T Nation

Personal Trainer Etiquette?


I'd like to run a question by the Forum. Let me say right from the start that this is not a "money" question or a "why do you want to waste your money!" question or even a "Hey...you're paying the money, so f***k what they think!" question. It's a question of what you guys feelings are independent of the money aspect.

I would like to hire a Personal Trainer. The reason is not to provide me with a diet, or workouts, or any other basic advice. It would be to "push" me, help motivate me to the "next level", spot me on the heavy lifts and to do it all on a consistent basis. I guess sort of a "paid training partner". (By the way...we can learn from everyone, so I will also be open to good advice).

Well...why not just get a good training partner? Inconsistency. I have my Posse that I went to High School with, and I love those guys. But as I?ve told you before, these guys 1) have physiques already that people would die for, with the staples of their diets being almost the same as in High School! (Pizza, Big Macs, Chips and Kit-Kats!) and 2) they mostly chit-chat when we workout, and are real inconsistent with their workouts. (They are still my boys, though!)

And of course, somebody will argue, "Why can?t you just do it all yourself?"

Again, that isn't the question; this is:

For those of you who are Personal Trainers (or know of the business), what do you think of the person who may not want to use all of your expertise, but instead just needs that consistent training partner and is willing to pay for it? Is it even a "cool" thing to ask for or does it fall under the category of "wow...another jerk who thinks he knows it all!" In other words, is it even proper "etiquette" to ask a trainer for such a service?

Fire away!


People that train hard are the best clients. They are fun. So personally you would be a fun easy client. Sounds goot to me. The fact that you frequent this site means you probably know more than most Personal Trainers anyway.
Just don't pick a wussy trainer



You are paying for a service, so you have every right, and should in any case, to request a personal trainer help you accomplish your goals in the way you want. Most trainers should be very happy to accomodate this reqest without getting their feelings hurt. However, if you pick an exceptional trainer, you may want to keep open his/her ability to offer you expertise, e.g. re: form as you may not even be aware of small lapses in proper form. You are paying, so get out of this what you desire, but you might be able to even get more out of your training if you keep yourself open to learning.


as a trainer i would actually enjoy an offer such as yours. i get tired of the usual requests to turn people from their 220 lb state to pam anderson or cindy crawford overnight. for the most part us trainers deal with nothing but overweight, middle aged adults trying to "get in shape." it would be nice once in a while to be able to do what i actually got into the business for. to motivate, and help fellow bodybuilders and not just help people "lose weight." to tell you the truth mufasa i would do it for free!


I would LOVE to train someone who was as serious about this stuff as I am. However, my employing company would never allow me to teach full ROM squats, powercleans, full ROM benching, etc. Save your money and post at your gym that you are looking for a like-minded training partner.


I am a trainer and I love working with people who are very motivated as it seems like you are. I would have no problem at all pushing you to your limits. I think most trainers would like the idea. What part of the country are you in?? Maybe you are near me!!



I work for 24 Hour Fitness (Forum readers, don't flame me -- it's good pay and I use T-mag workouts for many clients). We have 2 different type of clients, those who just want to train with a Personal trainer, and those who want the whole program (nutrition, corrective stretches, etc.). For those who just want to train, it's usually just guys.

If you just want a trainer who will spot you and keep you consistent -- if you are willing to pay for it, I don't know any trainer who wouldn't be willing to give such a service. You might even learn something along the way, as we all know that learning about nutrition and training is a lifelong pursuit.

If you are in the SoCal area and use 24 Hour, let me know, and I can tell you where some good trainers are. Not all of us 24 Hour trainers use the Swiss ball for everything and keep the weights light -- some of us believe in T-mag principles.

Personally, I use Ian King style workouts initially for deconditioned clients. For guys who have trained before and just want to drop some weight to get "cut" -- I will have them try Meltdown for a couple of weeks.


I'm hurt, Mufasa. Your forum brothers and sisters aren't good enough to give you that proverbial kick in the arse? Fine....hmph... - ah, just playin'. giggle

To answer your question: being a former personal trainer, I would say, by all means: INTERVIEW the trainers. Even observe them before you approach them. I mean "observe" as to watch them as they train clients. Do they talk too much during the workout? Do they really "spot" the client as they perform the exercise? Etc., etc. Your trainer will be performing a service for you. You will be paying for these services. Thoroughly interview them!


