The Fit Chronicles

Fitness, it’s an obsession for most of us. We’re beset by the notion of getting tighter, thinner, hotter and stronger. But what is it like from a fitness professional’s perspective? Learn the concerns, pet peeves, quandaries, annoyances and what really gets under the skin of trainers and instructors so you can avoid them next time you get your sweat on.
Text by Francesca Cruz | June 16, 2018 | Lifestyle

Tony, a fitness professional who’s chosen to remain anonymous for this article shares a story of a troublesome client he once trained. He describes his client as long and limber with a delicate face framed by baby-fine hair. “She had moved to the U.S. only a few months prior,” he says. “Initially, she came off as very shy and kind of lost in the shuffle of a new place, but that faded fast…far too fast.” By the second week, she was leaning in close and grabbing Tony in places and ways that made him very uncomfortable. “She was beautiful and lonely but that wasn’t what I signed up for,” he says. “The hardest thing to deal with was the pungent smell that would hit me like a bat to the face after an hour on the treadmill. I was now dealing with an aggressive, lonely woman who didn’t understand the word no and had no idea what personal hygiene meant.”
Most of the time, when it comes to fitness, the point of view that’s generally touched upon is from a client’s frame of reference. Rarely are we informed of the trials and tribulations taking place on the other side of the fence. Fitness professionals have to deal with a deluge of personality types, high expectations and not to mention, more often than not, bothersome behavior. Let’s face it — in many occasions, they play the role of adult babysitters.
We rely on them for motivation; require that they listen to our venting, hold them responsible if we don’t obtain our expected goals, and simply presume they can work miracles, when in actuality, based on a recent online study conducted by Harris Interactive, only 27% of individuals who set a fitness goal actually reach the goal by year’s end. A study in the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology professes that there are 2 forms of thinking about the future: positive expectations and fantasy.
Moreover, clients with the latter idea of their body who turn up on the doorstep of a fitness adviser with high expectations and low determination are a reoccurring vexation for most. Among those is Fitness Guru & Life Coach Brenda Rodriguez, who travels throughout the U.S. consulting clients and says everyone has a choice to either complain or to be proactive. “It’s important to make yourself a priority and take 100% responsibility for your thoughts and actions,” she says. “Health and fitness should not be approached as a quick fix — it’s a lifestyle.”
There’s no other way to approach it, you can’t take the Willy Wonka instantaneous elixir before bedtime, and wake up looking like Megan Fox or Brad Pitt, and if someone is trying to sell you that — you know better. Magda Noa Pantaleon, a Certified Personal Trainer & Stress Management Consultant who’s an instructor at IronFlower Fitness acknowledges that we live in a society that’s about immediate gratification. “I believe fitness should be approached in a holistic perspective — it’s a mind, body and soul connection,” she says. “If you have clear goals and understand the work required to get there, you’ll achieve the body you want.”
In other words, tell yourself you’re awesome and you can do it. Combining your workout with the discipline required, new healthy eating habits and affirmations is the simplest way to see real results. Okay, so you are far from having the body you want, but you can program your mind to think it is and will be attainable. But before you even attempt to find a trainer or instructor, you need to mentally prepare yourself for the discipline required.
Certified Pole Fitness Instructor Carinne Tator counts clients with low self-esteem as a difficult hurdle to overcome. “It’s challenging dealing with a constant can’t-do attitude,” she says. “No one ever looks graceful on the first attempt so you can’t compare yourself to anyone else. It takes will and practice.” In other words, a fitness professional is there to guide you but you have to put the work in. They are not there to babysit you, listen to you complain or act as counselor to personal problems. They are meant to assist in your motivation, instruct you on how to do the exercises to avoid injury, advise you on the proper eating habits for a healthy lifestyle and track your progress.
A major pet peeve amongst almost all fitness professionals is personal hygiene. Surprising? It’s more common than you’d think. Let’s break it down: Showering before and after a session, wiping down your area before and after a workout, not smoking before a workout, and keeping perfume and colognes to a minimum…these are all do-or-dies for instructors. Lastly, Frank Davila, a 14-year Certified Personal Trainer in Miami asks everyone to please use deodorant while at the gym. “There are people around you that don’t need to smell you,” he says. They should, however, be looking at you and hopefully learning a thing or two in the process.