The 3 Worst Kinds of Fitness Pros

I am fed up with barely qualified people dishing out fitness advice to the general public.  I get so angry when someone, who doesn't know a quadricep from a bicep , earnestly tells their audience that if they just do what they say they'll find salvation and a whole new body.  Frequently this involves buying their fabulous product.

Below are the three worst kinds of "fitness pros."  I use the term loosely. Hot Bod: This "trainer" is gorgeous, a former jock or wanna-be model. They are hired for their looks, not their talent or certifications. They only work in "bleeding-edge" health clubs and spend more time looking at themselves in the mirror than their clients.
  • Uniform: Anything skimpy, the less the better, must show off boooty.
  • Poster Child: Rebecca Cardon from Bravo's Work Out. Her bio talks extensively about her fitness career but doesn't actually mention a certification.
BootCamp Bully:  A former army or marine guy who "looks" the part.  Bootcamps are one of the most popular forms of fitness these days and these guys may or may not be qualified to teach effective bootcamps.  There are definitely great programs out there, but there are a lot of bad ones too.  Just because you survived bootcamp as a jarhead doesn't mean you have an inkling how to keep a client safe while their doing squat thrusts, lunges and pushups.
  • Uniform:  Anything Camo.
  • Poster child: Barry Jay from Barry's Bootcamp.  His bio mentions that he started as front desk staff at a health club, but doesn't mention any certifications to speak of ...
Wanna-Be Reality Star: These blokes think that screaming at clients and standing on them while they are in precarious positions is the best way to train.  If the client isn't crying or puking they are not working them hard enough.  Workouts are frequently punctuated by evil laughter.  Why bother studying anatomy texts when you can just copy those cool moves on TV.  In private, they practice their poses for the front of their best-selling fitness DVDs.  
  • Required Uniform: Close fitting Tshirts with inspirational words on them:
  • Poster Child: I have to say it's a toss-up between Bob Harper and Jillian Michael's from the Biggest Loser, but I'm going to give it to Jillian for her endorsement of diet pills.  She is now facing lawsuits because of it.
I would love your comments here ... what type of fitness pro would you like to train with? Here are my thoughts about becoming a fitness pro. Thanks, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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69 Responses to The 3 Worst Kinds of Fitness Pros

  1. Bridget April 15, 2010 at 11:23 pm #

    Do you know what I say about so-called experts? “They don’t know what they don’t know.” But they do know how to sell.

    In my business we call it “Hope In A Jar”. Science, baby, wins the day every time. So consumers need to ask….”Exactly WHO is this person promising me the world?”

    Sadly, a lot of consumers buy into “snake-oil” and “quick fixes”, only to find failure.

    Why do these methods fail? Because human bodies are complex beings full of gentetic eccentricities that lead an existance dealing with aging,temptation, stress, and pollutants.

    A Boot Camp, Sexy Video or a Jar of Snake Oil will not effect true change.

  2. Nancy Greco April 16, 2010 at 12:42 am #

    I wish personal training was regulated somehow. I have been a professional trainer for over 15 years and I have 4 training certifications as well as two bachelor degrees and I get so frustrated when these fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants people blow into the gym and hustle and flatter and “stretch” and “massage” their way into people’s lives and the people fall for it…until they either get injured or hit up for favors or money…and I am not kidding. The larger problem for career trainers is that these clients will likely never hire or trust a personal trainer again and the whole profession is brought down.

  3. Tracy Maurstad April 16, 2010 at 3:08 am #

    I had a great trainer in Chicago, Rob Fulton. Degreed, highly qualified (CSCS), motivational. He knew his stuff. Before finding Rob a hip flexor injury had me in constant pain for almost 3 years. He got me pain-free in about 6 weeks, and kept me healthy for several years.

    When I moved to Vegas I went in search of his replacement. I found a trainer who advertised a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and a specialty for dealing with injuries. What luck! Except it was all lies. After training with him for a couple of months my old injury started to re-ignite and about then a co-worker of his asked if I knew that my trainer didn’t even have a college degree, much less a Master’s and had NO personal trainer certification. When confronted he insisted his credentials were as advertised but confessed when pressed for proof.

    So look for qualified professionals, your health may depend on it, and ask to see their documentation. Someone truly credentialed will be proud to show you that piece of paper!

