who place in one show turned “pro trainers” who simply copy and paste workouts that their coach did with them and send them to all of their clients online.  To me that has no integrity, skill or purpose whatsoever.  It isn’t anything that the person couldn’t find themselves for free online with a simple Google search, but for some reason they are willing to pay someone $100 a month for it.  Strange but true.

So what’s the solution?  As you can (and probably have) read on my blog, I’m not one to spout a bunch of garbage because there is enough of that in my industry.  Online training is only as good as the trainer and the trainee.  At the end of the day, if you don’t do the work, you’re not going to get the results.  What an online program provides you with is at least a big tool in order to get started on that journey without the travel, cost of a trainer in person or getting ripped off by your local chain gym.  Fundamentally if people want to work with someone online at least when they are working with someone like me or my colleagues they are getting a trainer that still operates with some integrity.  Like I have always said – vet your trainers carefully, people!

The trick is to find that bridge where there is proper attention to detail (at least as much as can be controlled) and the proper intention behind each exercise.  Is it going to be as effective as working one on one with someone?  Of course not.  But it is certainly better than nothing and can sometimes prompt people to seek out a good trainer to work with in person.  At least that is my hope behind starting this up.  Even if it isn’t with me, with any luck I can create some results for people and fuel their desire to be healthy and move better even if they never actually see me face to face.

You can still get training that has purpose, intention and appropriateness without the same level of detail that you might get working with someone one on one, and it might fit better into your budget.  I’ve had to turn away far too many clients due to budget restrictions that really need help and guidance and support, and that always upsets me.  It might sound a bit arrogant, but I would rather have people working with someone who actually knows and cares about what they are doing than working with about 80% of the trainers you see in most gyms across the country.  They simply don’t care enough or have enough education to know why they are doing things.

So there you have it – I’m online!  I’ll keep you posted on how things progress and if this mad experiment becomes something that I can continue.  I have software ready to go and if you want to check it out, simply email me.  And, if you want to help me out as I get this little venture started, let me know.  I’m offering a substantial discount if people are willing to put up with some bugs in the system and give me 3 months to help them out.

The Cleaver Vs. The Scalpel

I’ve written before many times on how easy it is to kick someone’s ass physically.  In fact, I wrote about it previously under “Anyone Can Kick Somebody’s Ass” if you care to check it out.  Many times in my industry clients fall victim to trainers pushing them far too hard, or people are victims themselves by putting themselves through a workout that they have no business doing, especially over a period of time.   Due to the theory of “no pain, no gain” people think wrongly about forces and how they are applied to the body, imagining that the harder they work the faster things are going to move.  In fact many times the opposite is true, and you’re doing yourself far more harm than good by trying to stimulate the body past what it is capable of dealing with.

I was in my local butcher the other day watching a guy cut up various bits of meat while my order was being prepared, and I couldn’t help but think that the instruments he was using wasn’t too far off from what some trainers try to use when trying to mitigate change.  For some cuts there was no precision at all, just a big cleaver that hacked up everything as fast as possible for the sake of getting it done.  Now, these guys are probably better at using a cleaver than anyone because of experience, which can also be the basis for a skilled trainer to be using force like that.  They can hack through a joint without thinking about it because they have done it 1000 times.   They know just where to strike in order to separate things without having to do it again, possibly dulling the blade in the process.

However, then I saw a more delicate operation being done on a fish, which was a very precise series of cuts with a razor thin blade in order to remove bones, which if not done properly completely ruins the meat in both look and feel.  This is the other side of the equation.  If you use a cleaver to debone a fish, you’re going to get a big smelly mess on the floor and the precision that you need just isn’t there.  If you use a scalpel to hack up a chicken, you’re likely to not only take forever but get really frustrated when you try to cut through a joint.  When I’m dealing with a serious injury case, it needs to be precise, focused energy devoted to doing exactly what I want to have happen, otherwise I’m going to potentially make the person worse, not better.  However, if I’m dealing with a person who needs to be able to generate a lot of force for a specific physical act, then maybe they need a different approach.

So does the desired result dictate the tool or the other way around?

In my experience too many people think too much about the outcome and not how they are going to get there.  They are so focused on the goal and willing to do whatever it take to get there they forget about the tool, and that in the physical world there is an endless amount of tools at their disposal in order to achieve that goal.  This is where real skill as a trainer enters the picture.  Just like a master chef, a really good trainer can pull out a variety of tools in order to create the desired outcome that they are looking for, whether it be simple movement, higher amounts of force, or even something like changes to lifestyle for a client.  Some people need a cleaver because they need to have things completely changed – and they can handle the force.  Some require a bit of a finer touch and just some very precise modifications in order to keep their progress moving forward.  Many clients prefer the cleaver, thinking that the best approach is just to smash everything, when the scalpel is often what is needed, especially at the beginning of an exercise program, or a change to what you are trying to accomplish.  The ego can easily get in the way.

So the next time you are evaluating your exercise program, ask yourself – what tool do you need in order to make things the most effective for what you are trying to achieve at that moment?  And on top of that, would you be better off using another tool at that point because the one you really want to use or are used to using doesn’t do the right thing?  This requires thought and constant evaluation.  The benefit of working with someone who knows how to do this is that it takes the guess work out of it for you.  However, even if you are working on your own just remember that tools are just that – tools.  It is the person behind them performing the movement or coaching you through the movement that is actually causing the change.  Make sure that you are using the right ones.  And that the person you are trusting with your physical health has as many tools as possible in order to get the job done.

And if anyone in Ottawa needs a good butcher, just let me know.

Feel free to share, like and follow!