What Your Trainer Wishes You Knew

By AFM Team – November 1, 2016

Amid Archibald

Castle Hill Fitness

Practice cleanliness in class. Who wants to share someone else's sweat? 

Don’t tell me an exercise or circuit is hard. It's challenging because your mind and body haven’t mastered it yet. Hard is impossible, and exercise is not impossible. When clients negotiate the exercise/sets/reps with me—SERIOUSLY!? If you don't like it, then do your own workout. 

Don’t do sloppy reps and sets in class just to be the first to finish to impress the instructor—not cool and the instructor is strictly looking for quality. When clients are doing pull-ups and they're jolting themselves up by kicking and doing incorrect form, it's not good for your body, and bad form makes me cringe inside. 

When I hear clients say “I'm trying”—trying is the intent to fail. I tell my clients to “be like Nike and JUST DO IT.”

Jessica Clark

RIDE Indoor Cycling

Don't be late—especially if you're a new rider. Get to the studio about 10 minutes before class starts so you can get properly set up on your bike, meet your instructor, and get the lay of the land! Showing up late not only impacts your experience (you may spend a good amount of time feeling lost in class if you’re new), but also can be disruptive to other riders. 

Be present. If you're like most people, you may only get a few hours a week to work out and devote 100 percent to yourself. In order to make your workout more impactful, commit to focusing on your breath, the movement and muscles worked, and your effort in class. Minimize chatter once class begins, leave your cell phone in your locker, clear your mind of your "to-do" list, and focus on being present in the moment during class. 

Maja Kermath


Pilates is a technical workout that can be a bit more intimidating if you're using equipment. Your instructor has spent a lot of time prepping for class; here are some things you can do to return the favor:

Let your instructor know if you have had any injuries in the past that might impact your ability to take class. Letting your instructor know that you can’t lie flat on your back because of a surgery you had shouldn't happen when they approach you and ask if everything is ok because you're modifying in an unsafe way. Often times, instructors can change their programming on the fly if you have a conversation with them ahead of time.

Listen to cues that the instructor gives you. Form cues that an instructor will say are a result of things he or she are seeing in the room that need fixing. If you're working with equipment, like a reformer, there are added instructions on spring count and general set up. Missing these cues will impact your workout and could cause injury due to using the equipment inappropriately.

Take the intro class! There's a reason it exists. One of the reasons professional athletes perform at such high levels is because they are always focusing on the fundamentals. Even if you think you're a Pilates expert, if the studio recommends the intro class, you should take it. First, those classes tend to be smaller, so you'll get more one on one time with your  instructor. Second, returning to foundational principals will always help your practice. Just ask the pros!

Stephanie Taylor Twohey

GRIT Strength & Conditioning

I have a list of Gym Rules hanging by the front door. No. 4 says, “This is church. Don’t taint it with negativity or personal drama. If you do, you will be asked clearly and respectfully to leave.” I’m very strict about this rule. These can bring bad energy, and I won’t allow bad energy to spread into the good work we do in the gym.

As respected as this rule is, there’s the reality that life is messy. We all struggle at some point. Whether it’s financial, emotional, relational, professional, physical, psychological, we all struggle in one way or another. It’s part of the human condition. 

This reality can manifest in the gym in a wide range of ways, from tears, anger, frustration, bad attitudes, silence, temper tantrums, all the way to completely falling apart and giving up. 

My job is to know my athletes so well, I can tell the difference between a bad day and a bad attitude. Bad days are normal, and the goal is to complete the work safely and allow the training to be a positive therapy for whatever the athlete is dealing with. 

Bad attitudes are a choice. When this happens, it’s my job to remind athletes of the responsibility in their choice to walk through those doors. And here’s where the magic happens. 

When athletes consciously choose to transform their negative attitude into a positive, workmanlike mentality, the result is powerful. They shift from victim mentality to empowered mentality. They take ownership of their mindset and cultivate greater discipline and work ethic. This, in turn, cultivates greater character and integrity. This, in turn, cultivates greater courage and tenacity. All of this increases the athlete’s capacity to thrive. It is a dynamic and potent domino effect. My job is to remind them of the big picture and the power they have within themselves to own the quality of life they want. Their job is to decide what level of responsibility they want to own. In the end, it all boils down to choice.

Keep reading to see what we wished our trainers knew!


What you wished your trainer knew…

The Multi-Voice Trainer

I can't help but giggle when they're giving you that confidence speech in a loud, commanding voice, and 15 seconds later go right into a smooth, soft voice serenading you to sleep in the cool down of the workout.  This is especially noticeable in most indoor cycling classes, where the music tends to follow the tone of the trainer.

The Long Touch Trainer 

I'm ok with being touched by my personal trainer or yoga instructor, but only for a brief tap to show where an adjustment is needed. The long touch—anything more than a second or requiring the use of the entire hand —is just too awkward for me. I can't help but worry if they regret touching my sweaty body.

The Helicopter Trainer

I understand every trainer is looking out for your well-being (hopefully), but it irks me to no end when they hover over me as I try to accomplish a move! I'm already struggling to execute the position—staring eyes and no personal space just makes me even more nervous and more likely to fail. Thank you for the advice and help, but don't be a helicopter trainer!

The “Can You Hear Me Now?” Trainer

I can appreciate a well-crafted playlist, but I find it extremely frustrating when the instructor is competing to be heard against the music. The directions end up being completely unintelligible and too chaotic to enjoy the workout.

The Disconnected Trainer

So much of a workout is about mental strength and focus that I expect a trainer to also be a good psychological coach. It frustrates me when trainers don't take the time to understand what motivates individual clients. They end up throwing you off your game instead of helping to motivate you through the exercises.

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