Staying Away From Personal Trainers

Ever since I hurt my shoulder and went to a physical therapist who seemed endlessly disappointed I hadn’t injured it in some kind of violent athletic pursuit (“Racquetball?”  “No.”  “Tennis?”  “Uh-uh.”  “Are you sure?”  “Yeah.”), I’ve made a load of lemonade out of them there lemons.

My shoulder is still a little painful.  Therefore, out of respect for it, I no longer lift weights.  Free, at last!  Hallelujah!

I walk past the weights every time I go to the gym to take a yoga class and feel a little guilty since, after all, I’m still paying some kind of monthly amount so I could, theoretically, use the draconian-looking machines that are straight out of the Spanish Inquisition.  But I think of my shoulder and keep on walking.

Besides, I have another excuse.  Every time I’m at the gym, I begin to get a little uneasy.  What’s going on with all these personal trainers?  I see them leading packs of young girls, showing them how to lunge their way through the gym.  I watch them standing over sweating people whose eyes are bulging out from effort.  “Keep going!  I want 10 more reps!” they say.  I see them forcing people onto big rubber balls and sliding over the wood floors.  “Keep doing that for five minutes!  Keep your neck straight!”

This is healthy?  These people are paying to be treated like that, bossed around by a gym dominatrix?  And what about the personal trainers themselves?  What are they thinking about?  Do they like the people they’re training?  Or, as I secretly wonder sometimes, do they despise them?

“You’re not going fast enough!  Pick up the pace!”  That’s what the little blond-haired martinet always said at the exercise class I used to suffer through in Dallas.  “We’re going to do that routine again.  You’re too slow!”

All the women in the class — who were serious, God knows, about keeping fit since this was Dallas, after all — would groan and grumble and fall back into line and keep moving while the little blond ordered them around.  She always flashed a cold smile and told us we were lazy and slow and would get fat and old, if we didn’t watch it.

That cold smile!  I knew I’d seen it before in history books.  Sure, everybody said Eva Braun departed this earth at the end of World War II, but you never know.  Either she or her clone taught an aerobics class in Dallas and it’s made me eternally suspicious of overly enthusiastic and possibly sadistic personal trainers.  My shoulder and I have avoided them ever since.

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

3 comments… add one
  • Now, this was a great post! I think you’ve got a point.

  • Hiring the right personal trainer can be a positive and life changing experience. Yes, many of them can be way too perky or mean or annoying or full of it. Trust me, I know, I worked with them for years. But, there are also incredible ones out there who sincerely care about people and love what they do. I would not completely give up on personal trainers from a bad experience. If you have a bad mechanic or a bad doctor you would not quit getting your car fixed or your annual check up. You would most likely get a referral for a good one and try again. I recommend the same thing for personal training. But, I may be a little biased.

  • Hi,
    I agree that there are a lot of PT’s out there that have no idea of correct form or technique, & your comment blog is a classic example of to many Pt’s being pushed through short courses and being let out into the eal world. I have had a mishap with an employee of mine who, had completed his DIPLOMA in fitness. This indavidual, after his second training session with one of my clients, damaged my clients rotor cuff and forced him out of work and gave him tremendous pain for over 6 weeks. I sacked this IDIOT trainer straight away and gave my client free rehab to rectify his shoulder injury. He is now at 100% and going hard as ever in the gym. Please do not condemn PT’s for and experience you may have encountered, we are not all IDIOTS and do not need to be stereotyped. I am sorry you had a mishap but not all PT’s are the same & this is where shopping around really pays off. Experience, client testimonials and results are a good starting point to employng a PT. Ask them for client contact numbers (which I happily give out, with my clients consent) and see what real people have to say about a potentia trainer. I could go on about the science of strength training, but I won’t bore you all. If done correctly, and Yoga & cardio are incorperated into the training, your results will be awesome. Visit my website and you can download my free workout routines anytime thanks for listening and alowing me to place my website here. I hope one day you can forgive PT’s for an IDIOTS mistake.
    Take care

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