My thoughts and perspectives on health, science, and logic… Keep an open mind!

Posts tagged ‘Personal trainer’

A Personal Update

Maybe it’s time for a little post about what’s going on in my world — not that it’s really interesting or anything, but I felt like putting something up, so here goes.  Let me start with why I started this blog up in the first place:

One big motivator is that it will (hopefully) give me the opportunity to help a few people.  There seem to be so many people out there looking for answers, and I wish I could sit down and give each and every one of them any advice that I can.  Unfortunately, there’s just not enough time in the day.  Also, many people don’t know that they are misinformed, and in that case I find it much safer to put things online for people to seek out.  That way, I’m not ramming it down their throats.

My NSCA-CPT Book. Nightly reading material

Secondly, I feel it gives me a bit of an outlet for whatever is on my mind (namely, lots of exercise stuff).  Beyond just a chance to blabber about whatever fitness stuff is on my mind, however, this blog gives me the opportunity to refine the way I think, write, and even speak!  Personal training is an career path that can be made or broken by one’s ability to communicate and convey the right message.  Maybe writing these updates and putting together my guides will give me a little insight into some things I’m doing right or wrong in that area.

Finally, there’s the issue of my own actual knowledge.  A common expression holds that if you want to see how well you know something, try to teach it!  I have spent the last year or two really trying to challenge myself in this area.  There’s no reason, in my mind, why I can’t talk about ANYTHING I’ve covered during my studies.  I should know it all, inside and out.  So this site can serve as a teaching tool for me as much as for others.  With that in mind, thank you.  Thanks to anyone who cares to read this and check up on my page.  It will take a lot of time and effort for me to put the guides together in a format that I’m happy with, and I will definitely be learning a lot as I go.  The knowledge that some people may benefit from these efforts is HUGELY motivating.

I look forward to providing guidance full of facts, keen observations, true science, and as free of bias (my own or anyone else’s) as possible.

In terms of my actual education and knowledge, by the way, I feel anyone reading here has a right to know exactly what I am studying.  As I mentioned in my “About Me” section, I am a college graduate in Exercise Science and a certified personal trainer through ACSM.  I never had any intention of stopping there, however, and I have done a great deal of reading and independent study outside of my certification and studies.  Currently, I’m working on my NSCA personal trainer certification (which I hope to test for in the next month or so).  I’m also working on becoming a certified Resistance Training Specialist (RTS).  I have finished the course and required studies for this credential, but money’s a little too tight right now to allow me to pay for testing.  Once my cash flow improves, I should be able to get the ball rolling on these exams as well as others I’d like to do this year.  It’s going to be a busy few months!

Resistance Training Specialist textbooks RTS

And my beloved RTS books… believe it or not, some of my most prized academic possessions. Great information in here!

As I go through these exams and studies, I’ll give some updates on the process for anyone who may wish to know.  It’s a never-ending process, especially with my enrollment in grad school coming up in the Spring.  But I’m looking forward to the work, and I know it will only benefit me in the long run.


Thanks to all of you who have stopped by — both friends of mine, and those I don’t yet know.  It means the world to me that you’ve taken the time to drop in.


– Geoff


The “Sales Pitch”

While I haven’t been in the industry as a Personal Trainer for a terribly long time, I have spent years dealing with them and talking to people who hire them.  They, much like their clients, come in all shapes and sizes.  They come from all backgrounds.  But I’ve been noticing one thing that seems to be a little too common for my taste — the “salesman” mentality.  Namely, these people worry a little too much about selling a product and not enough about helping their client.

Too many trainers think of this before anything else.

“But Geoff, trainers have to make money, too!  They’ve got to sell themselves… right?”

Yes and no.  While every person has the right to pursue a reasonable income and to be compensated for their expertise, there are certain lines that should not be crossed.  During most certification processes, trainers are taught to find ways to sell themselves and their services by being open and direct.  I have no problem with this.

But some people are a little too aggressive about it.  Certain trainers focus too much on stretching out the number of sessions from their clients in order to squeeze more cash out of them.  That, in my mind, is crossing one of those lines I was talking about.  When the transaction involves a person’s health and well being, we have an obligation to provide the best service we can to that customer.  Doing any less is akin to a doctor’s constant referrals for extra examinations and continual future visits when he or she already knows the solution to the patient’s ailment.

In the medical industry, this would be seen as blatantly unethical and would cause a public outcry.  Why not in the exercise industry???

Furthermore, some trainers commit an even worse violation.  They may try to sell other products, often nutritional supplements and other related packages as a work-from-home scheme for more money (think the Mary Kay peddlers of the fitness world).  Nutritional counseling is outside the scope of personal trainers’ expertise.  Let me repeat that:

Nutritional counseling is BEYOND the scope of a Personal Trainer’s education!!!

By law, a trainer is not allowed to prescribe any sort of diet plan to a client unless that trainer also holds a license as a dietician.  Many professionals get around this by simply “suggesting” certain products.  While that might cover the trainer in a legal sense, it does nothing to protect the client.

Also, think about this — a client who already has invested money in a personal trainer is a POWERFUL captive audience!  They might think it’s reasonable to assume that they can get diet advice from their trainer as well, since they have a paid agreement and the subjects seem to be related.  The trouble is that many clients won’t see a problem with taking whatever their trainer tells them as gospel.

This is NOT a real product. Though many trainers would have you believe it is…
-(Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

If a fit-looking personal trainer offers an impressionable client a bottle of “magical glacier water” for an extra fee, they might actually be able to sell it.  That person may not know any better — if he/she thinks MJ’s Secret Stuff will help to get rid of those love handles, the credit card comes flying out!  Too many trainers are not only fine with doing this, but they are encouraging other trainers to do the same to “increase their cash flow.”

A note to everyone out there: This is misguided.  This is unethical.  This is wrong!

Any trainer who willfully gives a client the impression that he or she has more expertise than he/she actually does is violating the trust established with that client.  Any person seeking a trainer should be wary if they try to push other products on the side instead of focusing on just being a good trainer!

Sorry for the rant, but this is another thing that needs to be said.  It’s important for everyone to realize that certifications, while not perfect, tend to exist for a reason.  If a person cannot convincingly explain why he or she is a qualified expert in a field, then that person’s advice should be taken with a big grain of salt.

So take care of yourselves, and always make sure that anyone giving you advice has YOUR BEST INTERESTS at heart.  Live well, and be smart!


– Geoff