  4. Lisa Johnson April 16, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    Woah Tracy! What an awful experience. That’s about as bad as I can think of. I hope you reported him to the management and had him fired immediately. That’s just outright fraud.

    Nancy, I so agree with you. There are weekend certifications for “Pilates” and these bozos will give a client a workout, hurt their back and then the person goes out into the world and tells their friends “Pilates hurts your back,” when the opposite is true if you’re with a highly-certified instructor. I hear that response at least a couple of times a year, and that’s just the ones I hear. I always offer that person a free session on the spot to show them it’s not true, but in the 14 years I’ve been training no one ever took me up on it. They were too scared to try again. It infuriates me.


  5. Laura Petrolino April 16, 2010 at 7:57 am #

    I can’t tell you how true this article is. I get so that I avoid going to the gym at certain time because trainers annoy me so much. These poor trainers only serve to accomplish a few things (none of which should be their ultimate goal)

    a) Injure their clients
    b) Boost their own egos
    c) Scare people away from a fitness lifestyle because they create the impression that true fitness is only achieved by doing deadlifts standing on a stability ball

    If you are going to be a fitness pro, your goal should be to motivate and encourage your clients to improve their health and life, and take ownership of their fitness program…not further inflate your own oversized, steroid induced muscle head ego

  6. Lisa Johnson April 16, 2010 at 8:26 am #


    LOL, deadlifts on a stability ball … now that I’d like to see. But not actually with a trainer and a client! Thanks so much for the comment :-)

  7. Jenn Givler April 16, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    UGH. I couldn’t agree more Lisa.

    I have an 85 year old client right now who has a multitude of issues – a few being: her legs are VERY unstable due to lack of muscle tone and one leg being 6 inches longer than the other, her balance is terrible, and she can have bouts of bad vertigo. However, she wants to build up her leg strength and increase her stamina a bit so that she doesn’t get so winded walking her dog.

    The last trainer she had slapped 5 lb. ankle weights on her and made her walk around the track for 45 minutes… UNSUPERVISED. OMG. I was heart-broken.

  8. Kendra Kroll April 16, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    great post, Lisa. My husband (phD in Electical Engineering)has been working out since he was 12 (now 42) and built a wealth of knowledge over the years about healthy habits for diet & exercise. When the economic climate forced a gear-switch last year, he chose to pursue certification and received his with ACE, and subsequently started training people at our gym. Despite several of his clients saying he was the best trainer they ever had (after having been with dozens of others), he was basically forced out after several months as the company would not answer the Q if he was covered for liability*. And maybe he wasn’t the greatest “salesman” in selling memberships. So, this highly educated, qualified and respected trainer had no choice but to resign, and sees to this day the kind of trainers that seem to populate many of these positions…ones who say things like “this is for your front part” while working a client on a lat pull down machine.

    *the company frowned on him asking clients about medical issues and having them consult with their doctors prior to starting a program (as is require by certificaton standards),hence his concern about the liability in the first place

  9. Dustin | Engaged Marriage April 16, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    I totally agree with your points and examples here, Lisa. I have encountered several of the first two variety, but the ones that really chap me are the “Wanna-Be Reality Stars.” I think your examples of Bob and (especially) Jillian are spot on, and it’s scary that they represent “the example” to a large number of both trainers and clients.

    I prefer a trainer who is down-to-earth, relatable and knowledgeable about what is good for my body and my fitness goals.

  10. Lisa Johnson April 16, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Hi Kendra,

    OMG, “working on your front part” wow … that’s pretty bad. You can let your husband know that he should get his own liability insurance though. You can get it through IDEA Fit (also a great organization to join) and it’s about $200 per years. Every trainer should have their own insurance, it’s much safer than relying on someone else to protect you. And maybe he should try another gym or home based clients? A good web site and some google ads can get his business off the ground.

  11. Lisa Johnson April 16, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    Jenn, what a horrible story about your client. The poor thing. 6″ is such a dramatic difference, almost like working two different bodies! Single leg work on the Reformer would be great, or really any kind of single leg work.

    Dustin, thanks for your comments and I have to say the Hot Bod ones are the worst to work with. You want to smack ’em sometimes for being so self-involved. This is a helping profession, we are first and foremost here for the clients, not for ourselves :-)

    Thanks for all the great comments,


  12. tara - scoutie girl April 16, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    You go girl! I’m very put off by the “famous” trainers on tv, mostly the ones that fall squarely into these three categories. If this is all that’s out there, why would I want to enlist a personal trainer to help me reach my goals?

