Why I Used to Prefer Personal Training Women

Featured image photo credit: Model: Robin Kennedy. Photographer: Darcie Kennedy
MONDAY: 6:30pm.

Actually my story starts at 6:28 as I finish up with a client. He’s a stock trader and the markets hadn’t been kind to him that day so he asked that we “go easy.”  He’s the boss, so we foam rolled and did some mobility work followed by 20 minutes of light weights before concluding the session with 10 minutes of PNF stretches.

6:28pm — I finish up stretching him as my gaze turns to the floor.

There she is, finishing up her mobility sequence so we can start right at 6:30. Just then my 5:30 tells me he has to cancel his session later that week — this makes me late.

I rush back onto the floor, protein shake in hand, at 6:33 and find her adjusting the pins on the squat rack.

“How much do we do for a warm-up set?” She asks.

“Leave it empty. Hammer out 3-4 with the bar so I can see your form.”

No complaints, no excuses, and homework done. She smashes her squats and deadlifts with perfect form. Next up is close grip bench press supersetted with pinch-grip lunges. The session finishes with good mornings supersetted with a nasty seated calf raise circuit.

She’s a personal trainer’s dream. Come to think of it. All of my female clients were a personal trainer’s dream.

This got me thinking how much I preferred personal training women. As it turns out, there are some very real reasons why, as a general statement, females make better clients.

1.  They want it more.

It’s more acceptable for men to be overweight then women. It’s not fair, but it’s true. Out of shape men hold high profile positions in every single industry. They mayor of Toronto (Rob Ford) is grossly obese. No part of the scrawny Mark Zuckerberg has ever been near a dumbbell rack. We celebrate men’s achievements in politics and business and don’t put too much stead into how they look.

Conversely, open any tabloid magazine and you see Michelle Obama and her famous arms or the modellesque Ivanka Trump. Rarely are women publically celebrated for their achievements in the media. Even when they are, comments inevitably follow mentioning how ripped their arms looked in their dress as they gave a brilliant speech.

The effect is that women are hungrier and it shows during their workouts. They make fewer excuses and they’ll train until they drop. Women justifiably feel that they are being judged all day on their appearance. When a man leaves the room it’s rare that his buddies talk about how he let himself go behind his back. With women, this is the case all too often.

Post by Personal Trainer Development Center.

2.  They Have a Higher Pain Tolerance

I’ve never given birth (nor do I intend to) but I can only imagine what it feels like. I don’t know whether women’s higher threshold for pain stems from evolutionary adaptation or maybe the higher pain tolerance is a result of the above point of wanting it more.

From my limited vantage point I’ve also noticed that women seem to have more health problems. Beyond the obviously monthly misery, they also seem to get sick more and are more prone to internal problems.

The reason for a higher pain tolerance doesn’t matter — it’s there.

At times when a man would be lying on the floor pleading “no more” a woman would pick herself up and ask what’s next.

Pain is in the brain. Actual physical damage has little to no correlation to how much pain a personal feels — it’s actually determined by how our brain interprets these signals. This is a complicated process, but it’s largely dependent on memories and perceptions of previous experiences.

For fear of getting too off topic my hypothesis is this: Women experience more pain over the course of their lifetime. Their brains are more adept at recognizing potentially harmful stimuli and are better at ignoring non-life threatening allowing them to “push through” better. Strain from a workout seems to affect a woman less than her male counterpart.

3.  They Usually Have Better Mobility.

It would take me months to progress towards full deadlifts with most men. Starting with rack deadlifts we’d slowly work down to the floor with a combination of mobility training. Women, on the other hand, often have the flexibility to work through a whole range of motion. They also tend to enjoy stretching more so adhere better to their homework and are more willing to do Yoga as a supplement.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the dangerous side of too much mobility that some women (and men) present with. Joint laxity can be a serious issue. Eric Cressey wrote an article for thePTDC covering joint laxity. Click here to open in a new window and read after.

4.  They Get Faster Results

99% of my female clients wanted to tone up and 99% of my male clients wanted to put on muscle — it’s that simple. Toning up usually meant losing a bit of fat and putting on a bit of muscle. With small but effective dietary interventions and a basic weight lifting program most women can become noticeably more defined within weeks.

For a male to gain muscle it takes a lot more time. Neural gains are made first (6-8 weeks) followed by muscle. In a well-built program with proper nutrition, 1-2 pounds of muscle per week is considered fantastic. Men can lose fat just as quickly as women (or maybe quicker due to more muscle cross sectional area) but it isn’t considered a main goal in most.

Women can often get faster results because they can achieve their desired body composition quicker as a result of their chosen goal. A trainer usually has 5-10 weeks to convince a client that he or she is worth the dough so it’s nice to be able to get these gains quickly.

Model: Robin Kennedy. Photographer: Darcie Kennedy

5.  They love smashing stuff.

I had a client named Andrea and one time she came into a workout dejected. She was working tirelessly for a job that she didn’t like, her family was giving her a hard time, and her son was getting bullied. The resulting stress was forcing her into a dark place that included negative eating habits and missed workouts. She felt fat and was depressed.

I remember it like it was yesterday — my workout for her was planned in advanced but once she entered the gym, I changed it immediately. Her original workout consisted of 3 exercise supersets: one push, one pull, and one leg exercise. Her revised workout that day had deadlifts, close grip bench press, and smashing.

Smashing: adj; the act of propelling an object as hard and as fast as possible with the goal of making a loud noise.”

Or in a sentence:

“I was pissed off so decided to go to the gym to let off some steam – my trainer had me smashing some shit and it made me feel better.”

Andrea smashed a med ball into the ground for 4 sets of 20 seconds. I’m no psychologist and couldn’t help Andrea with her problems but I could let her smash the stress away. And when I did, she kneeled on the floor and smiled a smile that could be seen from a mile away.

Model: Robin Kennedy. Photographer: Darcie Kennedy

6. It’s Fun Proving to Them That Training Hard is OK

Few get into personal training to get rich. Joy and satisfaction from the job comes with putting your feet up at night knowing that you’ve had a positive effect.

There’s no greater feeling than helping empower a female to overcome negative self-talk and the blitzkrieg of photoshopped images, unrealistic physiques, and fantastical promises to become the strongest version of herself.


The workouts done and she’s covered with chalk, exhausted and jovial. I get her to type her password into the computer system to verify her attendance and it takes four tries; guess her nervous system is a bit shot from all of that work.

I walk to the back and get a quick snack knowing that my 7:30pm male client’s going to be 10 minutes late.

Model: Robin Kennedy. Photographer: Darcie Kennedy

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