Some have said that working out, just like other routines in life, can become easier and easier to do as time goes on. I’ll be honest, I never bought into this thought. It’s exercising: I’ll be sore for days, tired, and let’s face it, an excuse will come up that’ll make me “forget” to put yoga pants and sneakers on. But then, the whole idea of working out with someone made the statement become truth! At first, it was the hubby who went with me. But as work threw our schedules for a loop, I’ve found myself still going to the gym, but attending classes with other people (technically “working out with someone”).
Now, with Nathan, he loves me for me, and all the quirks that make me who I am. But when it comes to a room full of strangers, things could go down a wrong turn FAST. Thankfully, it’s been a smooth ride so far, but I’m always open to tips to keep me on the path of Gym Etiquette. And if you’re in the same boat, here’s are a couple of thoughts and advice from personal trainers around the country that you maybe never would have thought about:
Please don’t expect us to hold your dog or watch your twin babies while you work out (seriously, you can’t believe what people ask us). But we’re happy to do other things to help you maximize your efficiency.
“I believe that doing stuff like setting up and putting away the weights, helping carry the towel or moving the water bottle out of the way is a part of good client service.”
–Traci D. Mitchell
Yes, we can smell you. Everyone can smell you.
“We want you to feel comfortable working out, but keep in mind that the gym is a closed environment, often without much air circulation. Your outdoor running group may not notice if you wear the same tank for a week, but odors are magnified inside.”
It drives us crazy when you use your phone during a session!!!
“This has nothing to do with a trainer’s self-esteem. It’s not even about being polite. You hired me to achieve a goal, and every minute you spend texting or talking on the phone takes time away from me helping you get where you want to be.”
We don’t mind when you bring a friend …in fact, we love it.
“I feel that I can still give personal attention with up to four people in a session. The trainer makes slightly more per hour, but the clients can pay 50 percent less, if not more, depending on how many people are in the group. We can do partner exercises and different drills, and the time flies by. It’s a win for everyone.”
–Traci D. Mitchell
Working out with us isn’t enough to cancel out your other bad habits.
“I had a client who worked out so hard that her face would turn purple, and she was frustrated that her body wasn’t responding. I had a feeling it had to do with her diet, so I suggested she keep a food diary. She was very resistant and swore she ate only lean protein, salad and fruit. Then I bumped into her at a restaurant, and she and her partner had enough food for eight people: sausage, bacon, pancakes, waffles and more. She was clearly unwilling to see her role in the situation and take responsibility for her fitness — and she never kept another appointment with me after that.”
–Geralyn Coopersmith, the senior national director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute
It doesn’t really bother us when you cheat on us with another trainer — but it does when you act weird about it later.
“If no one acknowledges the switch, it can get a little awkward when you see each other in the gym. I’d prefer that a client be direct. We want them to find someone who fits their needs. And good trainers usually have plenty of other clients.”
–Traci D. Mitchell
We are constantly washing our hands — and you should be, too.
“I often see people in the restroom who walk right by the sinks without pausing. Then they go out to the machines, the weights and the mats. You can’t control that, or how often the gym cleans equipment, so your best defense is to wash up after you’ve handled anything in the gym.”
—Jen Cassetty, a New York City–based sports, nutrition and fitness expert
We are professionals, and you should hold us to those standards.
“Few people would walk into a meeting with a McMuffin and a coffee and sit down on the floor. We’ve all seen other trainers do these things, and it’s not cool. And if a trainer doesn’t show up or is often late or changes your appointment time more than once — things do come up, but it shouldn’t be consistent — you have the right to ask for a free session.”
…but most of us aren’t the best business people. So please don’t make us feel guilty for asking you to pay the money that you owe.
“Many trainers feel uncomfortable talking about money and enforcing the standard 24-hour cancellation policy. We develop a relationship with our clients and want to keep them happy, so when they ask us to let it slide ‘just this once,’ we consider it. But training isn’t something we do just for fun; it’s how we support ourselves.”