    I’m most intrigued by the more well rounded (literally & metaphorically) celebrities who share their “for real” trainers with the world. I’m thinking particularly of Martha Stewart who often brings on her trainer who seems to train the whole person and not just the “weakling” trying to skinny in less than a week.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

  13. Wendy Maynard April 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Hi Lisa,

    I have never worked with a trainer before so I appreciate this post. Since I am not familiar with the fitness industry, I didn’t know anything about the certifications and could have easily fallen prey to these so-called trainers’ advice.

    When I am looking at fitness blogs and websites, I will be certain to look more carefully at their bios and credentials. What should I look for in particular to know that someone actually knows what they are talking about?

    Thanks, Wendy

  14. Eppie @ Better Parenting April 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    The big problem (as I see it) is that the average person doesn’t know what makes a good personal trainer vs a bad one. The result is that the ‘hot bodies’ are automatically assumed to know what they’re doing. You end up thinking, “I want to look like her, so of course I’ll trust her methods… it’s how she got her body to look like that, right?” Forget the fact that we’re genetically predisposed to be different shapes…

    Then, despite the bad training, they don’t want to speak up because they don’t really know any better.

    I will say that for myself, I want a trainer who’s going to push me really hard and not let me cop out when things get hard (a little Boot Camp-ish). You don’t need to belittle me, but you should definitely challenge me to work harder than I probably want to.

    I’ll agree that a “hot body” trainer who can’t stop admiring himself would be the worst. I don’t find any joy in paying an attractive person to largely ignore me.

  15. Lisa Johnson April 16, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    Tara, thanks so much for your comments. Trainers that take holistic approaches are usually much more effective than the “six-pack” trainers. Looks are nice but health is everything.

    Wendy, 2 national certs that I like are NSCA and ACSM. Both require extensive knowledge of anatomy and have a lot of hands on training to them. They are far beyond the basic weekend certifications that are around in droves. And please, don’t ever go to anyone with only an on-line cert. It’s ridiculous that they even exist? How can you learn to work with a client if you don’t even have to step foot in a gym?

    Other good people to look for are people with actual college degrees. There are a few colleges offering degrees in personal training now as it’s own discipline which is cool. But the more standard approach is to take exercise physiology or kinesiology, both are disciplines where you study the intricate details of the human body. I also like occupational therapists, they are very holistic in their approach and really understand the kinetic chain.

    Hope that helps :-)


  16. Lisa Johnson April 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    I’ll agree that a “hot body” trainer who can’t stop admiring himself would be the worst. I don’t find any joy in paying an attractive person to largely ignore me. ~ Eppie

    LOL, yes I agree with that statement for sure :-)

    And I also agree that the biggest problem is it’s very hard to discern good training from bad training if you don’t know any better. But like Tracy said earlier. She was lucky and started with a really good trainer, she realized quickly that when she got to a 2nd trainer the quality was severely lacking. And some bootcamp people are great! The push you hard and work you safely.

    I’d say that’s really the ideal of any trainer, there’s no reason to pay us good money if we’re not pushing you past the point you would push yourself. But we are also morally responsible for keeping you safe from harm and not pushing you too far.

    So Eppie, if you’re ever in Boston I’ll be happy to kick you butt! I’ve been accused more than once of having a sadistic streak. But I do always keep my clients safe … ;-)

  17. Rolf April 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Hi Lisa, been enjoying your blog. I think biggest issue is when you walk into a gym and the so called expert trainer is a twenty something ex-competive sports person. Never been out of shape – never lived on airplane and hotel food – worked seventy hour weeks, kids etc.

    I’d much prefer a forty something that is truely an example and has been around. Not mention proper training.

    As for myself, I started a training program last fall which has resolved several serious issues for me. If you are interested I can detail what I believe are the most useful aspects.

  18. Lisa Johnson April 16, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    Rolf my cousin Rolf!? Hi! Sure, let me know what has happened and how you’ve worked through it. You can do it here or just email me :-) (prolly through FaceBook is safest).

    Very cool, you’re my first family comment! Say hi to everyone for me :-)

  19. Diane April 17, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    Wow – these comments are really illuminating. I find it really hard to comprehend that bad trainers can exist in our generally well-ordered society. Given the power they have to hurt or help people you’d really think that there’d be more regulation.

