One of the many things a personal trainer has to be prepared for from day one is the amount of abuse they receive from clients. I even make it easy for my clients, they can reach me by email, text, Facebook or Twitter, so most of the time they never leave me alone. But am I complaining? No. The fact that they’re thinking about me all the time is a good thing, right?
The main reason for the abuse is something called DOMS. For those not already aware, this stands for delayed onset of muscle soreness and it’s the sensation we all experience occasionally – usually up to 48 hours after trying a new exercise or one you haven’t done for a while. The tightness is due to small tears in the muscle tissue which become inflamed. The repair process makes the tissue develop so you can cope with the change in activity.
Some people dread the DOMS and some people crave it. Either way, we’ve all had it more than once, even after a lengthy session of gardening. So it’s no big surprise that when I start training someone new or I introduce a few different exercises, the result is going to be uncomfortable for a while. In fact, if I wasn’t helping to create a few sore muscles here and there I’d be seriously reviewing my techniques.
When I start out with someone new I always warn them that they will, almost certainly, be a little sore the following day. Usually, new clients are far too polite or don’t know me well enough to text me the next day when they can’t walk down the stairs. However, when I hit my long-standing clients with something new or take things up a notch, the following day my phone is red hot. The results of this can be some very entertaining messages which, when read out of context, can be a little baffling. If ever my phone gets stolen and the thief decides to scroll through my texts, I don’t want to begin to think about what would go through their mind. Take a look at these …
“I know I said can we do some more for my bum but wow! It now hurts to sit down and don’t even talk to me about sitting on the toilet.”
“My daughter had to wash my hair this morning because I couldn’t lift my arms above my shoulders.”
“My wife keeps laughing at me because she says it looks like someone has stolen my motorbike.”
“Today is the first day I can walk without looking like my grandma.”
Or how about this one I got from a client’s husband (who I also train):
“I rolled over this morning in bed for a little cuddle with my wife and she screamed at me to get off. Apparently it hurts too much and it has something to do with you.”
Having said all that, I do get nice messages too when a client achieves a goal and that’s what really makes my job worthwhile. Many people have been coming back week after week for many years, so I must be doing something right.
Paul Mumford is a personal trainer, writer and broadcaster. He owns the Mumford Phys. Ed. training company in Essex. www.mumfordphysed.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Fitness Professionals Ltd or Virtual Magazine. Consult a qualified health or fitness professional before making changes to your diet or exercise.