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How to make the most out of your personal training sessions

February 03, 2014 6 min read


Sometimes I read these blogs about, “What your trainer really thinks”  or “10 things your trainer will never tell you”.  As a trainer I read them, but they always leave me with a terrible feeling.  I really dislike these articles, and I don’t like how sometimes ungrateful and condescending these articles can sound. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jan/22/what-really-thinking-personal-trainer http://www.dailyhiit.com/hiit-blog/hiit-life/fitness/14-things-your-trainer-wants-to-say-to-you-but-cant/ First of all,  why make fun or put down your clients, which are your source of income. Your business would fail without their loyalty!  Second of all, where’s the empathy and why so critical? We come from different places, opinions, situations and ideas… Yes maybe it can be distracting if your client keeps checking their phone, but who am I to judge, maybe they are waiting on a super important phone call?  Instead of complaining about the behaviors or what irritates you about your clients, maybe some useful information on how a client can make the most of their money and their session would be helpful. Instead of being  critical and condescending,  which will really get nothing accomplished.   There’s tons of great trainers, and as a trainer I know that my clients could have plenty of choices, and they chose me. I better make them one happy camper, or they can walk out the door in a snap. So if you are a client of mine, or have a trainer, here’s some tips to make the most of your experience:   1.  Practice what you have learned in the session that we just trained. It’s really tough to build a skill, get stronger or improve your form if you only go over it with your trainer once a week. We might not get to your back squats for a few weeks after we went over it the first time, and without any practice, we will be right where we left off.   If we go over jumping rope,   incorporate it in the next few workouts you do solo.  I always send you home with your homework,  a printed out workout of what we did,  so that you have a plan for the week.   I’m usually only with you one hour out of the 168 hours of the week…. and if you don’t apply what you have learned it’s going to be really hard to make any progress. 2.  If your coach teaches classes,  take them!  Your coach already knows your level, and they will have their eye on you to make sure that your left knees isn’t caving in, or that you aren’t tensing your shoulders on your jump rope.  They know your weaknesses and strengths. They will make sure you are lifting enough weight, or that if your knee is injured, what modifications you need to make. Usually your coach will have a style of how they train, and that will carry over into their classes. You can bring what you have learned in your personal trainings sessions to class, making the most of your sessions. 3. Don’t hesitate to text, email or call me when you have a question or concern about your training. If your coach doesn’t keep in contact with you, or you feel they are unapproachable or too busy…. I’d think twice about having them as your trainer.  It’s my job as your coach to answer your questions, and to be available when you forget how to do an exercise or what weight you should use.  Yes I’m busy, but never too busy for you. You are my client, and I will do what it takes to give you the service and support you deserve. 4. I can get you strong, improve your fitness condition, teach you skills and give you great advice, but if fat loss is one of your goals,  your nutrition has to be on point.  I provide nutrition coaching as well, and never lie that if you want the fat to come off… time needs to be set aside for proper meal planning and nutrition. Once again, I’m usually only with you one hour out of the 168, to make the most of your sessions and fat loss goals, you need to be on board with a smart eating plan. Be honest with yourself and your diet, this is usually the toughest part for everyone! 5.  Tell me what your goals are! If we are training towards something that is important to you, and that comes from you, chances are you will be more interested and inclined to keep pushing.  If you really aren’t interested in Olympic lifting, and you want to master the perfect pushup or walk on your hands,  well tell your coach. There’s a billion approaches to fitness and yes your coach is going to have a style and passion about a type of training, but be verbal about what you really want to get out of your sessions. If I have a client that loves yoga,  that doesn’t have a single ounce of interest in working with barbells, I’m not gonna jam Olympic lifting down her throat. We  can use different approaches to training like Kettle bells or body weight training that spark an interest in her. Communicate with your coach, and remember your training is about YOU, and what YOU want to accomplish on your fitness journey. 5.  I don’t judge you, and would rather you be honest with me prior to our training session. For example if you are super hung over, have any pain, really tired, didn’t get any sleep, PLEASE   tell me… that way I’m not gonna make you do 100 burpees so you barf on my shoes, or make you do heavy squats if your knees is bothering you. If you forgot to eat breakfast before your session, tell me and I can grab you a bar from my bag, so you don’t get light headed and woozy  10 minutes into our session. With the information  you give me,  I can keep things appropriate for you that day. We can go over how to do a turkish get up if you aren’t feeling 100 percent, or work on mobility drills you can do for your warm ups… that way you are still getting a quality session, and we aren’t wasting your time.   6. Don’t feel bad about canceling if you are sick. There’s a difference between sick and just feeling lethargic and unmotivated. If it’s the later, come, you will feel terrible about missing your session. Remember the hardest part usually is lacing up the trainers and getting out the door. You never regret a workout.  If you truly are sick, cancel! I don’t want to get sick myself and you won’t be in the proper condition to truly get the most out of your training session.   7.  Don’t be afraid to be my friend and share your life with me.  I hear trainers complaining that they feel like counselors. I want to keep the lines of communication open between us, and I don’t mind when you share with me. Training can be an emotional journey,  and I’m actually touched and honored that you feel comfortable enough to share your life with me. Yes, I want to be professional,  honor your privacy and I never disclose what we have discussed in our sessions, but I also want you to just be you, and comfortable enough to discuss whatever issues, concerns, etc that you feel like bringing up.  I’d like to be more than a trainer to my clients, I also want them to feel like there’s more backing our trainer, client relationship, and I’m a supportive and caring friend as well. If the talking gets too out of hand, I’ll keep you on track and on to the next exercise, so that we aren’t sitting around talking the whole session obviously, but there’s nothing wrong in my opinion then making friendships with my clients.   Again, these are my opinions on how to get the most of your training experience. I could add a few more in a future post, and I’m sure some trainers will disagree on a few, but like I said in the beginning, there’s lots of trainers out there, and it’s about finding someone who you vibe with, is getting you results and truly cares about your health and well being. My clients are not dollar signs to me,  they are awesome individuals who continue to amaze me, make me smile and have made the best friends in the world! xoxo JOssy PDXstrength.com And on a funny note...   to lighten things up, enjoy the video below.

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