I will never discount the value of a skilled fitness trainer, because I know the importance of having a strong foundation of knowledge in exercise principles and the ability to demonstrate proper form on exercises. However, all trainers must develop the ability to motivate their clients if they are to maintain a certain level of success in taking their clients to the next level and helping them to ultimately reach fitness goals.
I have to laugh when I see trainers who are basically just really good at counting when they are with their clients. One trainer I know of spends the entire session time blabbing on and on about all of his personal business, never instructing his clients, putting them on no-brainer machines, then interrupting his boring personal stories to count out reps. IMMEDIATELY after the client is done with a set, the trainer continues with his story! This has occurred, without fail, every single time I have been near him when he was at the gym training a client. In addition, he is seriously overweight! At least he recently began working out at the gym from time to time (not consistently), because he went for years without training at that gym, and it definitely showed. It blows my mind that he even has clients, because he does absolutely nothing whatsoever to motivate them. In addition, his clients NEVER transform. His physique doesn’t transform either. Sorry, but no trainer should look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
A trainer should be a cheerleader for clients, encouraging, motivating and challenging them. It isn’t enough to hold clients accountable for showing up for training sessions. Great trainers motivate clients to continue with consistent healthy choices both in and out of the gym. Great trainers also lead by example, and focus on their clients instead of wasting energy during a training session by talking about themselves. Whenever I am training a client and the client asks me personal questions, my answers are brief and punctuated with, “I’ll tell you more after the training session is over”. How can I expect my clients to focus on their workout routines if I spend time gossiping about my personal life? I honestly think that there should be a veil of mystery when it comes to a trainer’s personal life in order to preserve the trainer-client relationship. Though the trainer-client rapport is very important, I firmly believe that the focus should ALWAYS be on the client. After all, the client is the one paying for the expertise of the trainer, and deserves to be the center of attention for the 55 minutes allotted.