The Diaries of a Personal Trainer

The diaries of a personal trainer

The diaries of a personal trainer. One thing about being a personal trainer is very evident, people really do take you into their confidence, and really do tell you the funniest, strangest, and most personal things you could ever imagine, some of which you really don’t want to know in the first place!

What I can offer you

Getting In shape shouldn’t be a punishment. It’s an amazing and empowering lifestyle decision that anyone can achieve. I believe In finding the pleasurable side of fitness, and while there may be a sore muscle or two along the way, the amount of fun and levels of energy you will experience will far exceed the discomfort, plus you’ll be learning valuable self-defense skills too.

As a certified fitness trainer, kickboxing & self-defense Instructor, I have devised a unique style of training utilizing my 25 years’ experience in personal training, 10 years’ experience In martial arts complete with a 3rd degree black belt In Japanese Ju-Jitsu and 15 years’ experience In kickboxing, to help get you In the best shape of your life! So, If you’re looking for something a little different give It a try! I offer something for everyone. You won`t be disappointed!

My interest in the gym – how it all began

One typically cold and rainy night in Chesterfield England way back in 1980, I was feeling very bored flicking through the only three TV channels we had back then BBC1, BBC2 & ITV-long before the days of cable and satellite-hoping to find something entertaining when a documentary called `Pumping Iron` came on. Not knowing anything about this I decided it may be worth watching.

So, I settled down for the night and started watching, and was completely shocked by the size of these monsters filling my small TV screen, after about 15 minutes I realized these were real people and not some camera or computer enhanced figures. Right from that moment I knew I was destined to become a `Gym Rat` for life!  Immediately after the show ended, I called my friend who had also been watching equally impressed.

“Did you see the size of that guy? and what about that Arnold character with the weird last name?” we both agreed on a time and set off the next morning to a sports store in the local town center to purchase a cheap weight set of plastic sand filled weights, well they seemed good at the time.

In our eagerness we hadn`t considered how we were to get them home. Since neither of us could drive at that time we had to walk the 5 miles home carrying a 100lb weights set! After a few very hard & long hours we finally got them home by which time we were both so tired and sore we didn`t start working out for another week! And that`s how it all began.

You need to be a good listener

Being a personal trainer at times can feel like certain clients are using you as a cheap version of a counselor by telling you all their problems and personal issues. So, one thing is for sure, you have to be a good listener to stay successful in this profession. Like all jobs, personal training can have its ups and downs.

Here`s 4 stories taken from `The diaries of a personal trainer` a collection of 65 short stories, actually some of the most memorable short true stories I have experienced in my time as a personal trainer.

Crazy excuses not to work out!

After a while doing this job you can soon tell who really wants to work out and who doesn’t. The clients who truly understand they will only get back what they put into their training and the ones who don’t even want to be there but come anyway expecting results without even trying.

Then of course you get the ones that pay but cancel almost every session, instead of being honest with themselves and me and just admitting it’s not for them, they use the craziest excuses not to be there for their workouts, which I always find so strange, I mean, it’s not like I made them sign up in the first place, it was their choice to come to me for help.

One such client was Sandra, a slightly overweight lady who came to me wanting to lose 20lb and basically just tone up, shouldn’t be too difficult I thought. Unfortunately, Sandra had no desire to put any kind of effort into her workouts whatsoever. After three very poor sessions I received an email from Sandra saying she was sick and couldn’t make it to the gym today.

As anyone can get sick from time to time, I didn’t think any more about this and waited for her next session. The day of the next session came around and so did another email stating now her husband was sick too, at this stage I’m not really thinking anything is too strange about this as people do get sick and pass it on to family members. At the weekend Sandra calls me to say everyone is fit and well again and she’s ready and looking forward to hitting the gym again.

The day of the next session came around and so did another cancellation, this time the baby is sick, then it’s the turn of the dog to be sick. OK, now things are looking a little strange, either that or this family has some very seriously bad luck with a sickness that only hits them on gym day! It`s very strange how that sickness only strikes down the clients who really don’t enjoy working out.

