Why I Stopped Training with a PT

I trained with several trainers over a decade. One thing I found frustrating with several of them, was that they discouraged me from pursuing my goals, in favour of working towards more common fitness goals. It seems generally personal trainers don’t want to conceive of body building as complimentary or in addition to other forms of training.

Example: they all insisted the work outs they’d create for me include core exercises. I assured them these were superfluous to training I do outside the gym. Time and again, it turned into them scrambling to come up with versions of core exercises that were modestly challenging. But I never asked for help to improve where I already excel. I understand a lot of men focused on volume gain don’t have good core, but I do. It’s the rest that I need to improve, the reason I go to the gym, and sough out personal training.

Trainers insisted my fitness goal should be to increase the strength of my entire body at essentially the same time and pace. But my body is not evenly (under)developed.

They insisted that the muscles I want to target, would benefit from exercises targeting other muscles that they favoured. There’s truth to this rhetoric, forearms will benefit from their contribution to exercises targeting the chest. But given my chest is proportionally closer to my goal for it than my forearms are to theirs, it grated my nerves to be told to never target my forearms.

Meanwhile, my calves are proportionally bigger than the rest of me. I’m already happy with their size and resting tension. Thus I’m not interested in targeting them. Still trainers kept giving me calve exercises no matter what. They kept “reminding” me of the “risk” of winding up with “chicken legs“, a common mistake among men. I don’t fear getting chicken legs because mine already have plenty of volume from sports I do outside of weight lifting.

I didn’t disclose to my first few trainers and wondered if disclosure would get them to better appreciate why I have the goals I do. I disclosed to one trainer, and it made some difference, but not as much as I’d hoped. If the stars re-align again, I might train with this person, but I would be firmer about limiting to the scope of my interest within body building.

I’m grateful for the helpful knowledge my past trainers instilled. There definitely was some along the way, especially around preventing injury and increasing the strength of my weaker joints. But working with them proved too much of an exercise in patience. It’s been a few years now, and I continue to find that workout routines I’ve designed, which focus on challenges that are meaningful to me, and centred on my goals, to be more satisfying.


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