My trainer is rude. Now what?
September 22, 2016 8:36 AM   Subscribe

My trainer doesn't respond to my appointment requests. Now what?

Some backstory: I belong to a small gym that is geared towards a very specific type of training. I have a particular set of goals I am looking to achieve and was set up by the gym management with a trainer to hit those goals. This trainer agreed these goals are attainable within the timeframe I laid out. This was a couple months ago.

Today, I am unsure about how to proceed with the trainer, as he has shut down the possibility of training with him by ignoring my appointment requests.

For instance, a couple weeks ago, I text messaged my trainer early in the week about doing a weekend session. A couple days later, while at the gym I passed by him and asked if he got my text, he acknowledged he did and said he would get back to me about an appointment. During this interaction I couldn’t help but feel like he has dismissive, but I chalked it up him being busy.

Sure enough the week goes by, and I never heard from him. At this point I was pretty busy with personal things so I wasn’t sure when I would be able to schedule my next session. Fast forward to this week, and I have texted him to schedule a session. It’s been a couple days now, and again I haven’t heard from him.

Even on the few occasions I have successfully setup an appointment, it has routinely felt difficult to nail down a time with him.

At this point I am not sure what to do…I am tired of wasting time waiting for him to respond to only lose out on time I can be training. As stated above, I have goals I am attempting to achieve within a certain time period. I want to go to management and ask them to set me up with a new trainer. What I am not sure about is making a complaint about this particular trainer, but management probably will ask why I want to switch.

I am also not sure what to say to the current trainer. It’s inevitable I will see him. Do I say nothing and flat out ignore him? I don’t think calling him out on this person will be helpful either.

So here I am in awkward social predicament and unsure about how to proceed. Any suggestions? Thank you.
posted by helios410 to Human Relations (15 answers total)
When management asks why you want to switch, just say that your schedules aren't compatible. It's true.

You don't have to say anything to the current trainer. If you feel you must, just say the same thing you said to management, unless you actually want to have a conversation with him about the reasons you've switched. It's not your responsibility to teach him how to be a professional. You also don't have to ignore him. Be cordial, say hello or whatever when you see him at the gym.
posted by cooker girl at 8:40 AM on September 22, 2016 [19 favorites]

It's possible he's just not someone who texts well for work/scheduling purposes. If I'm reading you right, you texted twice and had one in-person interaction which felt off? I'm not clear if he's ignoring you or bad at texting but either way it doesn't really matter if the way you work doesn't work with the way he works, it doesn't work. So get a new trainer because of "scheduling issues" and don't worry about it. Training is a service business and your script if you run into the old trainer can be "I needed to get going on this and we didn't seem to be able to set up appointments"
posted by jessamyn at 8:44 AM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't understand why you'd want to hedge. Ask management for a new trainer and when they ask why, tell them that the current guy doesn't respond promptly to scheduling messages, and that you need someone that will get back to you same-day so you can keep your schedule organized and your training on track. A trainer can't be on his phone constantly, but it's not too much to ask for him to get back to you on the same day.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:45 AM on September 22, 2016 [59 favorites]

Seconding fingersandtoes here.

I have a particular set of goals I am looking to achieve and was set up by the gym management with a trainer to hit those goals

That's it right there. You totally let management know that the mutual agreement is failing, primarily because the trainer assigned to you isn't coordinating responsibly. You don't need to get the guy fired, but any decent manager would want to know when an employee isn't working out (excuse the pun).
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:53 AM on September 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

Nthing fingersandtoes.

The trainer either isn't making any money on you, or feels himself incompatible to working with you for his own reasons, and so is attempting to ghost on you. Either way he's being unprofessional. Don't waste any more of your time with him, move on.
posted by vignettist at 9:01 AM on September 22, 2016 [8 favorites]

Just talk to the management, tell them what happened, and have them switch you to a new trainer. I'm not sure where the complication is?
posted by MsMolly at 9:44 AM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

You're not getting the service you're paying for. You wouldn't put up with this from, say, your cable provider, so don't put up with it here. Switch "providers."
posted by AFABulous at 9:47 AM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would go with the request as a question: "Are all of your trainers as busy as X? I have a hard time scheduling appointments with him and I really need to set up 5 more sessions in the next 6 weeks. Are there other trainers with more availability, who I could either switch to, or add to a rotation?"
posted by aimedwander at 9:58 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you're worried about the awkwardness if running into the old trainer after you've switched to the new one, well that's okay. It is awkward, but it's nothing new for gym management, and nothing new for your old trainer, and after a couple of sessions with your new trainer, it'll be nothing new for you, either.

(This seems like a situation George or Elaine from Seinfeld would have handled poorly. "Ohh, the Trainer Breakup," Jerry would have said. "Time to find a new gym." "But I love this gym! It's right by my stop!")
posted by notyou at 10:00 AM on September 22, 2016 [11 favorites]

You don't mention whether the busy trainer is particularly good... in London at least, the best trainers who are still available at reasonable prices can be extremely busy - and if they're that good, will cross over into the high price bracket very soon. Personally I had a trainer still working for reasonable rates who was excellent but a little flakey with texting back/last minute changes - but it was worth it overall. Most people respond to genuine praise for their skills - just one possible thought.
posted by Coda Tronca at 10:38 AM on September 22, 2016

Yeah, confused as to why you don't just fire him. Talk to the management and get someone who will actually train you. If you see this guy, treat him the way he's been treating you. (Or, not sure what he's doing, just nod quickly and move on. Or straight up ignore, fine.)

He'd not doing his fellow trainers any favours by acting unprofessionally. (Well actually, he is. But he's not helping their rep, is he.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:12 AM on September 22, 2016

For whatever reason, he doesn't value you as a client. It's possible he really is both busy and flaky. Maybe you're low on his list because others have been with him longer. Maybe he just doesn't like working with you. It doesn't matter why -- he doesn't want to, and if he's not even willing to tell you to go with another trainer, he's definitely not going to give you any answers if you ask.

You may feel awkward about switching to another trainer in the same gym. I really doubt that he'd even care. You don't need to tell him you're making the change -- if he's bothered about it, let him ask you. Just be pleasant whenever you see him, as if everything is fine by you.
posted by wryly at 2:03 PM on September 22, 2016

cooker girl's script is the least awkward, for you; when you're starting with the new trainer, ask about their preferred appointment-setting method.

(As a brief caveat, if the gym specialty is CrossFit, or something like it, your next trainer may be equally as uncommunicative.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:21 PM on September 22, 2016

Being open with management about the problems you've had with this trainer is your best bet for getting a new trainer who will suit your needs. In a small gym, there's a good chance that management has an idea of who is and isn't responsive to texts.
posted by phantom powered at 7:24 PM on September 22, 2016

I wouldn't worry about awkwardness with the other trainer - he can't not know that he's not giving you a good enough service, and either he wants to but he's just too busy or he just doesn't care. If he really wanted to and enjoyed working with you, and had the time to, then it wouldn't be so difficult to get an appointment.
posted by missmagenta at 4:29 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

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