    I wondered – the company I trained with has a website where certified members are listed when they finish (not self-listing). This is a good way to double-check certification, does that exist for any of the companies you mentioned?

    One thing I’m discovering just recently talking to friends is that there are trainers out there that may be good/certified, but are working for gyms that push them to meet targets and so they, in turn, push their clients further than safe. I hate to think that this might be common, but no doubt it is – grounds for another post on choosing a reputable gym maybe?

    Great post Lisa!

  20. Lisa Johnson April 17, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    There are definitely some gyms out there that “push” their trainers for Biggest Loser types of results and they’re not being realistic. Those people work out 6 hours a day and sleep the rest of the time. They do nothing else, no jobs, no kids, no other obligations. They’re in a bubble.

    I’d like to think those gyms are few and far between, but honestly, I don’t know … I work in a gym that only hires people with either college degrees in the field or with very high levels of certifications and we all get very, very effective results.

    I hope I won’t have to write that blog post, but if I do, I’m going to name names …


  21. Andrea April 17, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    You are quite right there are many companies and programmes out there which are run by people who do not have appropriate qualifications. In our days it’s so easy to call yourself a personal trainer without being accredited by the Fitness Industry Association.

    Many boot camps might offer good value prices but may not have qualified trainers and while being active with unqualified trainers might still help ypou to get in shape it also posses serious health and injury risks. I would recommend everyone to check with their personal trainer whether they are accredited.

    I also would like to add that similar ‘rules’ apply to nutrition advice. I am a registered nutritionist and need to apply certain ethical and industry standards while I advice clients on healthy eating. Moreover I need to study certain topics to gain this accreditation, but I can assure you there are many people out there which call themself a nutritionist without reasonable qualifications. While I am not saying that those people may not advice you to their best of knowledge and some of them might even know quite well what reasonable diet advice would be some of them might give advice which could cause serious longterm harm.

  22. David Johnson April 17, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    As somebody who may be looking for a personal trainer what would be the opposite of this post? What certifications should I be looking for? Of course, I don’t know one certification from the other but I’d like to know what to look for, now that I know what NOT to look for.

    Great post by the way, thank you for the input. I think I’ll have to check back more often!

  23. Lisa Johnson April 17, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    My favorite was a personal trainer who told me to eat no protein during the day and then eat a big steak just before going to bed so the protein would be “available to regrow muscles” I wasn’t in the fitness industry then but I knew it was a ridiculous thing to say … thanks for the comments Andrea :-)

  24. Lisa Johnson April 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    ACSM and NSCA are good national certifications, anyone with a degree such as kinesiology or exercise physiology is great! If you’re unsure if the person has proper credentials just ask ’em and look it up when you get home. It’s easy to tell if the certs are any good. If it’s an online only cert, don’t bother … hope that helps.

  25. David Johnson April 17, 2010 at 8:21 pm #


    That does help, of course I’ve always been a good judge of character, or at least I think I am (LOL), and I think that just by spending some time with them I could get a good feel if they are passionate about what they do. After all passion is infectious and I know that in order to get into shape then I need somebody who is as passionate about helping me as I am about getting into shape.

  26. Lisa Johnson April 17, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    Ask them to name the 4 quadricep muscles, if they can do it without hesitating then their anatomy geeks and that’s always a good sign … LOL

    BTW they’re the Vastus Medialis, Intermedius and Lateralis and finally the Rectus Femoris.

  27. David Johnson April 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    Now THAT’S sound advice! I’ll ask it and tell you what they say. LOL

  28. Susan Sommers April 18, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Ask them to name the 4 quadricep muscles, if they can do it without hesitating then their anatomy geeks and that’s always a good sign … LOL (Very good advise, Lisa)

    A Personal Trainer I know told me “once you pass your test(I was studying for my Pilates Certification) you will never need to use Anatomy again”. She also proudly told me that she past her test by the skin of her teeth. Normally I’m not not at a loss for words, but I was speechless.

    They do walk among us and get paid for it! Potential clients need to be better educated. This is a blog that continually needs to be circulated.

  29. Lisa Johnson April 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm #


    There was this girl I interviewed once and her erector spinae were as thick as my thumb! I couldn’t figure out why until I saw her do the hundred. She remained in neutral the whole time and just gutted it hard with her erec. spin. didn’t use her abs all that much … I was horrified … she’s been working for years, still is.


