I’ve heard quite a few disappointing stories about personal trainers in the industry who get their clients to focus on weight loss when it’s not even their core goal.
In fact, I had that exact experience myself. Before I was a PT, I went into the gym wanting to get fit and healthy, fullstop. I needed accountability to build a habit and I had no idea how to use the machines or structure a workout, so I started with a personal trainer.
We had a consultation and he asked me my weight, and said “how much do you want to lose?”. I told him that weight loss wasn’t a goal, but he pushed. “Just give me a rough figure”. Eventually, he came up with a figure himself. We started training and he used an app to track my macros, monitor my diet, and he weighed me each week. I kind of got pulled along on this journey that I never intended to be on, and it meant that I started worrying about weight when I was perfectly healthy and didn’t want, nor need, to lose any.
In the end I stopped training with him because I didn’t want to be obsessing over my calorie intake. I hated counting calories and still do. It was only that my goals were clear in my mind, that I’d stopped training with him. I knew that we weren't aligned and that I was going to get to where I wanted to be from working with him.
You should be able to understand how your trainer is helping you get to your goals. If what you’re doing in your sessions feels misaligned with your goals, don’t be afraid to vocalise it. Ask your trainer why you’re doing certain things. A good trainer will be able to communicate answers in a way that you can understand clearly. If you understand why you’re doing certain things, it helps you realise why they’re important and it gives you extra motivation.
It’s like any goal you have in life. If what you’re doing now doesn’t align with your future goals, how are you going to get there? Some trainers, managers, and sales people will only focus on their own goals. I’ll give some examples to show why this is a problem:
“I want to have amazing before and after case studies” - what if your client is not interested in aesthetic gains? What if they are only interested in performance, or mental health? If your coach is pushing you into things that don’t feel comfortable, maybe you should consider somebody else.
“I want my department to make the most profit” - if your manager at work ruthlessly pursues such a goal, they may start to lose the human side of their job and lose their team.
“I want to sell xxx number of items this year” - this salesperson may end up selling you a product that’s not right for you. You waste your money and you never go back them. It’s lose lose.
In all these instances, if you are sure of your own goals and have an understanding of how you’re going to get there, you will be much more able to resist getting pulled in the opposite direction.
Before you get a personal trainer, change jobs or make a big purchase, make sure you understand wholeheartedly what you’re trying to achieve.
Do your research, and find a professional who understands you and shows that they’ve listened to you. They will be the person who will be honest and put your needs above their own.