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LiterateGriffin 12-24-2012 01:54 PM

Personal Trainer Rant

OK, so I got a Y-membership here to replace my old gym membership. I miss my workout partner, but nothing to be done for that, and... Well, much as I loved the company, there WERE some drawbacks: Namely she was of the "I don't want to bulk up" camp. Not as bad as SOME women, but she would not go above certain self-imposed weight-limits, no matter what, because of that fear.

This Y has "ActiveTrax", which is a computer program that'll design a workout for you -- new one each time -- based on your stats, goals, and an inital strength-test. Unfortunately, they don't let you do the set-up bit by yourself. You have to go thru with a trainer.

So I did that today.

Of course, early on, he tried to interest me in personal trainer sessions... NOT interested, even remotely. I just want this set up.

We go thru, doing the test. We chat a bit on the way. We're being careful of my knee, and discussing my past experience, etc. He's generally setting the weights way too low for me, and I'm having to move them way up. ("Test" involves not being able to do 15 reps, so that takes a fair bit more than I would normally use.)

Then it's time to enter it all in the computer. We do that thing... and then we get to "experience" and "goals".

And the arguments begin.

I want my "goal" to be "gain mass". (Obviously, this means lean muscle mass -- EXACTLY what I want to do!) He thinks it should be "toning" or "weight loss". In telling me how I really DON'T want to gain mass, he uses the phrase "bulk up" several times while gesturing to his arm, indicating a hypothetical bicep that would make Arnie jealous... and trying to imply that was going to happen to me if I chose this option.
"You don't want that."
"Yes, I do."
"But {more gestures, indicating bulging muscles that at 42, female, and lacking that genotype I'm not likely ever to create}... really, that's not what you want. I'll just mark toning."
"No. Mass-building."

Then, intensity: He clicked "low", without checking with me. "No, mark 'high'."
"How about intermediate?"
"No. High."

Then we had to mark my target frequency. Unfortunately, the "break" on those options wasn't where I'd like. I prefer 2-3x/week. They had 1-2 or 3-4. I went with 3... "Now, that doesn't mean your cardio! We're talking about resistance training on this. You mean cardio, so I'll just mark it as 1-2".

And again, on the cardio, with workout length...

Then I made the mistake of saying, "I don't care about cardio."
"But muscle burns more than fat, and cardio builds muscle, so it raises your metabolism!"
"No, cardio doesn't build muscle. Resistance-training builds muscle. If anything, cardio catabolizes muscle."
"But that's how you get lean -- CARDIO."

~pounds head slowly & rhythmically against the wall~
~pulls out hair~

And ya wonder why I hate personal trainers?
This guy had started out by trying to tell me, "Oh, personal trainers aren't all that bad. I'm 58..." at which point I cut him off with a sob-story about my schedule, and managing with kids, and whatnot...

Yes, I'm grateful for the help with equipment/exercises when needed... But aside from that? Please keep your nose out of my workout!!!!!


daphnelorraine 12-24-2012 02:36 PM

I love your rant, i have kept my weight stable for three years, after yo yo dieting, gym, excercise, and i eat what i like and havent put on a pound, but i havent lost any and am overweight, and hoping that some of the amazing information on here will help.

I gave up on the gym coz my arms arent bad, my legs though not great also arent bad, but my tummy, well its huge!! so much so that on a recent night out a ramdom stranger came over wobbled my tummy and told me it was sooooo cute ???

anyway back to the gym thing, i had a c section many moons ago and when asked my goals it was always my core is really weak, I have an apron i need to build my strength in my abs..... maybe thats why my legs and arms arent bad as because i had a c section no trainer gave me any and i mean any excercise for my abs!!! totally missed out on that muscle group all together i have a back that any man would be proud of and a stomach like the alien from men in black when she just ate a man!! i say what exercises are for my stomach, they say i had an operation, therefore they will not give me any......

oh the joys !

LiterateGriffin 12-24-2012 02:53 PM

I didn't have a C-section, but I HAVE had my abs cut. (They had to take an ovary out, so did a "bikini cut" on me just like for a c-section... They just didn't touch my uterus.)

So... Yeah, I feel you, there!

I've actually gotten my core back, FINALLY, and 11 years after the surgery!

