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Personal Trainers who eat and drink during sessions

I belong to an upscale gym and they offer personal training for a fee. I've seen several of the trainers eat (power bars) and drink (coffee) during sessions with clients. It kind of turns me off to ever using one of their trainers. Am I overreacting? Would you give 'feedback' about this - they have an anonymous feedback box? Part of me wonders - if their clients don't care, should I?

Mon. Dec 3, 1:25pm

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Personal trainers are usually given packed schedules, with no breaks. I would rather have them eat power bars and drink coffee/water/smoothies during my session than cut my time 5 minutes short so they can accommodate their own health/diet needs. After all, most of us are allowed to snack and drink "on the clock", I wouldn't insist that other people behave differently.

However, if they're in the habit of consuming something you find problematic, ask them to refrain. Like if you're trying to give up caffeine, I think it's perfectly fine to ask them not to drink coffee during your hour.

Monday, December 03, 2007, 1:46 PM

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Most athelic people that work out and weight train need to eat every 2-3 hours. Actually everyone who wants to lose weight and gain muscle should be doing this. Those trainers are at work and in order to fit in those meals they have to eat those power bars or protein shakes. I take my bars with me whever I go. I need to fuel my body or my metabolism will get sluggish and weight will be gained. If it bothers you, then ask them to eat it after their done with your training session.

Monday, December 03, 2007, 1:49 PM

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I'm sorry, I seem to have a different take on this. If I am paying for a session then I do not want my PT eating or drinking coffee much less socializing with others while the PT is working with me. If the PT is that busy then maybe they need to schedule 10 minutes or so for a bite but not on my time.

Monday, December 03, 2007, 2:06 PM

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Gym booking systems do not allow breaks. Nothing you can do about it. I've had trainers who work 7 hours straight and barely get a chance to pee.

Think how much you would YOU like it if your boss or client said "no coffee, no water, no nothing on MY time". Get over it.

Monday, December 03, 2007, 2:38 PM

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I dont see why you have such a problem with it. I mean if they were maybe having a burger or something & you're trying to lose weight then that's not cool. Otherwise, it's no biggie. Now on the socializing aspect, I agree. You paid for that hour, it should be all your. A quick hi to other members is fine but striking up a conversation with other on your time is a no no. I'd get a dif trainer is this was the problem but not because their sipping coffee!

Monday, December 03, 2007, 2:53 PM

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Why would you complain about behaviour that is having no effect on your gym experience? You're not even using one of these trainers. I think you need to focus a little more on your workout and your business. Glad I don't live or work next to a nosy parker like you.

Monday, December 03, 2007, 3:16 PM

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Wait...Do you use these trainers or not? Are just annoyed in general about what these trainers are doing on their or other people's time? What! That's crazy!!!

Monday, December 03, 2007, 4:23 PM

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OP here - as a POTENTIAL client I'm turned off by trainers eating and sipping their coffees as they're working with clients. It just seems unprofessional, and shouldn't trainers be immediately available to help, if necessary? That's all, and perhaps others are turned off, too, and they don't realize it may be affecting potential business. Lots of professionals are busy, busy people, but they don't eat while they're working with clients.

And if you're not getting bathroom breaks on the job, then perhaps drinking on the job isn't really a good idea to begin with!

Monday, December 03, 2007, 5:47 PM

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So, if they were eating a healthy salad, that would be okay?

I agree that it's unprofessional and not a good idea. If someone works with no breaks, ever, then that's a bad employer or a bad schedule.

Monday, December 03, 2007, 6:06 PM

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So seems the real issue is that trainers need regular breaks. If you're working for someone else, they are required to give you breaks, if not then the employers are breaking the law at least in my state. If they work independently, they need to schedule a short break in between clients. Lots of professionals work in 50 minute sessions.

Monday, December 03, 2007, 7:09 PM

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8 hours with no fluids and no bathroom breaks? Punishing someone further for the conditions that ALL gyms impose on their training staff?
I think you've been reading too much Oliver Twist. And maybe Mein Kampf.