  30. Susan Sommers April 19, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Funny you should mention the hundreds Lisa. I watched this same instructor that I mentioned (she’s a Personal Trainer not Pilates) while she had her client do the hundreds or shall I say her version of it. In neutral and no breathing. The client looked like a bird who was trying to take flight but had broken wings.

  31. Michelle Quillin April 19, 2010 at 9:40 am #


    I’m so glad I read this blog post this morning! I’m starting that Pilates program I was supposed to start last Monday (ummm…), and I’m throwing in Yoga, too. I have chronic back pain now from spondylolisthesis and need to do what every physical therapist I’ve ever had told me to do: get — and keep — my core nice and strong.

    I’m going to the YMCA, and I wasn’t going to ask any questions. I figured if the Y hires them, they’re good to go! Now I’m not so sure!

    I’ll call ahead today and ask about each instructor.

    Michelle Quillin, for New England Multimedia & Q Web Consulting

  32. Bethany April 19, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    I thought about you when I read this post by Donald Miller.

    It’s scary how a bad experience with a bad trainer can turn people completely away from any sort of exercise.

  33. Lisa Johnson April 19, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    Michelle, please email me for referrals to someone in your area. I know lots of peeps in Boston. I can make sure you get to a good person :-) Lisa

  34. small business grants April 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  35. Lisa Johnson April 19, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    Thanks Paul :-)

  36. Susan April 20, 2010 at 10:55 am #


    Your post is a great reminder to research the “experts” we hire, in our personal and professional lives.

    As coaches, we often see clients at their most vulnerable moments and I think that vulnerability often leads them to make impulsive decisions, rushing without proper due diligence into hiring an expert.

    Blogs like yours help elevate the profession and provide potential customers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.


  37. Lisa Johnson April 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    Susan, well said, thank you :-) L–

  38. Jim Raffel April 21, 2010 at 8:26 am #


    In general I look for real people, with an authentic story and a sustainable desire to do what they are doing. Most of this celeb trainers have grander plans than helping the people they say they are trying to help.

    In my life I am learning that helping others and giving of yourself always pays the biggest unexpected dividends.

    Cheers and keep writing posts that ask why? I love it. All the fun is in the why.


  39. smartstartcoach April 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

    Hey Lisa!

    Another great post — thanks for sharing your thoughts. To answer your question, what I want in a personal trainer is a person who doesn’t pretend to know what they don’t know and who is secure enough in their professional expertise to say so.

    With effort and the right personal trainer, great things can happen. But hook up with the wrong person and serious damage can be done. Who wants to pay for that?

    Linda M. Lopeke

    PS Keep up the great work!

  40. Alicia B. April 22, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    Yes! These 3 types of “professionals” annoy me to no end, and they send a horrible message to people who are seeking education and help.

    I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about injuries during boot camps. A past co-worker of mine signed up for one before her wedding, though she never worked out before in her life. The bootcamp bully had her doing bicep curls with 25lb weights! TWENTY FIVE! This is a girl who never touched a dumb bell before in her life. She told me she hurt her back because she was swinging back and forth during the reps.

    My first experience with a trainer was awful, too. But instead of give up on fitness, I sought out another trainer. And he was awesome. While the first guy had me lifting heavy — and I quote — “just cuz,” my second trainer started off with stability and working on my form. That just made sense to me.

    So, I say to people — if it doesn’t make sense, don’t do it! Don’t take that silly Jillian-endorsed diet pill. You know she didn’t get fit herself taking that junk. And don’t sign up for bootcamps taught by somebody you don’t know or who isn’t certified. And on top of all of it, don’t seek the help of a Brazilian model wannabe who got the job because of her genes.

    — Alicia
    @leximaven on Twitter

  41. Lisa Johnson April 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    Alicia, thanks for the comments, 25 pound bicep curls is ridiculous! No wonder the poor thing hurt her back. Beware bootcamp certifications in general though, a lot of them are one or two day classes. Try to do your research to find experienced people. Someone with a good background will have their resume online somewhere so you can see it. L–

  42. Our Healthier Living April 24, 2010 at 7:21 am #

    Very interesting topics.I am looking this type of topics, I need more informations because everyone knows “Health is wealth” is very much known to all and everyone wants good health.That means no one wants to leave this wealth. So, Let us build a food habit discipline, keep pace with work, rest and or exercise to Achieve good health, The ultimate wealth.