If you want some ab-exercises, I can give you some (and not just crunches). Ones that work for us post-op ladies, too! (On the other hand, if you're just ranting, I CERTAINLY understand that!! :D )

daphnelorraine 12-24-2012 03:07 PM

any excercise that focuses on getting rid of the alien tummy would help, i took before pics the other day, n just keep thinking there is something way wrong with this picture maybe if it does get smaller i will post it as a before and after the before the alien ate the man ha! im doing callanetics, and thinking of the slow burn, but am way to nervous to diet it took me years to repair my metabolism

thanks :-))

LiterateGriffin 12-24-2012 03:49 PM

1.) Crunches. OK, you know this one, right? Lay on your back, knees bent up tight (OR legs raised in the air), and tighten your abdomen, lifting your shoulders (and JUST your shoulders) off the floor. You'll feel this at the top of your abdomen.

2.) Obliques. I don't know what this exercise is called... Lay on your back, knees bent like for a crunch. Lift your upper body just off the floor, and with your left hand reach for your left heel, bending your body sideways. Return to center, and reach for your right heel with your right hand, again bending at the waist. Repeat. This one is EASY, which makes it good to start with. :)

Obliques: Taking it up a notch, lay on your side. Laying basically on your hip, lift your FEET and your HEAD as high as you can. (This always, to me, looks like a fish, flopping.) Do this on both sides. (It is NOT easy! If you feel like you look ridiculous, you're probably doing it right. It'll get "better" with time -- as those muscles tone.)

Lower Abs: Lay on your back. Tuck your feet, roll up onto your shoulders, extending your feet towards the ceiling. Roll back down. Repeat.

For a variation on this, roll up into a one-legged kneeling stance, at the end of this move: One **** flat on the floor, the other foot on the floor, knee at a 90 degree angle. When you roll backwards, lead with that front-foot, and stretch IT to the ceiling, while you tuck the other foot. Do 10 reps (or whatever number you can) and then the same number on the other side. (POOF! You just got an obliques workout in!)

Planks: Get in the full push-up position: Feet and hands on the floor, body in a straight line from heels to knees to hips to shoulders to head. (Slanted, but straight!) HOLD, until you can't. Then, do the same thing on your side: Feet and one arm on the ground. Instead of facing the floor, you're facing the wall. Body straight, no sagging! Hold till you can't then hold the other side to for the same count.

You can (and should) work abs daily.

To start, do what you can, if it's 5, if it's 10... if it's 1. For starting out, I actually like the "roll-up" ones better than crunches, because it's targeting the area that's weakest. (I'm assuming you have the "bikini cut" lateral scar, rather than the longitudinal scar.) So you're working on your weak-spot first.

To STRETCH your abs, lay flat on your belly. Put your hands together on the floor under your chest. Straighten your arms and arch your back as far as you can, while pointing your chin to the ceiling. Pull your shoulders back, trying to touch the bottoms of your shoulder-blades... You'll feel it. Stretch after each of these exercises.

At a MINIMUM, do the planks daily. Do them in ADDITION to any of the others you do. Do your crunches, your heel-touches, your roll-ups...stretch... and THEN do your planks (and stretch again). And if you can, take heat -- even if it's just a hot shower/bath -- afterwards, because you will HURT in the morning! lol

daphnelorraine 12-25-2012 07:57 AM

thanks, i'm going to get cracking, and ill let you know how it goes, hope you enjoy your time at the gym, and see how your trainer reacts when he realises you are totally doing your own thing ! no pain no gain

six ab excercises daily, thats easily achievable

merry xmas

ab1ht 12-26-2012 11:37 AM

Thank you. Your trainer story brightened my day :)

The correct response is (while looking him squarely in the eye), "Do what I say. Otherwise get me another trainer. I'm a paying member and you work for me, not the other way around. "

(My wife has dared me to actually do some of the things I tell other people to do.)

LiterateGriffin 12-27-2012 05:26 AM


Went home, and adjusted all the stuff he set up wrong on my "profile", so I'd get the workout I wanted. Had a nicely intense upper-body sort of day, which I"m FEELING now! :) Only time I had to talk to any of the trainers was to show me the right way to do a precribed exercise on some of the cable-equipment. (Was one I hadn't done before, and I was trying to figure it out on the WRONG machine, so it's a good thing I asked.) HE just did what I asked him to do. (OK, when I set my weights, he DID say, "That's an awful lot of weight -- let me set it lower for you to start", but didn't argue with me when I insisted it was right -- he just set the other side to match.)

See, I LIKED that guy -- he listened to me! ;)

daphnelorraine 01-02-2013 01:58 AM

Hey literate griffin

thanks, im doing your excercises along with callanetics, and my tummy is two inches smaller today, happy days

LiterateGriffin 01-02-2013 04:56 AM

:) I'm about to go back to the gym for my 2nd time since the trainer-bit. lol (Shoulda been more, except on Monday, literally everything I had to work out in? Was too damp and gross to put on! Ewww! SO, I'm going today, and committing to a more disciplined laundry regimen!)