As the next session approaches, I’m thinking I wonder what excuse it will be today. I know she’s running out of family members to get sick so this should be interesting. Sure enough, the morning of the next session arrives along with the best excuse yet, her cat has just got food poisoning! Really? I don’t think so.

So, in the space of two weeks Sandra got sick, her husband got sick, her baby got sick, her dog got sick and now her cat got sick, all on gym day of course, Whatever! Maybe next her goldfish will be the latest victim, some freak accident in its goldfish bowl perhaps!

By this time, I had already crossed her off my schedule long before she could come up with any more excuses. Needless to say, she never came back, and I never heard from her ever again either. Oh well, no big loss.

Hit men in the gym? No, it’s just my new clients!

Every so often you get to experience something really memorable, real fun characters that create an occasion you will never forget, one of those occasions you wish you could have got on video, this is one such occasion.

I had a call from a guy named Paul who had been training over at one of the big corporate gyms for a few months, when his trainer got out the hand pads one night he liked it, and wanted to try his hand at a little kick boxing. As that’s my specialty he chose me to teach him after searching on the internet for a local kick boxing trainer.

So, we arranged a date and time for a session. Paul asked me would it be ok if his friend Tony came along and a few other people also come with them, sure I thought why not? I’ll put on a good show for them and keep everyone entertained. He said thanks and informed me that there would be a small entourage of followers with him. Interesting I thought, sounds different anyway.

On the night in question I didn’t have anyone the previous hour so sat waiting in the lounge room by the back door. Suddenly the lights seemed to dim as in walked two of the biggest guys I’ve ever seen followed by a whole host of much smaller people, almost like two giant sumo wrestlers making their way to the ring with the whole crew behind them, only thing missing was the television camera crew and commentator!

The lights hadn’t dimmed exactly but it was the sheer size of these two guys that blocked out the light! In they came looking very confident complete with dark shades and stood in the middle of the gym looking around, it must have looked a little intimidating to many of the other people in the gym as several were actually heading for the safety of the front doors leading out onto the street outside! Several people actually said later they thought a couple of hit men had wandered in looking for someone!

After we had finally stopped laughing at the `frightening` scene these two had just caused, and everyone had returned to the gym finally satisfied their lives were no longer in danger, I greeted them and showed them around the gym.

When we walked into the boxing room Paul`s eyes lit up as soon as he saw all the equipment I had, not just hand pads but all kinds of punching and kicking bags, heavy bag and speed bag etc. and he really took to the kick boxing immediately and as soon as his remaining sessions had expired over at the other gym he transferred over to me and has been one of my best clients ever since actually losing over 100lb in the first two years we trained together.

Paul also persuaded his wife to start training with me too who has also become a regular client of mine. His friend Tony tried a few sessions but claimed a long-term ankle injury prevented him from exercising and never really got into it and basically just came for support and has since moved out of state.

Some you win and some you lose, but they both gave me an unforgettable experience that night that remains probably my most favorite moment so far as a personal trainer. Classic stuff!

Another client that paid for me to work out!

Yet another generous client who paid for my services but never used them like he should have done was a guy named Allan, he came to me wanting to improve his endurance as he was a long-distance runner. Allan was very lean and in very good shape. Should be pretty easy I’m thinking, once again, I didn’t expect it to be this easy!

The day of the first session arrived, Allan stretched for 5 minutes then asked would it be ok if he went for a short run around the block to get warmed up, I said sure just don’t expect me to come too as I’m no runner, just not for me at all, not something that interests me, just not built for it I guess. But, each to his own as they say.

Anyway, so off he went, I’m expecting maybe 10 minutes and he`ll be back but as I can see him out of the gym window running past the first block, he’s disappearing way into the distance, I’m thinking just how far is he thinking of going? Obviously, his idea of a warmup and mine are a little different. Slight understatement there!

