The Role of a Trainer – How Far Does It Go?

We made it to Nashville safely last night!  We are spending today with Chris’ extended family.  This is the first time they are meeting Emmalyne!  I am going to enjoy this precious family time and leave you with an awesome guest post by my FitFluential friend, Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate!  You might remember that she and I teamed up to write about what our wonder vitamins would be 😉


I am so excited to be blogging for Madeline today! I adore reading about her and her little family. I’m a sucker for Emmalyne photos, as well as her Sweat 2 Street updates! I wish her luck in her big move and hope that you enjoy reading what I have to say today.

            I heard a story from a friend recently that really bugged me. She doesn’t want me to give names, including the name of the gym where this experience happened, so I will not be doing so. But it made me ask myself the following question: How far does the role of a personal trainer go? In other words, does a trainer have obligations beyond those in his or her technical work description (the schedule followed, the types of training given, the gym’s rules and regulations, etc)?

My friend and her mom signed up at a gym that gave them each two personal training sessions for free with each membership. During the mother’s first session, her trainer asked her what her biggest problem areas are when it comes to working out. What areas got in her way the most? The mom came up with a response easily – motivation. She has major trouble staying motivated and it is very easy for one little slip-up or hiccup in a workout routine or plan to de-rail her for good.



It came time for the second training session, but something came up, and my friend’s mom had to cancel a little less than 24 hours ahead of time. The gym’s policy is that any personal training session cancelled in that window still had to be paid for – or, in the case of this free session, was forfeited by the new gym member. Mom attempted to ask for an exception and reschedule, but the trainer simply quoted the policy again and refused.

Discouraged but not completely done, my friend’s mother still went to the gym to get a workout in during the time she had tried to reschedule the training session for. She saw the trainer there that had refused her. What is the problem with that? While working out, she watched that trainer sit around and do absolutely nothing. Yes, the trainer was following the gym’s policy by not allowing the session to be rescheduled. But it was cancelled very close to the 24 hour deadline (i.e. not EXTREMELY last minute). And – this is the biggest issue to me – my friend’s mom had shared with the trainer that staying motivated is her BIGGEST issue when it comes to sticking with a workout routine. I don’t now about you, but the loss of my second personal training session and subsequently seeing my trainer choosing to sit around doing nothing during a shift instead of training me – in other words, using the gym’s policy as an excuse to slack off at work – would really put a damper on my motivation.




Remember, my friend’s mom is new to the world of fitness and really needs these sessions to learn effective and safe exercises. She’s not an experienced gym-goer just looking for a new routine, like many of the readers of Madeline’s blog may be. She needs some guidance as she’s getting started out, and the feeling that the guidance is inaccessible, and that the person who can give her access just doesn’t care, has understandably made it tough for her to get excited about going back to that gym and work out. All this leads to my initial question – does the trainer have an obligation, or should he or she feel obligated, to go beyond coming to work, going through the motions to get paid, and go home? I’m not suggesting an all-out disregard for gym policies. But perhaps a supervisor could have been asked for an exception. Heck, at least make an effort to search for something that can be done outside of the black-and-white rulebook!



It’s not just about physical training, though that is what a trainer’s certification is for. Like it or not, the mental stuff plays a huge role. There seems to be a serious flaw in a relationship with a physical trainer if that trainer is not providing emotional support as well. The problem is, the job description and the rulebook doesn’t certify the trainer in or state any motivational techniques. So is it up to him or her to go beyond the basics and be motivating and encouraging to clients, even if the gym’s policies don’t outright say so? I think the answer is yes. As soon as you take on the responsibility of training someone, you are there to do what you can to aid him or her in getting into an effective, consistent workout routine. A trainer cannot make a point of asking someone what his or her biggest obstacle is in getting to that point, and then not be expected to do anything with that information once it is shared.

I’m hoping at this point I’m making sense, and that you can understand my point of view on this.


What do you think, oh loyal readers of Madeline? Agree, disagree, or in between?