Do Trainers Have Free Reign in the Gym?

An interesting question was posed on DietsInReview asking if personal trainers have more right to the gym than members. (Full disclosure- this trainer sounds like a douche and I would probably complain myself.)

If you belong to a gym, you’ve no doubt seen trainers training clients on the floor amongst the rest of the masses. Trainers in box gyms use the same equipment and space as the rest of the members- but do paying clients get first dibs on the facility over regular members paying a lot less?

I’ve never had to deal with this because I trained in a private studio or in clients’ homes, but I did belong to a 24 Hour Fitness ages ago (Westwood Village, WHITE CENTER, REPRESENT! for any locals) and like any box gym it was always packed. I’m talking 20 minute cardio limit with a line forming behind you waiting for you to be done kind of packed. The trainers there had an affinity for resistance bands, lord knows why, and loved to have clients streeeeetch those bands the whole across the gym, winding through machines and clothes lining unsuspecting members while the client side lunged and woodchopped their embarrassed ass the length of the only walkway in the place.

As a gym goer I know people pay a lot more for personal training than a regular gym membership so I tend to stay away and give privacy. My thoughts: They can’t kick you off of anything but they can keep you away by monopolizing an area for a period of time. But so could you. You can plop down right in the middle of the room and do a 4 hour long workout and no one can say anything as long as you aren’t disrupting anyone else.

As a trainer it can be tough when you have someone on a very specific workout, and have programmed different exercises in a very specific order. If you are supposed to do rotator cuff work on the cable machine, and someone is on the cable machine, it is a PERFECT opportunity to teach program modifications. Trainers aren’t there just to lead you through a workout- they are there to teach you what they know, and continue to progress on your own, so you don’t need your trainer forever.

People are creatures of habit, especially when adopting a new exercise habit. They are out of their comfort zone, learning new things and changing habits, and I’ve seen many a meltdown first hand if an unsuspecting wrench is thrown into the mix further throwing off the little they are comfortable with- such as having a substitute trainer if theirs is out sick, switching up a routine to avoid plateau and especially knowing that a certain part of their routine in next and someone is unintentionally preventing them from doing it. Don’t mess with people’s routines, they don’t like it.

It is PARAMOUNT that a trainer teaches their client modified exercises for each they have in their routine. It is important for clients to know which muscles are being utilized during each exercise, different exercises that will produce the same results in case they don’t have access to certain equipment (like when traveling or if you run into a gym machine squatter) and how to make each exercise more or less intense by manipulating certain variables.

So, if you are at the assisted pull up machine and a trainer and client come by to use it- don’t let them kick you off. Politely tell them perhaps the lat pull down machine is available or they can pull a chair up under a bar for an old school throwback. The trainer will probably be impressed with your vast exercise knowledge, and their client will be wondering why they didn’t fork over $70 to you for an hour of training.

Do you have a question you want me to answer? Email it in!

More reader Q and A’s:

How Hard is it to Become a Yoga Instructor?

Is hCG a Load of B.S.?

What Do You Think of Fat People?

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2 thoughts on “Do Trainers Have Free Reign in the Gym?

  1. KelleeMove says:

    I used to be a Westwood Village 24 Hour Fitness girl too! A trainer there once “cut me off” in order to get his client onto the machine I was about to use. That wasn’t cool. Otherwise, I was an equal opportunity hater when people were bogarting the machine I wanted. (I get cranky at the gym.)

  2. Small world! I hated it there. The first job I ever had was the Jamba Juice right next to it lol

    If you’re on it, it’s cool, but I hate when people will leave their towel or the water bottle on it and walk away like that means something. Move your shit

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