15 minutes passes and no sign of Allan, so I start to work out myself, may as well do something productive while my client is on the run! Then 30 minutes passes and still no sign! Now I’m thinking maybe he’s been in an accident or something. Finally, after 50 minutes he’s back in the gym doing his stretching again, this time to cool down.

By this time the full hour is up, and he says, “great session, I enjoyed that, see you next time” and off he went seemingly very content with what he’s just paid good money for. Each to his own, but I certainly wouldn’t pay a trainer that kind of money then go running the streets the full hour! I wouldn’t even pay me to do that!

This went on for 2 months, twice a week. This guy would pay me basically to come into the gym to stretch as part of his warmup, then take off running, and return back 50 minutes later to stretch to cool down, and then go home! A little eccentric to say the least.

I just used his hour to workout myself as he obviously didn’t need me for anything at all. I didn’t even bother to question why he felt the need to pay a trainer to go running by himself. He was happy with this strange arrangement and I certainly didn’t mind getting paid for doing nothing.

So, he finally quit after 2 months but I still see him to this day running around the streets, maybe it’s time to get him back in the gym for that special stretching again that he used to like to pay me for or maybe he finally figured out he didn’t need to pay a trainer to go running by himself!

I miss having a client pay for me to work out while they go running around the streets the full hour! So, if you feel like doing this yourself just let me know! I won`t object…Honestly!

The 20 minute client!

Quite often you come across the type of client who has more money than sense, who sees having a personal trainer as nothing more than a status thing. Perhaps it’s a sign amongst the wealthy that they have money to be able to tell their friends that they can afford a trainer. After all, this isn’t a cheap service by any means.

Maybe they think it impresses people to bring it up in a conversation “My trainer said this, my trainer said that” which is fine, but when they put no effort in and don’t look any different after several months of training it’s not a very good advert for your business when they’re telling everyone who their trainer is.

What trainer in their right mind would want their name associated with someone who isn’t getting results? Especially when the client is the one to blame for lack of results, by not putting effort in, or not eating correctly. It does happen… Quite often!

So when they’re out and about socializing with their friends, and happily telling everyone who has trained them, their friend’s first reaction will probably be something like “Well, he can’t be a very good trainer as you still look the same!” Or “What a waste of money! You need a refund!”

So, as you can clearly see, that can be a big problem. After all, each client is a walking representative of your training skills, so it pays to have them looking their best as of course it can lead to more business, easier said than done with some though, as it requires them to do their part too.

Dianne was such a client, very nice lady who obviously had money and wasn’t too concerned about wasting it. She first came to me with an all too familiar request, that of wanting to lose quite a few pounds. She was in pretty good shape, especially considering the fact she was 60 years old.

So, we arranged her first session, it was very apparent when she showed up that she wasn’t really into it. For her it was more of a social thing, just having somewhere to hang out for an hour. Each session would end exactly the same way with her constantly looking at the clock, no matter what we were doing, each session would end after only 20 minutes!

With no cool down or anything, she would say “OK, I’m done, great session, thank you, see you next time” and walk out of the gym, this went on for around a year before she must have finally got so bored with it she quit, or maybe she found something else more interesting to occupy her time with.

Easy money for a me of course, as she’s still paying for the full hour, but with her choosing only to complete 20 minutes of every session I never had a chance to improve her fitness. Just a case of take the money and don’t worry about it, she obviously wasn’t so why should I?

She never did come back, although she actually referred several people to me saying I was a great trainer, that’s very nice of her to say, but I don’t think she could ever honestly say she found that out. Kind of hard when the session lasts only 20 minutes!


Generally speaking being a personal trainer is a very satisfying and rewarding job when it comes to helping people improve their fitness, after all, it’s not just their performance in the gym you are helping, but rather their total lifestyle of being healthy. They feel better in everyday life, like less stressful at work, and many times at home too.

So, all in all, you are helping people feel better about themselves physically, and mentally too.

That was just a small sample from my book `The diaries of a personal trainer` which is available from Amazon in kindle format. See link below to order.

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.