Glad you're starting to take back your abs! Like I said -- I know that post-op feeling INTIMATELY. Our abdominals are such an important muscle-group, and are utterly destroyed by that surgery... I SWEAR, we ought to be given physical therapy afterwards, to help us rehabilitate, instead of just being left hanging (and flabby) to try to deal with it on our own.

daphnelorraine 01-02-2013 07:42 AM

Thats so true, the core is so important, for the first time i think i may achieve the stomach i would like with out plastic surgery,

good luck on sorting out your laundry each journey starts with a single step!

LiterateGriffin 01-02-2013 06:52 PM

Well, I made it back to the gym today. :) Good workout!

Also, picked up a new lower-ab exercise that's really killer. I've been working on getting my abs back for nearly a year, and they were HARD for me:

Lay flat on your back, with your feet bent up at 90 degrees (like a big L on the floor).
PUSH your feet towards the ceiling, so that you lift your glutes slightly off the floor.

OH, my! I could only get, like, 12 of those! I'm going to need to start getting some of those in on a regular basis, I can see! :D ~chuckles~ I think it's targeting the EXACT spot where my incision was, which could be why it felt so danged impossible. (I generally crank out ab-exercises like they're nothing, at this point, up to about 30-40 reps. Only doing 12 and then dropping exhausted to the mat? That's unusual for me.)

LiterateGriffin 01-04-2013 08:02 PM

Thought about going to the gym today, but didn't. Partly, my sweat pants were still wet. (They've since been put in the dryer.) Partly, felt like it was maybe too hard on the heels of my last workout, and my body could use another day of rest. Committed myself to doing it first thing tomorrow morning.

Then I went shopping at Costco. And went to look for an extra pair of sweats, while I was there. Instead, I bought 2 pairs of "performance wear" pants -- one an XL, on a L. When I got them home, BOTH pair fit, though the L was a little snug.

New goal: To have the XL pair be "too loose"! :up:

Upper body tomorrow... and lots of abs. :)

(While I was at it, I bought a single pair of shorts -- just regular, not workout. Size 14. They fit -- so I can finally throw away the 3 pair of Size 22 shorts I held up with tight belts all summer!)

thealything 01-05-2013 12:50 AM

wow, I think I might have actually cried after that experience with the PT.

oh well at least it (kinda) worked out in the end!

I definitely have a bunch of girl friends who just want to "tone". one is on Atkins but doesn't want to lift weights because "I just want skinny legs!"
the other is already thin but keeps trying to get me to go running, and uses ONE POUND weights.

I've never used a trainer but I am fortunate to have a job where physical strength is a valued trait. I end up going on training courses with a lot of super fit people who eat tons of protein and flip tractor tires for fun. if dude coworkers see me bench pressing, they stay the hell away till I'm done... then congratulate me ;)

female coworkers on the other hand... different story.

daphnelorraine 01-05-2013 02:56 PM

hey, well done for getting there, and the smaller sizes makes it all worth while, im goin to try your net ab ex but im in pain just thinking about it how weird is that, ill still give it a go though! i think the rest days are really important to repair though before this site i didnt realise how much , im thinkin of trying on some smaller clothes as my figure has changed dramatically in such a short time, maybe next week after a few more hours excercise !!

daphnelorraine 01-05-2013 02:59 PM

im dying to go to the gym and start lifting heavy weights i think like you it will be funny to see how other people view a female lifting good luck on achieving your goal, the motivation here is phenominal!

LiterateGriffin 01-06-2013 08:16 PM


Originally Posted by thealything (Post 16172542)
I definitely have a bunch of girl friends who just want to "tone". one is on Atkins but doesn't want to lift weights because "I just want skinny legs!"
the other is already thin but keeps trying to get me to go running, and uses ONE POUND weights.

See, I've never "gotten" that!

Of course, I also grew up shoveling snow, carrying firewood, and portaging canoes. All of these required STRENGTH. I LIKE being strong. And I'm used to having a "high-volume", bulging body -- I'd just rather the volume be muscle than fat! The "bulging" muscles at least look pretty... unlike the fat-rolls I'm still working on.