Monday, December 03, 2007, 7:18 PM

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Why do you care? Is it the fact that they're drinking and eating in front of you? If it doesn't hinder the workout, what's the problem? So, would it be a problem if a trainer drank water then? Oh, but not on your time are they to ingest anything - ? I guess if you were to ever get a trainer, you should let them know up front that they know not to eat or drink anything on your time.

Sunday, March 30, 2008, 4:53 PM

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Question for pp, did you even READ the original post?

Sunday, March 30, 2008, 6:16 PM

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As an attorney, I'd certainly never eat while having a meeting with my clients- uless it was at a restaurant. I'm sure trainers may feel that the relaxed environment in which they work entitles them to be more casual, but I certainly don't view eating in front of their clients as professional.

Sunday, March 30, 2008, 7:15 PM

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OP here. It's funny this came up again. I just asked my girlfriend if her trainer at our gym ate or drank during sessions. She said no, but she asked him about it and found out that they had all recently been instructed to refrain from doing so - this following an incident where a trainer dropped their coffee when the client needed a quick spot.

I also took an opportunity to ask a couple of trainers - one of whom is published and trains celebrities - and the consensus was that it was outrageous. And, no, I'm not referring to water! Perhaps this all goes back to the idea that there are good trainers and not so good trainers...

Trainers can eat tacos during a session for all I care - I just won't give them my money! :)

Sunday, March 30, 2008, 8:28 PM

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So, drinking coffee during a session would deem someone a bad trainer - ? I can see unprofessional maybe, but if they were drinking coffee or eating a power bar and not paying attention when a client needed a spot...well, yes, that's more than unprofessional it's being neglient! It's all relative. If a trainer sipped on a protein drink or took a few bites of a protein bar maybe while walking across the gym with a client, what's wrong with that???

Monday, March 31, 2008, 10:10 AM

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Eating and Drinking. Really?

Here is something to be upset about. Did you know that in most states there are no real guidelines to be able to call yourself a 'Personal Trainer'? Some of these people are just some folks who like to workout and hang at the gym. They take some correspondence course or some kind of class scheduled at the gym they want to 'Train' at and they are on their way to causing permanant harm. No. I am not saying the ALL personal trainers are bad. What I am saying is before you hand over your hard earned money to these people find out how and where they became personal trainers. 'Certified'? By whom? I can give you a certificate for certified crap, it is still crap. Be aware.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 10:20 AM

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I think I can see both sides of this. I happen to know some trainers and I know they often have jam packed schedules, but they've also told me that a power bar isn't a full course meal, and you can scarf one down in between clients. I don't think I would mind a trainer drinking water during my session...somehow water seems to "fit" in the scene. But drinking coffee might be a little would just make me want to have one!! Besides, sitting there with a Dunkin Donuts cup just seems unprofessional and implies a lack of's just an impression thing, and maybe if you're looking to score new clients based on what they see you doing with someone else, you may be better off not doing it because you don't know who it will offend/cost you a client.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 10:33 AM

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10:10 - I don't think anyone said there's anything wrong with taking a few sips or bites as you walk across a gym, or even drinking water. It was the scenario of a trainer standing back, sipping coffee and/or eating, while their client is working out.

I think unprofessional and 'not so good' often go hand in hand - at least from a perception perspective. That's what separates your top-notch people from the others (in any profession.) And, as 10:33 pointed out - it could cost that person new clients - no matter how good or qualified they are.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 11:13 AM

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Eating and drinking while getting paid $$$ just to help someone workout - unprofessional.
C'mon - I used to coach - we had rules against that - We would break them once in a long while if the athletes were stretching after a long session or something, but it is just not cool in general -
Get one that doesn't do that... otherwise - who cares ?

Monday, March 31, 2008, 11:25 AM

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This does seem to vary person by person - here is my $0.02 -

Water and occasional power bar OK. I would also be OK with a coffee if I were the first client of the day as long as they wern't holding when they should be spotting me. If they don't get a break at all and have to eat a sandwhich or something like that during my session I would complain to the gym owner/manager that they need to allow their PT's a break.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 1:03 PM

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If a PT ate a sandwich over me I'd bite it right out of their hands then make up for the calories by running home!!!!!