All most personal trainers do anyway is provide the service you ask for (provide motivation, guidance and partnership) I think you'd probably find that those who utilize personal trainers for extended periods of time don't do so because of the knowledge they're getting they do it because of the increased motivation they get from having someone their to guide them. I think it's a damn good idea. I'd go crazy with delight if someone actually told me that they would pay me to train "with" them and not necessarily just "train" them. I would feel kind've guilty taking someones money for that however.


On 2nd thought though Mufasa I think you would have a really hard time finding a personal trainer or anyone else with your level of knowledge to train with and it might end up being more trouble then it's worth. Why not find some young motivated kid who'll train with you and maybe pay you?


On proper etiquette........yes, of course it's ok to say those exact words. I've been personal training for a couple years and have literally signed up over 1,000 people for pt so I feel qualified to jump in here. I manage a personal training staff now and sell the packages while making sure all our clients are happy. I tell people that ultimately you're the one that is paying the money and you're gonna get what you want. I usually laugh in the back of my head if someome says this because I've usually identified about 10 areas where the person will benefit. However, if you've read most of the back issues of t-mag then this may not apply to you. Clearly communicate what you want to your trainer. Hope this helps



if you put it to that person straight...like you just did with the forum i don't think that anyone would be offended. try to put it to the person as an informational exchange. tell them you have a program you are on, you want to finish it and ask for suggestions, and advice. Now, having said that you might have a hard time finding someone who will be able to fill all those needs. but it is worth a shot. and i don't know how a PT can pass up getting paid to lift and talk shop with a buddy.
good luck


Wow...you guys are GREAT! I was hoping for replies along the lines of what you guys have said. My concern was appearing to approach someone with a "know-it-all" attitude (which not only ain't cool... but is a "death nail" to learning about the IronGame we all seem to love).

You bet...I'll still be open to learning from the trainer I interview (which seems like a common reccomendation).

Just a little more background. One of the "Testosterone" regular contributors has agreed to work out a diet, resistance and aerobics plan for me, based on goals, history, etc. I can't talk a lot about it at this point, but you guys will be the FIRST to get a full report when we're through. This will be some "real" before and after stuff. It should be fun. I really need that consistent partner to push me, and to make sure I'm executing the program to the max...

Keep your thoughts going, guys! This is helping more than you know! THANKS!


Personally, I wouldn't take offense at such an offer, but there are some who might. You know, the "know it all" types. But if you ask and the guy takes offense, well, then, you've learned something valuable - that you don't want that guy! So I can't see how it could hurt to ask.


No full ROM squats or benches? Obviously your employer knows nothing about training. Or is it they want to set up their clients for injuries?


So, let me summarize so far:

1)Interview a trainer. Let them know that I need someone to push me to the max, keep me motivated, watch my form, spot, etc.

2)Keep lines of communication open! We can learn from EVERYBODY. So...even though I may not be looking for him to devise a diet or program, I'm more than open to new ideas.

3)As Char said...it ain't a perfect world, so there will be someone who will take offense. If they do...move on. Good advice...

Kelly...I thought a lot about the motivated kid idea. I have a Division 1 University close by, with a full athletic department. When I looked at the atheletes as a possible pool, many already have their plate full with training, classes, going home on breaks, partying, etc. Seems like I have a problem again with the "consistency" thing. However...that is a rich pool of possibility, so I'm looking into it. (By the way...is it just me, are a LOT of the non-student team trainers overweight and out of shape?) LOL!!!!


It sucks to be smarter than the boss.


Ask someone you respect in your gym for a reference, preferrably someone who has the same goals as yourself. In fact if you know someone who goes to the gym at the same time as you and you admire their desire and work ethic I would cordially ask them if they would be willing to help you out. tell them you would compensate them if neccesary. Beware of certificate trainers who have a preset agenda from whatever organization to train in only certain and narrowminded methods of training(usually more along mens health and fitness)than a testosterone man. Find a trainer who has intereste in bodybuilding, is open minded, practices what he preaches, and has a sincere attitude about the sport. Also stay away from egomaniacal trainers who are more about themselves and a fashion statement than your true goals. Most of all keep yourself posted to this web site for the plethora of info and training advice you can get from the many educated and sincere bbuiilders on this web site. Not abetter place in the world than right here. I wonder also if you should take a good look in the mirror and tell yourself you will become more motivated and educated toward making your training productive(fuck I've got to stop before I start sounding like Bill Phillips). Good luck and put your balls to the wall!!!!!


Hey, Mufasa, you pay HIM a lot of money. What you're asking for requires little work on his part, so why not?


As long as you can find the right one to motivate you, I think it's a good idea. We all know you know your stuff, so if you just need the extra umph, then by all means go for it.