5 Things Your Personal Trainer Wants You To Know

How many of you have a personal trainer? I’m actually a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. I got certified in 2010 and re-certified last year with a focus on fitness assessment. Fitness and health are my passion, clearly…hence my blog!

I wanted to share with you all a few things we personal trainers want you to know when you’re in sessions with us. Some of them you may do already or know about already, and some you may not. I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are!

Things Your Personal Trainer Wants You To Know

We hate the word “tone.” “Toning up” doesn’t exist. What people mean when they say they want to be tone is that they want to lose body fat so you can see more muscle. Muscle tone actually refers to whether a muscle is at rest or contracted. From my experience, it seems women use this phrase more, and don’t want to refer to it as building muscle, but that’s what it is! Ladies, don’t be afraid of admitting you want to add muscle and get lean…nothing wrong with that! You won’t “look like a man” I promise.

You need to do the work outside of sessions with us. Just coming to 1 or 2 sessions per week with us won’t make much of a difference. You also need to be doing something those other 5-6 days a week. If you’re not sure how to plan a weekly workout schedule, just ask us! Which leads me to my next point…

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, we love answering them! If you’re not sure what a certain exercise is for or how it will benefit you, don’t be afraid to us. We love to answer questions and start talking about muscles and science-y stuff :-P If we don’t know the answer to a question, we also love doing the research. We are here to help and will gladly find out as much as we can for you.

If something hurts, even a tiny twinge, speak up. If you’re doing a bench press and your shoulder hurts a little, tell us! Don’t wait. We know modifications for every exercise and can modify things depending on what hurts or bothers you. Don’t feel annoying by asking us to do this.

Confidence is key. Be confident when you’re lifting! I can’t tell you how many times I give a client a weight and they say “I can’t do that!” and they end up going through 3 sets no problem. Be confident and you can do it. A lot of it is mental. Which is what we are here for as well, to give you coaching cues and make you confident as you’re lifting. So when you’re lifting alone, remember those cues. When I lift, mentally I am telling myself things like, “Drive it up!” “Chest up shoulders back” “Explode!” Try it – it really helps.

Do you have a personal trainer or work out alone? Do you use mental phrases to help you?

What’s one question you’d like to ask a personal trainer? (hint: might have a Twitter chat on this soon!)


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  1. Haha, thanks. Love the “tone” thing. I think women are often thinking of people like Jennifer Aniston or Jessica Biels, for example, and don’t want to end up looking like Madonna does recently.
    I bought four training sessions back in the fall and only used one of them so far (getting more injuries and being restricted being the main reason I haven’t used the rest yet), but I need to use them soon! Still don’t know what I want to focus on right now, though. Do you always want a client to have a focus?
    Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork recently posted…Friday Favorite: RAW Protein + Recipe!My Profile

  2. Oh the toning word, lol. That means they don’t want to look like me, lol. I usually know what they mean but I agree totally. I would add for people to stop referring to upper body as “arms day” this lets me know that they either are new and not doing any back or chest work or they don’t know what muscles they are using while doing a chest press or back.

    I did a post on 8 things your client wants their trainer to know several months ago. :)
    This was a good one.
    Melissa recently posted…Spring Break At Home WorkoutMy Profile

  3. I’ll add another – please tell us before the session if you are sick or injured. If you had the stomach flu or you twisted your ankle over the weekend we need to know this!

  4. I completely agree with toning and confidence. People look at me like I’m crazy and then they realize they can do it :) I also agree with Pamela, I’m always surprised when people wait until the end to tell you about an injury or illness.
    Susan recently posted…Time flies when you’re having fun!My Profile

    • Yeah I forgot about that one…I agree! Clients should tell you upfront and not once they have a lot of pain. One client told me she had knee issues, then wanted to do run intervals on the treadmill even though I said maybe we shouldn’t, but she insisted…then her knees hurt a lot and then blamed me. -___-

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