Here’s a secret: Personal Trainers know when you’re cheating. They don’t have to ask, “How is your eating?” or “Did you get your cardio in?” If your body is not responding to the prescribed program, regimen and diet, you are doing something that you are not supposed to be doing.
When you begin personal training, you are investing your time and money to achieve a physical goal. It’s a commitment. As trainers, it’s our job to help you reach that goal. In fact, the better you look, the better we look! If you aren’t showing improvement or are gaining weight (when weight loss is your goal), trainers look like they are not doing their job. Because trainers don’t like to be put in that position, some trainers may make you sign a contract, or even drop you as a client (I’m one of them).
Here are some of the expectations and things you can do to make sure you are getting your money’s worth and keeping your end of the (verbal or non-verbal) agreement:
#1 Stop drinking
One glass of wine with dinner once a week? Fine. Going out drinking with your friends? NO. Even if you are sticking to a vodka soda, those calories add up. Not only do the calories from alcohol add up, but you are also highly unlikely to eat well if you have a hangover. I’ve never heard any of my friends say, “My head is killing me, would love some egg whites and broccoli.” You are more likely going to go for burgers and pancakes, which is a waste of calories. Don’t do it.
#2 Get adequate rest
Even if you are not staying out until all hours drinking, you need to go to bed early and get adequate rest. Your body heals and repairs itself when you sleep so if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you aren’t getting enough recovery, which means you can’t physically perform at your best.
#3 Exercise on your own
You should not only be exercising with your trainer, but on your own as well. If weight loss or weight gain is your goal, you should be at the gym 4-5 days a week. Ask your trainer what you should be doing when you are not with him/her and get it done. Also, give each workout everything you have. Walking on a treadmill while talking to your friend does not count as a cardio. I wish it did.
#4 Come ready to work
Before each session with your trainer, make sure you’ve eaten and are hydrated. I can’t tell you how many sessions I’ve had to cut short because my client didn’t eat well or enough. It’s a waste of your money. Also, leave your phone in the locker room. Focus on your goal and enjoy the little time you have, where you can focus on yourself.
In return, trainers should design each program to incorporate your likes/dislikes and limitations. They should detail which workouts you should be doing when you are not working out with them, and if they are qualified, they can and should discuss diet. They should make clear what their cancellation policies are and be on time with appointments. You should be able to reach your trainer and if you need to leave a message. Expect a response within 24 hours.
In any relationship, communication is key, and like any relationship, you and your trainer will have good workouts and bad workouts together. I promise that if you and your trainer can agree to these few things, you both will be happy.