I am guessing the ‘Average Joe’ public is probably thinking the first thing that makes a personal trainer happy is seeing a client on the deck, lying in the fetal position, covered in sweat and whimpering for mercy. If that is your first thought, then you have been watching way too many episodes of “The Biggest Loser” my friend! So, in the spirit of David Letterman and the Tonight Show, here are my “Top 10 Things that Make a Personal Trainer Happy."
10. A Snack, Pee, and Mental Break
We often have clients booked in a back-to-back fashion, much like a doctor would. It's not uncommon to see a trainer inhaling a banana or other snacks between clients or, once in a while, glancing at the clock toward the end of a session while fighting the urge to do the infamous toddler pee-pee dance. So, those little 5-10 minute breaks can be a lifesaver for us.
9. Witty Banter
Admittedly, (or maybe this one is just me) a client with a sense of humor and a little spirited repartee seems to make the session go rather quickly and always adds a dose of entertainment value to the session. Let’s face it, if we can make a personal training session more fun, then working out will no longer seem like a chore. If we can make it not seem like a laborious chore, then you are going to be more likely to make it a lifestyle choice. It’s got to be fun! Let’s just say, a training session isn’t complete without at least one light-hearted eye roll from a client.
8. Show up on Time
This is a biggie for me personally. I mentioned before, we are often booked solid and have clients stacked back to back. If you are late, one of two things will happen. Either you will cause the trainer to run a little behind the remaining part of the day or your session will be cut short. Either way, it is inconsiderate to your personal trainer, and you are sending a nonverbal message that you are not committed and you are not ready to take your health and wellness journey seriously. If you REALLY want to impress your personal trainer, show up a little early and jump on a cardio machine of your choice for a little pre-session warm up. That personally makes me smile proudly every time!
7. Clients Asking Health-Related Questions
When you ask health-related questions, it's sending the message that you are buying into the training process and you are invested in the time with your trainer. Think about it from a consumer aspect: when you sign up for personal training, you're not purchasing a tangible item you can take home at the end of the hour, you're investing in what your personal trainer has between his or her ears. You are getting their time and knowledge. I love it when my clients ask questions because I want them to be armed with knowledge so they're not tempted to buy some infomercial fitness widget or put blind faith into a fad diet/supplement. Trust me, if they are willing to give you a set of Ginsu Knives if you manage to be one of the first 100 callers, it's probably something your personal trainer wouldn’t endorse. Just sayin.'
Even if I don’t score the referral of a new client, just the fact that you, the client, thought enough of your personal training experience to suggest it to someone else is a HUGE compliment!
5. Thank You’s
Everyone, including your personal trainer, appreciates the common courtesy of a simple thank you. I love to hear at the end of a session, “Thank you! That was a great workout!” That simple phrase at the end of a session never gets old. Not only did you let your trainer know that you are thankful for the workout and their time, but it also sends the message that it was a job well done on your personal trainer’s part. If you want to take that thank you to the next level, post something on social media about surviving another workout and tag your personal trainer in the post. It probably won’t buy you any mercy during your next training session, but in my opinion, that is very flattering and the ultimate thank you!
4. Be Accountable for the Rest of the Week
As a personal trainer, thanks to you, the client, I have control over one to two hours of your week. Even if I put you through the grinder a couple of hours a week with no mercy, there is NO possible way I can overcome the damage you can do with the remaining 166 hours you have left in your week. No personal trainer on the planet can! Take ownership of the rest of the week! Think of personal training as a catalyst for what you do the rest of the week when your trainer is not around. Are you working out at any point the rest of the week? What are you putting in your stomach the rest of the week? Yes, it is possible that your personal trainer isn’t cutting the mustard, but before you cast blame, you should examine what you are or are not doing to uphold your end of the deal.
3. Share Your Success
This is another big one for me, and here is why. Think of your personal trainer and you as a team. Your mini-victories along the way are a reflection of what you are doing with your personal trainer and following the plan they have laid out before you. So, your success is shared by your personal trainer. It makes my day to hear a client tell me about how their clothing is starting to fit looser or that because of what we are doing, they had to go shopping over the weekend. Also, remember it’s not just the outward changes. Your whole physiology is changing. I recently had a client tell me that she went to see her doctor and he decided to lower the dosage of her blood pressure meds. That's a serious win in my book!
Ahhh… the simple things in life. Seeing a client sweat is instant feedback that I am doing my job. Every once in a while, I get a new client and hear them say, “I never sweat during workouts.” Aaand… that is the sound of the gauntlet hitting the floor. In my mind, it is not a matter of "if" but "when" is that client going to drop some sweat. I am talking about beading up on your forehead, dripping off of the tip of your nose, pit stain sweat here! Sweat makes me happy! Some of my clients might even say it makes me giddy like a schoolgirl. It means your heart rate is up, metabolism rate is elevated and calories are being burned! Reader’s Digest version, sweat means I am doing my job!
AAAAAAAAND the number one way to make your personal trainer happy is…
1. Show Up at the Gym on Your Own
I can’t stress to you enough how proud this makes me feel to be working out a client and look over and see another client working out on their own! This also goes back to number 4 on our Top 10 List. The client gets it! They are in it to win it! They are taking ownership of their health and wellness journey! They are not dependent on me. The baby bird is going to make it when they leave the nest! Sniff… They grow up so fast…
Manager Fitness Club
Community Medical Centers Fitness Center