what is the etiquette in this situation?
February 19, 2018 3:49 PM   Subscribe

How to have a slightly awkward conversation w/r/t personal training at the gym?

I was working with a really great personal trainer last summer, she was super cool and I felt really comfortable with her. At some point in the fall my work schedule changed in a way that no longer matched with her schedule so I had to stop working with her. Sadface.

I was then re-assigned to another trainer in the winter. Let's call her Jen. Jen obviously knows her stuff and I definitely was getting a decent workout with her, but we weren't really doing the kind of workouts I would like to be doing at this point. (She's very cardio-focused; I get plenty of cardio in my daily life, I want to focus on weight training, core strengthening, and basically getting stronger in general.) I have tried to let Jen know what my preferences are, but either I'm not being as clear as I would like to be, or she doesn't really specialize in the kind of exercise I want to get, or maybe she and I just don't communicate well. I also am in recovery from a pretty severe knee injury from December and one of the first workouts I did with Jen I ended up re-injuring the knee, which i think likely supports the idea that she and I just don't communicate well (I did tell her about the injury but... yeah).

At any rate, I haven't really been happy with the training that I've been getting and as a result I've stopped going to the gym at all, which is not optimal. I spent most of January dealing with having to move homes abruptly due to a crazy landlord, one of my closest friends passed away very suddenly two weeks ago, and now my work schedule is changing yet again, so I've kind of lamely been using those reasons as a way to fob Jen off while I figure out what I want to do. I feel a little bad that I'm just perpetuating the bad communication cycle in this way, but I also don't feel that motivated to try to fix it, either - I'm paying her for a service, that's the extent of the relationship, it's not like we're married.

I'm going to contact the personal training department at my gym and request a new trainer. My question is twofold:

1) do I owe Jen an explanation for wanting to stop training with her, or can I just continue the slow fade I've been doing for a while?

2) when I request a new trainer, what do I say? I don't want to get Jen in trouble; it's not her fault that I haven't warmed to her, nor is it her fault that I'm having trouble communicating that I'm not happy with what I've been getting from her. 2018 has been super rough for me already and I just don't really have the spoons to put more effort into improving our communication right now.

This gym has several trainers who specialize in the kind of training that I want and I would prefer to just be placed with one of them without this becoming a big awkward Thing. But, I also don't want to be rude or unkind in the process because no one has really done anything wrong, and generally I have had very positive experiences with this gym and their staff and am grateful for that; their whole facility is very welcoming to people of all shapes and sizes and fitness levels and I think that's really commendable because that hasn't always been the case for other gyms I've paid membership fees to.

Thanks in advance for your input.
posted by thereemix to Human Relations (4 answers total)
“I’ve had a fine experience training with Jen but I’d like a different approach. Could you recommend someone primarily focused on strength/weight training and if possible, recovery from injury/let me know if Jane, Jeff, or Chris have room in their schedules?”

To Jen: Thanks so much for working with me. I’ve decided to work with Chris for now, just to try a different approach.

This shouldn’t be a big deal at all and happens all the time.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:54 PM on February 19, 2018 [20 favorites]

Seconding warriorqueen ... this is a super common thing and will not raise any eyebrows. The gym and Jen *both* want you to be working with the person who's going to give you the service you want. Don't give it a second thought, and good luck with your practice!
posted by mccxxiii at 5:03 PM on February 19, 2018

Echoing what was stated above. I'd just like to add: don't be afraid to tell your trainer "No; that's not going to work for me." if you think they're suggesting something that will cause you pain or injury. You know your body better than anybody else, so listen to your gut. Not trying to slam the profession, but you'd be surprised how many personal trainers are not medically qualified to be doing that job. You can tell them all about your previous injuries and it will not make a lick of difference; they can still end up giving you instructions that can cause you harm.

If you have a physical therapist, or access to one through your insurance, get a copy of the workout routine the new trainer wants to put you on and make sure it's okay with the p.t. to do those things considering your particular injury. (And I'm so sorry about your friend and the rough start to your year. Good on you though for practicing self-care and getting back into exercising.)
posted by LuckySeven~ at 10:02 PM on February 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

I appreciate that you don't want to hurt Jen's feelings or make things awkward, but I think you're overthinking this. Just tell the gym that you'd like to switch to one of the trainers that you know is more your speed. If they ask why, just say you want to focus more on those things. Send Jen a nice, polite note explaining.

This is not an inherently awkward situation and will only be awkward if one of you makes it so.
posted by lunasol at 11:19 PM on February 19, 2018

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