6 things you should never ask a personal trainer
Stop this now!
As a personal trainer who's been around for over a decade now, you'd probably think that I would be better able to just "turn a blind-eye" to some of the silly, annoying and often downright dumb comments made by clients over the years. And, to be honest, most of them are actually quite funny (although frustratingly so at times) but enough is enough - it's time to throw some of these comments under the bus and shine some light on truth.
Now, before we get into these, I need to preface that although I am certain men have equally annoying things they say and do, I can only attest to what I've personally heard from my clients; 95% of whom have been of the female gender.
So, with that said, here's the loose word-for-word script between myself and my most frustrating clients over the years.
1. The Frustrating Favourite #1
Client: Can we do heaps of stomach today as I ate too much on the weekend?
Me: **Blank faced stare**
Client: I know you've told me hundreds of times that just because you work the stomach it doesn't mean you'll lose fat around it and that it's a small muscle group so it won't burn many calories, but still, can we? -- I feel fat.
Me: **Blank face stare**
Client: Ugh, fine, back to squats then
Client: I hate you **said softly under her breath whilst staring at me with an RBF**
Me: What was that?
Client: **Fake smile** Nothing.
In truth, doing sit-ups and crunches is not only terrible for your spine, it's terrible as a primary focus for fat loss or body composition change as it's such a small amount of muscle that the metabolic cost is minimal in the scheme of results.
And this whole idea of "feeling the burn" as a way to determine whether it's working or not is completely false, too. Your goal should be to work as many muscles as possible or try to progress THE number of reps and/or weight you're using each week rather than being lazy by just laying down on your back and crunching yourself out of results. Try variations of planks and core exercises that utilise more muscle and you'll be much better off.
The Frustrating Favourite #2
Client: Is [enter obviously healthy and nutritious food] good for me?
Me: Seriously?! Did you honestly just ask me if carrots were good for you??
Client: Well, are they?
Me: Seriously?! Ok, maybe you shouldn't worry too much about the "carrot" and instead ask me about how healthy those three tequilas, five espresso martinis and that 5am lamb kebab you put on your Instagram story Friday night were? You know with @jenny_99 hashtag don't tell my trainer?!
Client: *Embarrassingly looks down towards the ground*
Me: Thought so.
Come on! I think we all know that fruits, vegetables, and whole foods -- for the most part, are "good" for our bodies as they possess nutrients vital to our health. But, yes, sure -- some of us DO have certain intolerances to certain types of these foods. However, I'd say that 99% of the time people ask this sort of question shouldn't worry nearly as much about these natural things sourced from the earth and start considering whether their weekend indiscretions and/or lack of consistency with nutrition is the real culprit for them feeling and functioning like s**t.
The Frustrating Funny #3
Client: I need to lose 5 kilos in 3 days. Can you make that happen?
Me: Well, it's not very healthy to lose weight that quickly and...**gets cut off mid-sentence**
Client: Never mind, I'll just do a juice cleanse.
Me: Get out.
Don't be fooled by shows like the Biggest Loser and late night infomercials! Because regardless of what they say, it's not healthy to lose weight that fast. Not only that, most people don't realise that the majority of the weight you lose when you go onto a juice cleanse, or any super low-calorie diet for that matter -- is mostly just water and muscle.
Sure, you'll lose "some" fat, but it's most definitely not "all" fat. What's worse is that because of this muscle loss your metabolism will begin to slow down as a result, so when you eventually come off your stupid cleanse or diet, you'll quickly put all the water weight back on and be far more likely to put fat on as your body will now be burning fewer calories throughout the day as a result.
Stop thinking about weight and start thinking about ensuring you are healthier and more active -- the fact that you want to lose weight quickly is proof that something isn't right with your health to begin with.
The Frustrating Funny #4
Client: Ok, I'm 110% committed and ready to get into the best shape of my life; just tell me what I need to do and I'll do it.
Me: That's awesome. What we'll need to do is get you training 5-6 training times a week, eating clean and healthy foods about 80% of the time, drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, and trying not to drink too much alcohol. Cool?
Client: Umm, what about if I just wanted to get into slightly better shape?
Me: So, what you really mean is that you're 110% committed to getting into the best shape of your life as long as you don't have to change much, if any, of what you're currently doing now?
Client: Yes, exactly.
Me: **Blank stare plus not-so-subtle eye roll**
What can I say; if you're not willing to make the sacrifices to your freedom and lifestyle then you don't deserve to get into the best shape of your life. Because if you want more for your health, then you have to do more for your health. It's literally that simple.
The Frustrating Funny #5
Client: How do I lose this fat right here?
Client: Here! **Points to and flicks at the tiniest piece of fat she could find on her body**
Me: Oh, we would just need to focus on your training, diet, and try to build a little more muscle and soon enough your body fat percentage will begin to go down.
Client: No! You're not listening! I don't want to lose it from anywhere else, just here! **aggressively points to and flicks said piece of fat again in the hope my answer will somehow be different as if I had somehow failed to realise that it was that one piece of fat that could be removed by one magical exercise or food**
Me: Never mind, I give up.
Sorry to burst your bubble but you can't choose where you lose it. There's no such thing as spot reduction by doing a specific exercise or eating a certain way as your body chooses where it loses weight. This painful truth is determined by your genetics and hormonal profile, as some people carry more weight in certain areas and therefore find it harder to lose it from those areas despite their best efforts.
I know, it sucks, but for best results you just need to be consistent with your nutrition, training, and lifestyle to ensure you're as healthy as possible whilst losing weight. Hard work will pay off eventually but there's certainly no magic wand.
Frustrating Funny #6
Client: My best friend is so skinny, but has a terrible diet and hardly ever trains - why does she have a better body than me?
Me: You know how you asked your mum about that bump on your head and whether she dropped you when you were younger?
Me: And you know how she said she didn't?
Me: She lied.
This one is just one of those annoyingly sad facts of life. Because in all honesty, although we often have this deep desire to "be different" and "stand out from the crowd" it seems we only want it when it benefits us.
But we're so different in so many ways and what works for some, just doesn't work for others. So, you can be annoyed at your friend all you want, but rather than getting all resentful, try to focus on how you can improve your health and find what works best for you. Own your health.
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