Secret Confessions of Trainers: Things They Wish You Would Stop Doing


Your favorite fitness instructor may display superhuman strength and abs of steel, but it turns out they are human beings just like the rest of us mere mortals. When a diverse group of personal trainers, yoga instructors, martial arts teachers, spinning coaches and boot camp instructors around the country were informally polled, they voiced common complaints they had about their clients. In short, they love you, but they confess that you’re treading on their last nerve when you engage in the following activities:

*Names and identifying info have been changed to maintain confidentiality.



Too many clients see the mirrored walls at studios and gyms as a temptation to do personal grooming best left in the privacy of their own bathroom (like one well-known actress spotted popping a zit on her chin in the mirror at Barry’s Bootcamp in Los Angeles). Or the mirrors enable narcissistic indulgences by others who are so mesmerized by their own shredded hotness that they find themselves unable to tear their eyes away from their reflection in the mirrors to follow along in class.

Sean H, a personal trainer from West Hollywood gripes, “The dudes can be the worst. Constantly checking themselves out and flexing their muscles in the mirrors when I’m trying to talk to them.”

Rita H. a New York city trainer sums it up,

Use the mirror to fix your form, not your hair!





Getting flashed is an inevitable occupational hazard when you’re a trainer and forced to witness all sorts of spandex-clad fitness fashion fails. Unsurprisingly, it’s the yoga teachers who were most traumatized.

Aiden S., a yoga teacher from Detroit, quipped after a particularly attractive female yogi’s bra top fell off, “Sometimes, one person’s misfortune is a treat for everybody else!”

Sure, awkward accidents happen but only in rare instances is it a treat for innocent bystanders. For the most part, wardrobe malfunctions are avoidable if you choose the right workout attire. Unless, you are intentionally trying to expose yourself to your instructor and the entire class, you perv.

Melissa C., a personal trainer based in Nashville cringes, “Men wearing shorts that show their schlong – especially when they sweat and the shorts start clinging! C’mon!!!!”

L.A. based yoga teacher, Helen S. shudders, “Dolphin shorts, no underwear and a mirrored room. Yuck!!”

Jordan P., another L.A. yoga teacher adds, “Ladies, leggings are not workout pants. Those cheap, black tight cotton pants you purchase at Target are sheer when you bend over. Which means in down dog, everyone can see your fanny.”

Sean shakes his head,

Women dressed like they’re going to a club – full pancake makeup, dangly earrings, lots of jewelry and wearing too much perfume!

“Not only is all that jewelry unsafe if it gets caught on something, it’s clear they don’t want to work hard or even sweat.”



Rita really wishes her clients would let go of the death grip they have on their cell phones. “You wouldn’t text and drive, SO WHY WOULD YOU TEXT AND TREAD? I want to say, “Unless you’re a doctor, leave the phone in the locker! You’re really not that important that it can’t wait for an hour!”

Erin P, a yoga studio owner from Studio City, CA shares,

We’ve had to ban all electronic devices from the studio since too many people were using cell phones and sending emails on their iPad during savasana!

Alex K., a Barry’s Bootcamp trainer and fitness model wants you to, “BE IN THE MOMENT! Put the iPhone down and stop “Shazaaming” my entire class, I don’t appreciate my thought out playlists being taken without permission! I wouldn’t record you at work, so don’t record me! I will gladly share tips, advice, apparel choices, and my playlists at the END of class!”



This particular behavior is a real head scratcher because it genuinely perplexes everyone. Why even come to a group class if you’re just going to do your own thing? That’s just showing off, right?

Super annoying when a student decides to do their own practice. Especially when they are up in front.

I don’t mean making advanced adjustments to the current pose, but actually doing entirely different. Why even come?” wonders Sally H., a yoga teacher from Sherman Oaks, Ca.

Why indeed? Marie N., a spin instructor concurs, “I’ll never forget a celebrity who used to take my spin class in NYC and sat front and center and when I said seated climb she would do a standing sprint… basically every thing I said she would do the opposite. Hilarious!”

Steve L., a martial arts studio owner in Los Angeles hates it when other black belts crash a class to work on their own stuff. “They think the basic curriculum is beneath them so they always work on their own advanced kicks. But even if they work in the back of the room, there’s limited space on the mat and they end up in everyone’s way. It’s a huge distraction.”

