Parents, allow your kid to relax in the gym, please.

One of the most annoying and irritating situations I’ve come across doing this job is when you get parents bringing their kids along and follow the kids every move around the gym giving what they think is encouragement, but actually putting the kid under so much pressure they can’t relax and enjoy the training session. It’s one thing to show interest, and quite natural to do so, but this goes way beyond that.

My experience with this issue

A couple emailed me saying their 13-year-old kid was being bullied at school and wanted to hire a trainer during the summer holiday to beef him up a little and show him a few self-defense techniques in order to defend himself once he returned back to school. Seems like a fair enough request I’m thinking, so we arranged a time for them to visit the gym and look around.

When they arrived, it was obvious the parents were going to do all the talking and never actually gave the kid chance to speak for himself. He was already a very skinny, shy kid and very intimidated by the whole thing. But I figured once we got the training sessions under way, I’d be able to bring the kid from out of his shell so to speak. Unfortunately, that was to prove very difficult with his parents.

They brought him for his first session and to my surprise stayed around for the warmup. Ok I’m thinking, they’ll leave anytime now so I can work on this kid’s insecurity. Not only did they stay for the warm up, but chose to stay the whole session following us around the gym watching his every move, and giving him advice on what he should be doing like “You can lift more than that son!” and “Put more effort in son!” I thought that’s what they’re paying me for isn’t it? Worse than that was the fact both parents were very overweight. This went on for the first 3 sessions. I could clearly see the kid was hating it and couldn’t relax. This wasn’t going to work at all.

How I dealt with this issue

So, I called them and explained the situation as I saw it, I asked them to give me 5 sessions alone with the kid to help him relax as this would be beneficial to everyone concerned, not least of all…me!

My plan worked and the kid instantly felt the pressure lift from his shoulders and actually began to enjoy his training sessions and made some good gains in size, strength and more importantly his confidence. Under the shyness was a nice intelligent kid that respected what I was trying to achieve for him. We made a good team and powered through the workouts with great success.

His parents were delighted with their `new look` kid and agreed it was the best move they made by staying away from the training sessions, they dropped him off, then came and picked him back up an hour later. Everyone happy, they continued to pay for his training sessions the whole of the school holidays and kept in regular touch after he returned to school telling me no one could believe the changes in this kid’s body and mind. Thankfully there were no more reports of him being bullied. Don’t you just love a story with a happy ending?

Polite advice

Seriously though parents, when you pay for your kids training sessions you really don’t have to follow them around the gym and watch their every move, it’s very discouraging for the kid, and for the trainer for that matter. Just leave them with the trainer for the hour, and like the kid in this story I’m sure you’ll all benefit from doing so.

You`ll find your kid will open up and form a bond of trust with the trainer that most likely wont exist if you are following them around during the session, trust me, I speak with experience on this issue.

Any trainers experienced the same issues with parents not allowing their kid to relax in the gym? If so, how did you handle the situation?

Author: Nigel Taylor

I`m Nigel Taylor – originally from England – owner of The Backyard Gym in Round Rock Texas. We specialize in personal training, kickboxing cardio and self-defense. With over 25 years experience as a personal trainer, I know what works! From weight loss to bulking up to toning up, I can help you get your desired look and achieve your fitness goals. I can also offer you the privacy of a 100% private personal training studio in which to enjoy and get the most out of your workouts.