Monday, March 31, 2008, 2:30 PM

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LOL!!!! Anyone who eats around me when I'm working deserves to have their food taken and gobbled up!!! hee hee hee

Monday, March 31, 2008, 2:36 PM

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I agree with some of the posts here. Personal trainers are often in training for something themselves, so they do need to eat every 2-3 hours. I do think they need to be discriminating about what they eat during a session, though. A couple of bites of a powerbar as the client is working out is not a big deal. Coffee or something that can be spilled (other than water in a water bottle) is not a good idea. Meals like baked sweet potatoes (a trainer favorite) is also not a good idea, lol.
It's also a matter of preference and style. Some trainers are just more casual and eat. Others are more "by the book" and don't. It's also a matter of the gym management. Some look the other way and others come down hard on trainers who engage in this kind of behavior.
I can tell you that if you're looking for a trainer who doesn't, interview some in that gym! You should do meet and greets when you're trying to find a trainer that fits your needs. If you feel really strongly about it just have that be one of the questions you ask them when you sit down with them. You can ask that right along with important questions such as what kind of certifications they have (you can ask to see them, also) and how long they've been certified. A good one is NASM- the National Academy of Sports Medicine. A trainer with an MA in exercise physiology is also good. Just keep in mind these trainers are usually at a higher price point.
Good luck!

Monday, March 31, 2008, 6:51 PM

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This is so interesting to me! I'm thinking about other professionals who might be in training - would it be professional for your massage therapist to eat during your massage? Your lawyer at your depostion? Your therapist snacking on her oat bran muffin during a session? It kind of makes me laugh just thinking about it.

I guess like someone else said - it's not a big enough deal to care that much about one way or the other. It's their image and if people are turned off - they'll just lose them as future clients!

Monday, March 31, 2008, 7:02 PM

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Yeah, it's funny to think that working out at a gym with a trainer is compared to going to a therapist or being at deposition with a lawyer...what? I can see the "unprofessional" image, but I think it goes beyond just sipping on coffee or eating a power's the trainer's behavior, attitude, appearance, demeanor, etc. If a trainer sips on coffee while they should be paying attention or spotting a client, wrong! If they sipped on a coffee at the same time their clients took a water break, then no big deal. Now come on, lol, and I did READ the original post by the way ms upscale gym goer. Did you forget what you wrote? ...and the fact that there's an ongoing conversation about it, did you not read any of the responses?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008, 7:51 PM

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2:03 that is funny
- totally reminds me of a time when I lived on the coast and a seagull on the crowded beach flew in and grabbed my 12' ham & cheese sub RIGHT OUT OF MY HAND and flew away with it - I was shocked - and down onto the sand it went... now no one is happy!

I know random... but that is the image I got of your gym bite moment... poor PT.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008, 9:39 PM

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7:51 - what ARE you talking about? lol

Wednesday, April 02, 2008, 10:40 PM

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I know... but seriously it was crazy ! ! That bird stole my giant sub out of my hand... that is what 2:30 is gonna do if anyone brings a snack near her in the gym... bite down and run...ha ha

wow I am really low on sleep and still at the office - sorry to ramble...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008, 11:10 PM

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9:39, I think that bird was an act of God -- that sandwich wasn't good for you! :-D

Weighing in after reading the thread, it does seem to me that a personal trainer needs to be paying close attention to his or her client in the same way that a psychotherapist or attorney needs to be paying attention when someone is talking to them. Your trainer should be spotting you on heavy weights, making sure that you are using correct and safe form with every repetition, etc. It seems to me that if you are past the point of needing close attention in your workout, you are probably past the point of needing a personal trainer. regularly.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008, 11:16 PM

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Go home 11:10! haha BTW - I can't envision a bird stealing a sub out of someone's hand without laughing. That is too, too funny. Of course, sometimes I wish I had a bird available to me to do just that - then I wouldn't need a personal trainer to help me work it all off! ha

Wednesday, April 02, 2008, 11:24 PM

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I am a PP who said "eh, whats the big deal if they have coffee or power bar" but THEN I saw a flyer at my YMCA for personal training last night. That is a LOT of money! They better be wolfing that coffee and powerbar down between clients and paying 100% attention to me for $80/hour!

Thursday, April 03, 2008, 10:59 AM

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Ha Ha - you guys are funny


Thursday, April 03, 2008, 11:46 AM

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