  43. Anthony April 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    I thought about you when I read this post by Donald Miller.

    It’s scary how a bad experience with a bad trainer can turn people completely away from any sort of exercise.

  44. Lisa Johnson April 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

    Warren and Anthony, thank you for your thoughts, glad you liked the post :-) L–

  45. tommyismyname April 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    I’ve known trainers in the past who have neither looked the part, or fit any of these profiles, but damn it did they know their stuff!

    What a quality trainer really needs is the way to motivate you, and give you a routine that works, and that is fun for you. Personalization is the name of the game, and I guess if you want to play on obvious “people who want to loose weight” sterotypes then these archtypes work, but really, it’s not sustainable, they will eventually be exposed for the snake oil they are, and will be replaced by the next “fitness fad”

  46. Melissa May 4, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Great post. As a publicist for fitness pros, I can tell you the mainstream media isn’t doing America any favors. Most will choose to promote an uncertified expert with an A-list client over a PhD any day.

  47. Lisa Johnson May 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Melissa, thanks for the comment. I’m quite sure you’re right and that is one of the reasons I have this blog. To try to be the “voice of reason” in a crazy industry over run with hucksters and opportunists … :-) L–

  48. Rita @ The Giggly Bits May 7, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Thanks for that Lisa. As someone who is going through a very extensive 2 year program before attempting their national certification it drives me a bit crazy when people who take a weekend course try and train people.

    There is way to much at stake to hand your body over to an under qualified weekend warrior. I didn’t realize how prevalent this problem was until I became more involved in the industry.

    Thank you for bringing this to people’s attention.

  49. Lisa Johnson May 7, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    Rita thanks for your comments. I 100% agree! Lisa

  50. RudolfB May 17, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this, Lisa. It is indeed quite dangerous to fall into the hands of a would-be trainer. A friend of mine experienced this and he got seriously injured. Couldn’t work for months.


  51. Lisa Johnson May 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    RudolfB that’s awful to hear about it. Hope he’s ok now …

  52. Jorja White June 14, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Lisa, Gotta love a woman who can kick ass in the gym (with certification) and kick it on a blog as well! I know nothing about fitness, but I certainly have bought my share of video tapes (Jane Fonda, Billy somebody Tybo guy, Daisy Fuentes Pilates…) and DVDs over the years. Trust me, if I had the money, I would hire my friend Susan Finely who is a certified trainer at our gym to whip my butt into shape. Especially after hearing your scathing review of those who are not qualified! You go get ’em!

  53. Lisa Johnson June 14, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Well thanks Jorja, I try to keep my industry honest … there’s a lot of “fluffing” of resumes out there … :-)

  54. ASJ June 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Of course, Lisa, your thoughts are right on target.
    I like having certified personal trainers at the gym to help with proper machine usage, as well as being able to ask a few quick questions.
    Keep up the good work–we love getting the right advice from a pro.

  55. muffintopmommy July 29, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    I love my trainer. She always explains why we’re doing a certain exercise, which muscles it works out, and is encouraging but expects me to push myself. I’ve been slowly but surely getting in much better shape by following the workout plans she’s designed for me. I loathe Jillian!!! I actually blogged about her a few months ago:

    Anyway, keep up the great work. Your blog is really helpful!

  56. Susan July 29, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    Wow I had no idea about Jillian and the lawsuit. Geez. I really like her workout style though, and feel it makes a lot of sense. I mean, many people struggling with working out need that push, even if it means getting yelled at.

    But maybe I just need to explore other workouts, ‘famous’ trainers too. Maybe there are better ones than her? Any recommendations?

  57. lorrie July 29, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    I would say Bob is good trainer he has a site that helps others and answers questions he seems to truely care about others help and his persona off screen is better than his BL one.

    I used to love doing pilates because I would watch Denise Austin on TV and do her workouts she had this tone of encouragement and she was understanding and she made the movement easy to understand and fun. I’m just sad that lifetime took the show off the air

  58. Scott July 31, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    I completely disagree with all above comments and your horrible blog post. I have been trained by Rebecca personally. She was nothing but professional, exceptional, and knowledgeable. As a former NAVY SEAL, I’ve been through a plethora of workouts of all styles. I was completely spent and totally satisfied with my purchase.
    I’m sure the other two you insecurely trashed on your precious blog are sufficiently capable. Sounds like someone is completely jealous of success. Sad…

  59. Lisa Johnson July 31, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for your comment. As you might guess I completely disagree. There are many forms of success and I’m quite happy where I am, thank you. I’m glad you found the training helpful for you.

