Personal Trainers Want You to Stop Doing These 10 Things

From thinking you know better, to expecting miracles from one week of classes.
January 16, 2020, 10:44am
women in exercise class
Photo: Charlie Kwai, taken at @outrivals_oldst

Love the gym, do you? Love your Wednesday spin class and your Friday Pump and all the #fitfam you've picked up along the way? Love that, after five months of regular attendance, you've finally established an in-joke with your trainer and become one of those people you resented bitterly when you first started taking the class? It's all good, right?

Wrong. In actuality, you suck, your trainer hates you and they're privately praying you stop being so fucking annoying. Turns out a lot of you may be house-trained, but you're certainly not gym-trained. But never fear: I gathered some fitness professionals to point the finger at the most annoying things you do in the gym, so you can stop doing them immediately.

BAN HASS, Strength and conditioning fitness specialist and spin instructor


"Usually, it's people who are new who are late. If the class starts at 10AM, they'll get there at 10AM on the dot, having never done a spin class before. But, in fitness, being 'on time' is late – you should always arrive ten to 15 minutes before the start time to get set up, especially in a spin class.


"They arrive and are flustered because they don't know what they're doing, which ruins their experience, as well as distracting everyone else. Also, people who arrive too late to come into class [once the warm up period is finished, instructors are prohibited from letting people in, because of potential injury], who then get very upset and take it out on the instructor."


"There's always Mr or Mrs Ego – the person who thinks they know better and want to do their own thing. This isn't someone who can't do certain exercises due to injury, etc, but someone who just constantly doesn't want to follow instructions. It's really, really distracting. I see this particularly in my classes which have a competitive element, when people are determined to win by any means necessary. What's the point? Why are you wasting your money? If you can go to the gym on your own, do it."

ZOE PARK, Champion fitness model and personal trainer who specialises in training for fitness competitions


"As a PT, something I hear a lot is people saying to me, 'I'm going to go it alone for a little while, see how I get on and then come back.' This is one of the biggest mistakes – if you can afford a PT in the first instance, start there. Otherwise, people go off on their own and pick up really bad mistakes. PTs are there to watch you one-to-one, check your technique and tailor training for you. I've often had people come for an initial consultation, go it alone for 12 weeks and then get injured. So come to me first to learn, before heading off alone."



"Sometimes, when clients approach a fitness professional, they think you're going to wave a magic wand and transform their body into what they want it to be. It just doesn't work that way. In both my one-to-one PT sessions and my online clients, I face people not wanting to take accountability, whether that's with food or drinking or just not putting in the work.

"It's understandable – life gets in the way – but often people don't want to be honest with themselves, and instead blame the trainer. I think it's very hard for people to look at themselves and admit they could have done something differently."

WESTON WEST, Trainer specialising in sports performance, bodybuilding and fat loss


"I find this a lot in group classes – people come to a session because they want to be pushed, but then don't put in any effort. You don't have to be killing yourself, but just come in and do the work, otherwise you're wasting your time and my time. I've taught classes before where people just flat out refuse to try exercises. I get it – it can be daunting. But everyone starts somewhere, and the bare minimum is just to try. I'm there to guide you and help you do it properly."


"Some people come in with an expectation that they're going to see the results they want overnight. Everything requires patience and perseverance. You'll get clients who say, 'Oh, I've been doing this for a month and haven't reached my goal.' Just trust the process.

TOM SIMPSON, Group fitness instructor in cardio-based exercise


"People. Do. Not. Fucking. Listen. You get this a lot teaching classes with a weight element. I'll instruct people to do something simple like a deadlift – push the bar from your thighs down to your knees, and then lift it back up again. The amount of variation in a class of 30 people, you wouldn't believe. Even when you eyeball someone – which I try not to do, because I don't like singling someone out – but even when you're looking at them and saying, 'Do A,' you can guaran-damn-tee they'll do B."



"At the beginning of every class I'll ask everyone to let me know if they've got any injuries or conditions I should be aware of. But so many people don't, and then start doing their own thing, so I don't know whether they're being rude or ignorant. A lot of the time people just don't think you're speaking to them for some reason. I recently had a woman who just didn't use a weights bench when instructed, so I turned my mic off and asked if she was OK. She told me her osteopath had told her not to use the weights bench. Which is fine! But why didn't you just let me know when I asked?"

HANNAH LEWIN, Strength and conditioning trainer for women


"It's a bit annoying – but mostly just sad – when people don't back themselves enough. For example, if they're not strong enough or can't do a move, a lot of clients apologise for not doing everything perfectly. Don't apologise to me! It's fine! It's all about having space to fail – that's what I'm literally here to help you with."


"People text during classes, and sometimes it's fine – you never know what's happening in their day, they might be going through something awful and need to be in constant contact. But it's a work or social thing – just leave your phone in your locker for 45 minutes and get space from it. It's also distracting for other people and the instructor, with the light from your phone in a dark studio. So I think it's respectful to keep your phone away."


This article originally appeared on VICE UK.