I realized, last night, that the way the trainer and I dealt with a "problem" is affecting the workouts the software gives me. One exercise in the "strength test" is something that can stress my knee. So he didn't let me do it, and we had to enter "fake data" -- which made it look like my legs are super-weak. So I think I need to slip in tomorrow, just long enough to get some REAL data on that. (I've already discovered how to "ban" specific exercises, and have "banned" the ones I'm not supposed to do with my knee.) (My legs aren't weak -- I've been specifically building them. I just can't do it by doing exercises that compress my knee-joints... like the specific one they use for the "strength test")

I ALSO discovered they have one trainer who is a.) a licensed physical therapist, and b.) specializes in strength-training.... OK, not remembering how that last was phrased, but it made him sound like he might actually be a good match for me. Unlike Cardio-Man. I'm contemplating setting up a couple sessions with him down the road.

I SOOOOooooo want to go work-out tomorrow... But I know it's too soon. Think I may start doing some yoga on my "off-days", to get some flexibility going. It's something I used to do, and rather miss... but I'm not giving up my muscle-building! :workout::muscles:

bethr 01-07-2013 12:56 PM

Man I would drop kick that trainer into next week. I have a fabulous trainer that I love. I only see him once every three months to update my workout but he is so not main stream. He is a CHEK practioner and has worked closely with me and dh to help us old folks regain strength, balance and flexibility. I'm pretty strong for a girl ( but I think Literate Griffin would leave me in the dust). I also have bad knees but between joint juice shots and working on strenthening my legs and knees I'm doing much better. But what I love best of all is that I've not had to do one single crunch of any kind in the last year and a half. That doesn't mean that I haven't done some serious core training, but no crunches. My trainer uses the stability ball as a key component to what I do, as well as free weights and cable weights. I still have a long way to go to get where I want, but the change has been dramatic. When I first started I couldn't do one prone jack knive, now I easily do 36.

creseis 01-13-2013 08:50 PM

although he might not be communicating well with you, he might have a point. A lot of times, personal trainers have a lot of experience and knowledge that most people do not have about what they should be doing to reach their goals, and there is a difference between immediate (few months) goals and longer term (years) goals. So, eventually, you might want a high intensity workout, but you're not going to be able to do that for a while, maybe months or even a year. I don't think he was communicating well with you and you should probably find someone who can speak to you better so you understand the program and why they might want to set limitations at first. Most people end up doing more harm by pushing themselves too hard.

LiterateGriffin 01-15-2013 05:48 PM


First, I'm not "at first". Until August, I was hitting the gym (weights) 2-3x/week, and the dojo another 2x/week. Then we moved, and I didn't have a gym membership till now.

I communicated this to him.

What he communicated to me, repeatedly, was that IF I attempted to do anything to increase my muscle-mass, I would look like Conan the Barbarian on steroids. And that instead, I should be doing "cardio", and the more the better. I should be doing minimal strength-training, and certainly not trying to increase either my strength or muscle-mass. Because doing either would make me look like a champion male body-builder. (This last expressed in gestures, not words -- but the gestures indicated the way MALE body-builders look, not the way FEMALE body-builders look.)

One look at this guy, and you could tell he was a runner. He believes in running -- he made this obvious from the start. Well, I can't run. Bad knees. (I can BIKE! And I do.)

I'm getting my cardio with every workout... Bike, for now, as I hate rowing without someone else there. (When I moved, I lost my workout partner along with my gym membership. :( ) Bikes, you can plug your earphones in and watch the TV; rowing machines obviously don't have that feature. Maybe in a few months I can find a cheap MP3 player, and then I'll start rowing again.

He wanted me increasing my cardio, and reducing my resistance workout to practically nothing. He insisted this was the only way to lose fat. This is factually incorrect. Period.

As for high-intensity workouts... Was just coming back to this thread, because my workout today was INTENSE! :jumpjoy: Serious pectoral workout, which I NEED, and shoulders/triceps, which I also need. :) Oh, MAN, I'm gonna feel this tomorrow! :) Also getting into it a bit more with my core, which I love. :) I've been so frustrated with my abs for so many years that I really love all this focus on them. Surgery was in 2001 or 2002, it's really no longer an excuse; my goal is to get my core in better shape than when I was 25 (ie: when it was at its best).

Due to schedule issues and a lot of LACK OF SLEEP on my part, I only got in 1 workout last week. It feels really good to get "back into it" again -- my body was missing it! :)

The kids have swim lessons tomorrow. I'm hoping to swim laps during my daughter's lesson... though I'm guessing I may end up swimming with a kickboard and giving my poor arms a rest! :)

thealything 01-16-2013 01:24 PM

good to hear!

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