    Be well,


  60. Marty July 31, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Hey Lisa,

    I would agree with you and would probably add in a few more categories. One thing that frustrates me are trainers who think that because something worked for them, it will work for anybody. Workouts and long range training plans need to be individualized. In my personal experience, this has been my worst experience.

    Another thing that I really don’t care for is when a trainer doesn’t actually care about my success. When they are just doing their job and aren’t pushing me, it is a big turn off for me.

    As a former Green Beret, I realize that I am no Navy SEAL, but I worked with enough of them to know that most of them are more professional and can actually argue with facts and not personal attacks.

    And I would not define success as either “riches” or “fame”, but that’s just this one little Special Forces soldier.


  61. Lisa Johnson July 31, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    Marty, you’re lovely … thank you :-)

  62. K9 Coach August 1, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    I must say it is interesting out there these days. All the sudden everyone’s some type of professional trainer.

    I live sort of the same deal in the dog training world and have specialized in canine fitness as well as have certification as an HHP, National Academy of Sport Fitness (for people), trained and learned along side many of the best triathlon coaches in the world, and the dog training academies and certifications are numerous… and yet, I deal with so many stories of training gone bad by those who have either lost a corporate job or “like dogs” and hang a professional trainer sign up and go for it… the client didn’t know the difference and not only did they waste their hard earned money, but in many cases made their dog problems worse.

    So believe me, I live your frustration with training and “trainers” only in the dog world :)

    Authenticity makes a difference. Love your stuff. Keep putting it out there :)

    Wag more!

  63. Lisa Johnson August 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Thanks K9, I very much appreciate the comments and support. I imagine lots of people in customer service areas have similar complaints. From bartenders to nutritionists to yoga instructors. In most places you can just “declare” yourself capable and start accumulating clients. For better or worse for them …

    Thanks for stopping by,


  64. Jamie Sanford August 16, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    I was really sad to see Jillian Michaels promoting diet pills. (Or “supplements” as they are called? Whatever.)

    I have never been into The Biggest Loser but have caught a show here and there, and it always seemed great that they were promoting the classic method of diet and exercise. It’s disappointing that JM is seemingly letting money influence her.

  65. Lisa Johnson August 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    Jamie I agree. I also think she has a higher bar than most trainers because she is such a public figure. I think she owes her audience and fans more. L–

  66. K9 Coach November 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    I’ve commented here before but it is certainly a subject that I strong opinion about.

    It is sad to me that the world is selling out to greed. As a self employed person for about 25 years now, one of the things that I have found that works is to get really good at what you do and stay true to it.

    Jillian and the diet pills. Very sad. Very much selling out to make the big dollars. The message that those who want to or need to lose weight can be done with support, with the right kind of diet and the right kind of exercise is such a great message. Your site and your message portray that loud and clear.

    The selling out to make big dollars has a huge price and the side of this that is coming out is Jillian is finding this out with lawsuits etc.

    Thank you for staying true to what you do, doing it well and genuinely helping people. The rewards come monetarily as well as in self aspiration, passion, and the joy of knowing the world is better place because of you.

  67. Lisa Johnson November 16, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    K9, gosh thanks for the compliment I really appreciate it. I do think Jillian found a vocation that she loves the problem is she confused “time in a gym” with having a high level of knowledge on training. Unfortunately it’s not that simple, you can’t learn anatomy in a gym by lifting weights, you need to sit your bum down and study. You can’t learn good form in a gym either, have you ever watched people training in a gym? It’s rare that someone has good form! Thanks and I appreciate your comments.


  68. belly fat June 30, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    I agree that not so qualified trainers should not be misleading the general public and just advertising. Nice article getting straight to the point.

  69. JoAnn September 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Funny, my trainer is a hot body, military vet and former law enforcement. He’s also certified in both training and nutrition and is one of the most knowledgable people I’ve ever worked with. I read a lot and then he gets the questions–he always has the answers. He challenges me physically, is more concerned about my well-being and safety than I am, and makes me see that I can do more than I ever thought I could. He belief in me and ability to motivate has been life changing. On a side note, he’s funny and kind…there is never any yelling or tough guy stuff.

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