Friday, April 12, 2013

Why I Will Be A Trainer

I have spouted off a few times about how I can’t be a personal trainer simply due to the fact that I am very blunt and a bit demanding.  I push hard for result and expect that of other people and as we have learned say things that others take as hurtful when to me I am merely stating facts.

Maybe my statement of why I can’t be a trainer is too general.  I can’t be a trainer for people who’s feelings I am invested in not hurting.  Like my wife for example, I don’t want to hurt her feelings.  I want her to be successful at the things she does, but not at the cost of our relationship obviously.

A couple of friends of mine have asked me to help them get ready for races and such, or just generally work out with them.  Supposedly I am inspiring.  That’s pretty cool.  I went running with Nikki a few weeks ago, and while she was nearly dying she did run/walk the whole 5k of her May 26th race course.  I did ok there, I pushed her to go.  I did not get told that I was being annoying or patronizing.  It was good.  Another friend, Sarah, has sort of asked/implied the same thing.  We could go to the gym, run on the trails, and find monkey bars and such in preparation for the Tough Mudder that we are doing in September.

I think it’s a good idea, not that I can be a great trainer or anything, but that I can train with them and they likely won’t feel the same heat from me as Amber likely does.  Amber knows me too well, know when I am putting her on and knows when I am being genuine.  If I was like “Good Job Amber!” When it had taken us (this is an exaggerated example!) like 3 hours to bike 20K.  She’d likely tell me to shut up!  Problem is I know her too well too, I know what she can do when she’s trying and when she’s not and so that leads to problems.

I have been told many times that being a good teacher, and in the case of teaching physical things I really do believe this, you have to be a good liar.  You have to be able to lie about the scale of goodness you are comparing to.  For instance, I have a black belt at karate, I’ve been doing it for almost ten years.  A new person starts and they are learning their first bunch of kicks.  I will tell them “man those kicks are awesome!” Are they?  Not necessarily, but that person is trying their guts out to do them.  They are awesome compared to if they were doing them without the effort, or compared to the first time I saw them do kicks.

Our ‘rule’ at karate is that everyone should go home with a smile, yeah we teach but we want people to go home happy with what they did that day and impressed with what they have learned. (Until you get to red and brown belt and then you need people to be happy but slightly troubled because they are having to push themselves).  I don’t think as a trainer I would have that rule, and that is probably my biggest problem.  If I thought a grown person was not trying I’m going to call them on it and then they will be all cheesed about it.

So maybe the thing is really that one shouldn’t jump right in to training with people by practicing with their spouse, but practice the whole trainer thing with some friends who you can live with being upset with you for a day or two.


  1. HI Chris! I live across the street from a personal trainer who is about your age. He hated it because: 1) You have to be a salesman all of the time, doing what you think will keep getting you business; 2) The people who get a trainer are often not that motivated--they want YOU to use YOUR mental energy to push them to do everything; 3) They are often not self-starters. 4)They only do the bare minimum; etc...

    I've helped a lot of women and teen guys with their weightlifting. But I carefully chose people I'd help--making sure that they were people who actually work hard in the first place and have no excuses. Well, you can't do that as a trainer. On the other hand, maybe the successes of those tougher-to-train people are that much more sweet.

    I personally think you'd be a great trainer. You have a deep love for fitness, that too many trainers lack. People would be lucky to get your advice. :D

    :-) Marion

  2. Thanks Marion.. I don't intend to do it as a job... not now anyways. But helping the people that want me to push them till they collapse or that will help push me will be a good thing I think

  3. Reading this again when I am fully awake I realize that maybe some of these statement could be read like I don't like working out with Amber. I do like working out with Amber.. But I think she would agree that I should not be her trainer. To be that person means I would have to be demanding, and frustrated, and happy and coaxing her and all that right on the edge nurturing/frustrating stuff... I'd rather my workouts with her simply be enjoyable simply for the act of doing them, which is where I need to work on things, not her.