Personal Training: Trainers Must Focus on Delivering Client-Centered Service; Delivery of Anything Less is Theft

With the state of health of the world tending toward being overweight, the area of fitness (to help people take off the excess pounds or maybe add muscle mass) is gaining at an impressive pace. However, the personal trainers that are hired to do the work are in an industry that is completely unregulated; it seems that all one needs is a muscular athletic physique to be a “good trainer”.

On the contrary, I think at the heart of a good personal trainer is a person that is focused on their client and is fully devoted to teaching clients well. The physique of the trainer is mostly irrelevant because the client is there to improve his or her fitness and not to stroke the ego of the trainer. Sadly, it appears that the industry is self-focused–for the gyms (more revenue) and for the trainers (more revenue and, perhaps, an ego boost). For potential clients, it is very much a “let the buyer beware” situation.

I must admit that it is easy to say “caveat emptor”, but it is very hard to do because the information is so confusing and conflicting. From personal experience, the mere fact that a trainer is in great physical condition means absolutely nothing; a client must be focused on achieving his or her own goals exclusively.  Many trainers are good at selling themselves; for some of them, it is later when service is expected that problems emerge.

One problem I notice that usually signals the complete failure of the training project is the lack of written records. Without proper records (anthropomorphic measurements, determination of caloric intake, et cetera), it is impossible to determine progress. With the lack of service, the client risks having himself or herself and his or her hard-earned money taken advantage of because without client-focused service and recordkeeping–

  • Personal training becomes entertainment in that the trainer comes up with convoluted exercises that require the trainer to be there for the exercise to be done (thereby maintaining the cash flow of the trainer (in theory)).
  • Workouts become events that demonstrate the “superiority” of the trainer (at the client’s expense). For example, giving a unconditioned client a very difficult workout (beyond the person’s reasonable capabilities) so that the trainer can present an image of toughness to those who happen to witness the punishing onslaught. [A trainer who does this type of thing should earn a firing not praise.]
  • On the contrary, a trainer could provide exercise that is so unchallenging that the client can never hope to meet their goals.  This act would again theorhetically ensure a steady cash flow from an unwitting client.
  • Workouts are changed so frequently that the client does not have time to acquire proper skills.
  • Workouts are geared not for the client but for the purpose of filling up the allotted time period.

People who are considering whether to hire a personal trainer should keep in mind that they are hiring an employee and that employee should be focused on the reasonable improvement of the client.