During my time as a personal trainer in Boston, I experienced dozens of people who would let their stressful days affect one of the few situations they could control: their time in the gym. People would come in for a session with me and be so flustered and exhausted by their shitty day that they wouldn't get any actual work done, they would just complain and complain and complain. For some people, this was an important quasi-"therapeutic" part of their day. Sometimes you just want someone to listen to you complain about everyone you work with and your spouse so that you can go home and chill. In that regard, personal trainers have become the new bartenders. We listen and listen and listen and if we are lucky we can get you warmed up in time to go home.
Many people, though, would be better off at the end of the day if they were able to get in a solid workout and get some endorphins going. Being able to put yourself in the right frame of mind to work out for an hour at the end of a long day is a difficult but necessary task. I find it much easier if you instruct your clients to worry about the only three things they can control throughout each day.
By focusing on these three things before and during each training session, you should be able to get yourself to where you need to be mentally.
This one is pretty easy to understand. If you had a bad day at work and you walk into the gym with a surly, shitty attitude and you're already dreading your workout, then what are the chances that you're going to have a good one?
Your trainer isn't being paid to deal with your shitty attitude. Get your mind right and tell yourself that you're going to a good place where you have fun and blow off steam. Ask yourself why you're in such a bad mood when you're no longer at work, and make the changes you need to make to leave it at the door. Being with your trainer is an hour that you're paying for, don't let your work/personal stress take that away from you too.
Where is your head at? Are you worried about the meeting that you have tomorrow, or what your boss thought about the project you dropped off on their desk? Are you thinking about if that person you met on Tinder is going to be THE ONE, or are you wondering who sent you
Every single thought that's going through your head can be dismissed for 60 minutes. Put all that shit aside, because there's nothing that can't wait for you to finish working out. Every little thing that takes your concentration away from your lifting is hurting the amount of work that you put in. It's also putting you at a great risk of injury, because mistakes happen when you're not focused.
Clear your head. Focus on the task at hand; it's only an hour, your email will survive if you don't check it. None of your friends need you so badly that you can't miss their texts for a little while. You're paying for an hour of someones time, make it worth you're while.
You're a grown-up, right? Fucking act like it. If you're paying someone for their time and expertise then utilize it. Give them the appropriate amount of respect and display some effort. If you don't feel like giving the level of effort required to train that night, then stay home. There are few feelings as frustrating as having someone in a training session who very visibly doesn't give a fuck.
I like the quote "fake it till you make it". Just pretend like you give a shit about what your trainer is putting his or her time and effort into, then maybe some good things will happen and you can salvage that session.
Just because you put a ton of effort into your personal and profession lives doesn't mean you get to take a break from caring when you get to the gym. If you've picked a good trainer then they are going to be very invested in seeing you succeed, you need to be invested too.
Have a great day and go lift some heavy shit!