There's a common stigma, especially among beginner gym goers, that every workout must be to complete exhaustion. To be honest, it's further perpetuated by a lot of people in the fitness industry.
Maybe because it sounds cool?
"I could hardly walk after my last leg workout!"
"My trainer almost made me puke"
And the list of weird phrases goes on and on.
A good, quality Personal Trainer in my opinion has to wear several different hats. We need to be able to motivate and inspire clients on a daily basis to make good, conscious life choices (nutrition, rest, stress management, exercise, etc.) as well as be able to effectively teach and convey principles of proper human movement.
In my opinion, there are plenty of trainers who are decent motivators- but not very good teachers.
The problem is that in order for someone to see results; they need to understand what it is that they're doing and why. If I can teach someone the skill of exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle; results will come. However, lots of people are very impatient as they start and want to lose 20 pounds in a week. Although there may be some crash diets that could get you there- it won't be the results you're looking for. So instead of always looking to work harder- try working smarter.
I'm not saying that it isn't hard work... it definitely is. However, you need to develop your skills before being able to really effectively push yourself.
For example, if you're having trouble performing a proper bodyweight squat with good form...why would you move on to a squat with weights? Or higher rep ranges than you can handle? Or going from never stepping foot in a gym to 6 days a week?
Now, don't get me wrong; the flipside is true as well. There are also trainers or even better, "experts," who spend too much time of knit picking at their clients techniques. What they don't understand is that they are actually robbing the client of part of the experience. They will never gets to feel it for themselves and learn. As long as the client isn't putting themselves at risk to get hurt, trainers should make subtle cues to fix up technique rather than stopping after each rep to point out something. Without making mistakes, constantly practicing, and fine tuning technique over time... it's hard for someone to develop the skills necessary to do a pushup and say to themselves "Ah darn it, I didn't flex my core on that rep."
We've all heard the phrase "Practice Makes Perfect"
In my opinion, "Practice Makes Permanent"
Take your healthy lifestyle for what it is and constantly look to progress and evolve. For trainers, clients, and gym goers, remember, fitness isn't a destination but a journey.