If you want a private training session or want exclusive use of the facilities, then make separate arrangements. Otherwise, get with the program or get out.



You may see your favorite trainer every day for an hour, but remember, you still have 23 hours left in the day to undo all that sweaty labor by making bad lifestyle choices. People need to make some sacrifices or changes outside of the gym or studio too.

Rick C., a personal trainer from Detroit, had a famous soul singer as a client and

She showed up with Cheetos dust and potato chip crumbs in her ample cleavage every morning. I got fired within a week because she didn’t see results.

Jordan gets frustrated by clients who think they are the expert. “My biggest peeve is when someone asks for your advice, recommendation or opinion and then proceeds to give you about a million excuses why they will never do what you recommend or advise. Also, as a trained professional I always love people who know way way more than me (please note the sarcasm here) and interrupt when I am counseling or advising someone else to offer their two cents.”



Julie M., a martial arts instructor from Los Angeles, has little patience for the Negative Nellies. “The occasional eye roll or long-suffering sigh is one thing, but outright protesting about how hard something is or how you can’t possibly be expected to do a kick because it’s impossible makes me want to put them in headlock. This isn’t a death march, it’s a taekwondo class – which you paid for!”

Why are you even here if you are going to be so unhappy and whine the whole time?

“It’s disrespectful to me and to everybody else who came to learn something new and is trying their hardest.”

Ron C., a yoga teacher from Studio City, CA says, “When I was a new teacher, I taught a tough flow class and in the middle of it, a woman stood straight up on her mat and flipped me off – with both hands and screamed “Fuck You!” The funniest thing is that she went right back into down dog and finished the class.”

It can be frustrating, painful and downright scary to be pushed to your limits. It’s normal to be thinking uncharitable thoughts about your trainer who is causing your suffering. But they’re just doing their job and don’t appreciate being yelled at or flipped off, so mind your manners because energy is contagious and your negative kvetching and complaining affects your classmates as well.



Talking during class probably got you taken off the sunshine in Kindergarten and it’s an express way to get on your instructor’s not so sunny side as well.

Alex vents,

Not only are you interrupting your breathing pattern while running your yap but you’re interrupting ME and the rest of the class!

“It is enough to be cueing two classes at once, the last thing I need is to bring focus back to the entire room or repeat myself for a 4th time because you’re talking about the cute guy behind you in line at Starbucks.”



This was the most memorable quote from “The Social Network” because it’s absolutely true. If you’re feeling disgruntled about your fitness instructor, before you log onto Yelp and write a potentially reputation smearing review about them, consider talking to them face to face like a human being first and voice your complaints and concerns directly to them. After all, they’re not psychic and you owe it to them to give them a chance to address or rectify any issues you may have before you decide to share it with millions of strangers online.

Most trainers and teachers have chosen this profession out of a sincere desire to help others reach their healthiest potential. In the process, they need to earn a livelihood and keep their businesses open and support themselves and their families. What you write online and on social networking sites really has an impact, so before you Yelp or Tweet, consider carefully if this is something you’d actually say to that person’s face FIRST. Remember, those typed words can never be erased once they’re out there.

Alex agrees, “The good, the bad, the ugly… and the best – we get all sorts of feedback. But it is most helpful when you talk directly to us.”

Let US know what works for you the best and what doesn’t.
“It’s YOUR workout at the end of the day, and you definitely want to leave happy feeling like your voice is being heard. So let it out – to us!

Fitness instructors look the way they do because they have clearly have self-control, discipline and a high threshold for pain – traits which help them deal with the general public on a daily basis. But just as common sense dictates that you wouldn’t annoy a server who handles your food, why would you annoy a trainer who has the power to deliver extra pushups or other physical punishment? So save yourself (and your instructor unnecessary) suffering and don’t be that annoying person mentioned above.
Minsun Park

Minsun Park is a blogger, writer and a black belt in taekwondo who gets her ass handed to her daily by her two sons. She’s written for iVillage, SheKnows, ePregnancy and is featured in “The Hot Mom’s Handbook” by Jessica Denay. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter