I recently stumbled upon a very interesting article: “9 Secrets Your Personal Trainer Doesn’t Want You to Know.” As a certified personal trainer myself, I read through each “secret,” mostly nodding my head. Because – believe it or not – they’re mostly true. Maybe they’re not all true for me personally as a trainer, but I can easily attribute them to other trainers – both good ones and not-so-good ones- I’ve worked with.
I know a number of trainers who have relied on coffee and cigarettes to stave off hunger in order to fit in a smaller-sized workout pant. I know a lot of trainers who work out hard, and often play hard — pounding beers and pizza most of the weekend. There are definitely trainers who dial up the customer service for higher-profile clients, and I’d be remiss to not admit that some clients I’ve had myself didn’t really need me to get a good workout. Also, believe me that all trainers hate it when you cancel an appointment at the last minute, even if you do pay for the session.
Surprised? Don’t be. Personal trainers really aren’t that different from you. Sure, they have more workout experience and knowledge than you do, and them standing there with that clipboard and correcting your form makes them seem like they’re superhuman sometimes, but they have a lot of the same health and wellness hang-ups and struggles that you probably do.
Working in the personal training industry can be tough. There’s pressure to look a certain way, and the hours are downright brutal. It’s not uncommon to put in 50+ hours at the gym each week, with appointments ranging from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. for most. Between the lack of sleep, the pressure to be thin and muscular, the long hours and the stress, personal trainers can easily fall into the trap of using less-than-healthy means to perk themselves up, including junk food, energy drinks and happy hours to de-stress.
Just like anyone else, personal trainers give in to temptation every now and again. They miss workouts. They have cravings for junk food. They lose their willpower just like you do. In a nutshell, they’re human. So the next time you start comparing yourself to a trainer — either thinking they don’t understand your struggles or that they’re perfect in every way — remember that no one is perfect, including personal trainers. Healthy living and staying fit is a journey, not a destination. We’re all on our own paths — no matter what we do for a living.