Men and women performing aerobic exercises CDC/ Amanda Mills acquired from Public Health Image Library (Website)

Gym managers and trainers always seem to get a bit excited this time of the year. Gyms become packed with clients looking to make good on their New Year’s resolutions to get fit and #gym, and the dollars start pouring in. But despite the added source of income, there is a dark side behind the smiles and motivational posters. Read on and delve into the inner thoughts of a trainer's mind during the December-January months.

Every year it’s the same thing. Mid-way through December the squat racks start emptying and the treadmills go into low power mode. The committed few stay and train in between family events and new year hangovers. The gym is a peaceful place, filled with respectful members training away to the sounds of clanging metal and smashing rubber plates.

Until it begins. Your manager tells you to bump up the adverts and start offering training packages. The price of gym memberships and ActiveWear fall. Protein becomes a buzzword and everyone thinks you’re ‘shredding for summer’.

They come in flocks. In herds. Like a wildfire, they spread everywhere. Curling in the squat racks. Breaking the treadmills. Leaving dumbbells everywhere. Doing some functional/power/yoga/CrossFit training program that takes up the whole gym. And the worst of all. The individuals that think they know better than the trainer.


The new year’s resolution-ists have arrived.

No one is mean to them at the start. You empathise with them. Remember how scary it was the first day you started training? That couple squatting twice your bodyweight. The real loud guy screaming all the time. The really cold steel of the bench press.

So you go up and ask if they mind if you gave them a tip on the bench, or say, “hey, I noticed you're struggling there on the leg press machine.” But they don’t listen. They just go to YouTube or the page of some insta-celebrity and follow them.

And then there are those who see your ad on the wall or see you training. They approach you and organise a time for a “couple of sessions to get them started”.

As a gym trainer, you get excited and think, "yes, hopefully I can teach this individual the ways of the barbell and make them understand the beauty of training".

But then they say:

I don’t like this exercise.

I don’t want to give up McDonald’s.

Oh, it gets worse.

Why aren’t I losing weight?

Why does my back hurt?

You respond professionally, with courtesy, and with all intentions to keep them motivated.

"Have you been doing the stretches I designed for you? Did you replace your pasta with veggies? Don’t worry, we will work on this."

Eventually they just stop showing up. Some even go as far as to write you a bad review or complain to your manager.

But it’s not always that bad. There are a select few who listen to your every word and text you questions on the way home because they ‘just remembered’. There are the ones who understand that when they gain a kilo or the deadlift doesn’t go up, it’s not your fault. It’s theirs. But again, they stayed for a reason.

So don’t fret. The hordes and flocks will be gone soon, but the elite few who truly want to get fit will remain.

Themistocles works as a Personal trainer in Ultimo, Sydney. As a Communications undergraduate, he hopes to contribute to the 'body image' discourse and work as a health journalist in the future.