I think we all know that not every personal trainer out there is worth a damn. There’s no other way to put it. You have good trainers and bad trainers. Figuring out which you are working with is up to you. There are, however, some things you should look for and take note of. Below are things you should pay attention to and if your personal trainer is doing one (or many) of them, you should consider ditching him or her.
- They look like they (themselves) need a trainer
I’m not here to body shame anyone but if your personal trainer looks like they need a trainer, do you really think you can trust them to get you into better physical condition? That would be like going to a clinic to help quit smoking and the person you are working with smokes. Your personal trainer should practice what they preach and should look fit and healthy.
You should be motivated by your personal trainer and feel confident. Sure, you could have a trainer who lost a considerable amount of weight and got certified to help others, but honestly, those cases are far and few between.
- They belittle you and your current physique
The reason you are working with a personal trainer is that you have some trouble areas you would like fixed. You don’t need to be belittled and ridiculed for that. If your personal trainer tells you to push harder or you’ll “never get rid of that belly fat” or “those thighs aren’t going to shrink with effort like that.”
Your personal trainer should be motivating you when you meet. You need a support system who is behind you. If you don’t feel you are getting both of those things, it’s time to move onto a new personal trainer.
- They talk to others during your training session
You’re paying your personal trainer to work with YOU, correct? Then they better not be talking with others during your session and time with them. If your personal trainer is a professional, they should already understand that their focus is on the paying client, not the cute girl or buff guy on the machine next to you. They can chat with them when your session is done. Until then, you are the only person they should be worried about.
If they have time to chat with someone else, they aren’t focused on you, your form, and your results. Therefore, they shouldn’t be your trainer. Get rid of them.
- They look at their phone or “go live” during your session
Unless you are getting a discount to be part of their Facebook Live, there is no reason your trainer should be on their phone or using a “live” feature that includes you. Essentially, that would be a marketing tool for them and you should be given a reduced rate if you agree to take part in their social media marketing. Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason your personal trainer should even have a phone on them.
You’re paying them for their time and the focus should be on you. If they think it’s an acceptable practice to take part in social media during a session, by all means, embarrass them by telling them they’re fired while live and go find a new trainer.
- They want you to purchase more sessions per week
There’s nothing worse than a personal trainer who is pushy and wants you to sign up for more sessions or commit to a “package” that you’re not interested in. What they are after is more money. If they don’t respect your wishes that you only want to train with them a set number of days and no more, they should understand your wants and needs. If they push you to do more and aren’t willing to back off after you tell them no, ditch them for a trainer who wants to help you get results, not one who is only after what’s in your wallet.
- They never do assessments with you
One of my biggest pet peeves is when personal trainers do not do assessments. How the heck are you supposed to know how you are progressing? And the scale is one of the worst ways that you can track your progress yet it’s the only thing most people understand how to use.
Your trainer should be doing an initial assessment with you before they even start a program. This will give you a baseline on where you are currently. It should include things such as weight, body fat, body measurements, strength test, and flexibility test. It can then be re-tested once a month or once every other month to see how you are progressing and to ensure you are on track (and if not, that way changes to the program can be made).
Additionally, they should have given you a form to fill out your lifestyle behaviors, how many times per week you are looking to exercise, your nutritional habits, health history, etc. This is not only for your protection but theirs as well. If you have never completed one of these forms and they have never done any type of assessments with you, it’s time to wave goodbye.
- They like to chit-chat with you during your sessions
Training can be intense and to lighten the mood many personal trainers will want to chit-chat and small-talk with you. Listen, you’re there to work and be focused. Don’t lighten up the mood, keep your head down and keep pushing. You can chit-chat all day long once your session is over. But during that 30-60 minute session, you should be pushing your mind and body to the limit with your training.
You should be maximizing your time rather than taking extended breaks to talk about the party you went to last weekend or your plans coming up this coming weekend with your significant other. Save it for after. It’s time to get down to business. Between sets, your trainer should be explaining things to you. Talking about your form. Talking about the weights. Giving you tips and tidbits to help you continue progressing. If you want someone to chat with during your training session rather than grinding it out, go train with your mom.
- They don’t educate you so that one day you won’t need them
It may sound odd but a personal trainer shouldn’t want to hang onto a client for the rest of their life. Sure, it could be a possibility if they simply like the training aspect and being pushed once or twice a week, but the goal should be to teach clients how to make better choices and how to train properly so you can set them free to go out on their own.
Too many trainers don’t want to give up their “secrets” because they would lose money. Personally, I give away all my secrets because people respect me and will go tell all of their friends to come to work with me due to the exceptional service I’ve provided them. If you don’t feel your trainer is helping you understand the “why” of the things they have you doing, it’s time for you to move on.
- They include your warm-up and cool-down as part of the timed session
A 5-minute warm-up and 5-minute cool-down should not be included in your time. You are there to train and you can easily get there early and stay after the session to fulfill these key parts of your training program. If a trainer wants to tell you to go do these things and then charge you for the 10 minutes you used up, run for the hills. You pay good money for a trainer to work with you, cutting out 10 minutes of your session (10 minutes out of a 30-minute session is a waste of 1/3 of your training session) for something like a warm-up/cool-down is a waste of your time and money.
Tell your trainer you have arrived (early) and what would they like you to do as a warm-up. There’s no reason for them to charge you for suggesting a warm-up. The key of a warm-up (such as walking on a treadmill or pedaling on a bicycle) is to get the blood pumping and to warm up the muscles. There’s really nothing here for the trainer to do other than talk to you about the session or educate you on different things to practice outside of the gym. But in all honesty, they can tell you about those things between sets when you are recovering so there’s really no need to waste 10 minutes and cut that time out of your training session.