As a trainer I understand that focusing on a client’s goals and the quickest path to reach them is the key focus of most training relationships.
As I work with my clients and continue extending my in-field personal training education, I’ve come to notice a common theme, however. And that theme is workout enjoyment. Do you enjoy your workouts? And by enjoy I mean do you LIKE the activities you are doing while you’re doing them? And do you feel positive and satisfied afterward? I have noticed that some people really don’t. They dread going to the gym, don’t like being there and are dysfunctionally exhausted and/or frustrated after every session. But they trudge on with their workouts because their Personal Trainer prescribed them.
I get that. You hired this individual for a reason. They know what you should be doing, so you should just do it. Right? Well, yes and no. I believe that most trainers have their clients’ best interest at heart. They want you to succeed, and they usually have a go-to method they like to use to make that happen. Perhaps it’s a new methodology they are jazzed about and have recently received certification for. Maybe it’s the system they used themselves to get healthy and fit. Whatever the reasoning, most will start you off with what they believe in and in the way they prefer to train. And that’s great. IF you love what you’re doing.
Now before we continue, I want to qualify the term exercise enjoyment. For the purposes of this post I am talking about clients who like working out, and have given it a good go for 6 to 8 weeks with their trainer and still are just not into their program. If you are brand new to exercise and despise movement in general, then nothing can save you from your lack of enjoyment, and in time your body’s primal need for movement will help your brain get over it.
Back to the not-loving-it-so-much scenario. Even if you have a really good relationship with your trainer, it can be intimidating to ask for a change. Just hoping she’ll notice how sad and miserable you are probably won’t cut it (I don’t see too many gym goers sporting permanent grins during tough workouts anyway). Trainers are a lot of things, but I didn’t see a chapter about clairvoyance in my training textbook. In the course of your talks about progress and goals, you may not actually get asked point blank if you are “enjoying your workouts”. But that doesn’t mean that your trainer doesn’t want to know about it (as long as you’re not using your whiny voice).
But what if she laughs at you? What if she tells you you’ll have to give up your goals? And what if she (gasp) FIRES you? I will bet you my entire certification course fee (which wasn’t cheap) that your request will be well-received and even honored. And if not, then you know she’s not The One, and you can move on to open-minded-er pastures. Either way, if you let your displeasure fester, research shows that it can lead to bad endings all the way around; with you not wanting to address it and eventually scrapping the whole thing (including your goals and all the money you invested) because it’s awkward and not fun for you.
There is more than one way to achieve fitness. So, kind readers, give your trainers the benefit of the doubt and trust that they will be more than willing to change things up if you ask them to. Think about it. There were fit people roaming the planet WAY before the advent of Crossfit, TRX or Kickboxing.
Getting there is half the fun, so be brave and shoot straight. After all, YOU are the customer, and it is your RIGHT to a customized program that you can look forward to, enjoy performing, and will see solid progression from. Even 70% attainment of a goal doing workouts you like is worlds better than the 0% you’ll achieve based on workouts you’ve quit.
Enjoying your workouts? What’s your favorite way to train?