My most stupid client!

I was just laying out the foam roller on the gym floor taking a quick glance on the session I had planned for my client that day. Had my usual questions lined up to assess the mindset of the client before the session – how life was, any stresses? Sleep last night?. If nutrition had been on track past 3 days since our last session? If he had had his 2 feeds so far today?

I planned out 5-10 minutes of release work and mobility work. Then some basic activation drills to switch on his glutes and scapula setting work. Before working on some heavy trap bar deadlifts working on strength keeping the reps to 3-5 before moving on to some more volume work with one arm db rows, seated rows, scapula pull downs, glute ham raises. Then finishing the session off with 5 minutes HIT session with the punch bag.

Now my client “John”, had already arrived in the changing room and was getting changed I had missed him come in, having a quick glass of water in the staff room after my last client. John had been working with me for 3 weeks at this stage. He had a sporting background former rugby player, squash player so he moved well and had good grounding in endurance fitness. However, “John” liked a drink or 10 and his diet was shocking! He skipped meals and then binge ate. He suffered IBS, psoriasis, was comfortably 5 stone overweight and was just waiting for confirmation of type 2 diabetes. Thus he hired me and paid me a considerable sum of money to change his life.The first 3 weeks he had knuckled down, was eating regularly, had cut out the binge eating and snacks. He had even knocked booze on the head. In his words he felt “better at 45 than he did at 25″
Now five minutes had overlapped into his session and he was still not out. So I stuck my head in the door to chase him up

” oi no hiding in there time for some pain”

Now John mumbled something back along the lines “duck off not today”

I went in all the way then to see John, hand on head and as green as the HULK! He smelled of beer! He then stood up and said

“OK, lets sweat this out”
I refused to let him walk in the gym and told him today’s session was cancelled and he would be charged full price.

He looked shocked

“look I want to train so lets train”……I explained as it says in my terms and conditions

” I as a trainer will decide if the client is an appropriate environment to exercise”
He got the hump and stormed off.

We spoke on the phone the next day and I explained again, as I had in opening meeting,the ebook he was sent as a guidebook and the emails and txts I would send him…. and every single session I would tell him:


Now despite the fact he lost inches, 20 lbs and had gone from insomniac with IBS to sleeping like a baby IBS free and feeling incredible. He was still furious he had his session cancelled and said

I ” took my job too seriously” and he would “work with a trainer who let him live.”

Now if i had said to John, for the rest of your life you MUST be t-total, you must never eat a bit of junk food, you must exercise 2x a day.7 days a week and you must drink organic urine from the wild mountain goats of northern Bulgaria. He would have a point! A personal trainer’s job is to find a lifestyle that their clients can stick to for a lifetime. That will get them the results they are spending thousands of pounds on. This means breaking habits, this means establishing habits……this means lifestyle changes.

John would be eating 3-4 meals a day.
Exercising with me 3x a week, for next 3 months.
Playing squash still once a week.
Walking his dog.
He would, over the months ahead have simple trigger tests to show how he could still enjoy a drink from time to time, without it turning into 10 every weekend.

This now was too extreme and was like being a “monk”

So me and John parted ways and he was still determined ( he said) to change. He ended up training with a trainer down the road I knew well. Now this trainer trained him for 18 months 3x a week. Then John took to social media to say

“personal training is a waste of time as I’ve not lost a lb in 18 months”

He slated this poor trainer saying he was s#it at his job! Not to waste your money on his training!

Now clearly the lesson is John was a f#ck wit! As he failed to mention he never gave up his Friday nights, all dayers Saturday and Sunday. How he still lived of chocolate and coffee to get him through the day, that every night was a ” couple of drinks to unwind” But it was the trainers fault for him not losing weight! Now the trainer SHOULD of said

” i don’t work with people who don;t listen to my advice and sacked him after 2 weeks”

However, we all have bills to pay and when someone is giving you £600 a month for a chat ( that’s the intensity level you can work with someone like John) its hard to say no. If they want waste their money its not a trainers fault is it?
Now John is an extreme example not many clients have turned up that hungover or have acted like a child. However, the reality is most people who go to personal trainers or the gym are water down versions of John. Not as loud, not as aggressive but still looking for a miracle! Looking for the magic exercise routine which means you don’t have to change how you eat or drink. This is why idiots still waste their money on diet pills, gastric bands, herbal life and the likes. Looking for a magic solution rather than fixing their lifestyle. Now as a trainer this is the most frustrating part of the job…people want to change but are not willing to change. This is why getting in a client mind is ESSENTIAL to change. You have to know what are their triggers to self sabotage, (job?,partner? past history of relationship with food?) But at the same time clients have to accept if they want to change…common sense they have to change their lifestyle.

I always use this analogy with my clients

” If you hired a builder to renovate your house,which has gone to ruins. Leaks in the roof, cracks in the walls, holes in the floor. The house is collapsing before your eyes. The builder knows its a big project and sets to work. Now he knocks off for the day, you pick up a sledgehammer and start smashing the foundations down again. He would come in the next day, that day you would leave the sledgehammer but come weekend you smash the house to pieces. Then every few months you ask him to “not to come” and you would spend a few weeks smashing the house up some more. Would you complain if the builder told you he was leaving! Would you complain your house was not fixed?

Personal training, boot camps…exercise by yourself it works ALONGSIDE healthy lifestyle.Are there optimal ways you can make exercise even more effective by working with a great trainer. YES, but we are not “Jesus Allah Harry Potter Derren Brown Christ”


We can not perform miracles,
we can show you if you’re willing to do what is needed how to achieve your goals. So next time you’re moaning you’re not losing weight at bootcamp, personal training or the gym ……ask yourself………….why not.

95 percent time the answer lies outside the gym!

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