It doesn’t take excessive time or extensive homework to become a Certified Personal Trainer. Some schools even offer single weekend courses. I’m not saying personal trainers are lacking knowledge by any means or that those taking these courses aren’t credible, it just means we need to be extra picky to spot genuine personal trainers as opposed to those who just see this industry as a side income source. I’ve been a customer of a trainer who didn’t take the job seriously before, because it wasn’t their main income source, and it’s a waste of time. I’ve been lucky enough to come across a few amazing trainers, along with being unfortunate enough to experience deceitful trainers, sleazy trainers and everything else in between.
To see results, it’s not solely up to the trainer. If you’re not seeing any results, before quickly pointing the blame, take a moment to think about how you’re living your life when your trainer isn’t around. It’s true what they say, exercise only accounts for 20% of your fitness success and the remaining 80% is what we shovel into our mouths.
Some of us take our fitness goals very seriously, though, so let me save you the headache and guide you along your journey to finding the ideal trainer. Here are 7 signs your personal trainer just plain sucks and should stick to their day job:
1. When your trainer doesn’t pay attention to you during the session. When a trainer tells you do to something then doesn’t pay attention to you or your form, then I’m sorry but what are you paying them for? You’re paying for an hour of their expertise and their undivided attention. They should be paying attention and correcting you on your form, not texting and conversing with others at the gym while you do your 15-20 squat jumps.
We all have busy lives – I get it. And a lot of trainers have day jobs and relationships and other things going on. However, time is money, and that’s time you are paying for. Remember this. The only time your trainer should leave you is to set up your next station quickly or to pee, I guess. Holding in pee can be a bitch. Peeing is okay.
2. When they end the session early or start late. If your personal trainer ends your 60 minute session 10-15 minutes early because ‘that’s all that needs to be done’ that day, then your trainer is scamming you or they need to work on their time management. If you’re already putting in the effort for 45 minutes, then doing a few more sets/exercises to kill another 10 minutes will not hurt you. Or they could use that extra time to give you meal prep tips or something. Really, though, they should pre-plan an exercise regimen that lasts at least a solid 50 minutes. Then there could be time for a cool down, assisted stretching or just straight grinding it out if you do those other things on your own time.
Remember, this is time you are paying for and it shouldn’t be wasted because your trainer is trying to get home to watch Netflix. You should have their full attention so you know when you are doing something wrong, and be spotted to reduce risk of injury. They are your mirror, and they’re there to correct you when your positioning is off so you can get the most efficient work out session possible. If I wanted to give up and end my work out early, I could do that on my own time – and it would be free!
3. When your trainer talks too much. This has become a bit of a pet peeve of mine over the years. Some trainers don’t really talk at all, some want to talk to you like they want to be your best friend, and others have zero problem cutting you off without a second thought. It may seem abrupt at first, but it’s truly a blessing because you stay a lot more focused and engaged in your movements when you’re not chatting with them. I tend to get annoyed when trainers tell me a story and get me distracted. Yes, I know I’m amazing to talk to and I don’t blame them for wanting to talk to me, but if I wanted new friends I would be friends with you outside of training. I can’t stand being distracted during training; I lose my mind and body connection, which ultimately takes away from the productivity of my fitness progress. All I want to do is focus, so stop being so chatty – please and thank you.
4. When they’re thick-headed and defensive. Beware of these ones. Their opinion is always right and don’t you dare ask them why. Ha! If your trainer is explaining to you why you’re doing a particular exercise and you have questions to get a better understanding, then you should be able to ask without any rude ‘tude from them.
If they’re confident in what they’re telling you, then they won’t get upset if you ask a few questions for clarity purposes. If they get defensive and answer, “I went to University for four years for this. Just trust me, I know”, that answer proves they’re a shitty trainer.
5. If your trainer is overly flirty or sleazy. Who doesn’t like a compliment? We all do. But let’s leave it at that and not cross the line. There’s no need to over-compliment your clients, stare at them in a perverted manner, or say the same compliment twice or more but in different context – got it the first time thank you. It’s not really appropriate to ask a client out on a date or eye-fuck the shit out of them, either. It’s appreciated when they focus on my fitness only, and uphold a reasonable amount of professionalism. We all conduct our business differently and have every right to do so, but unless we are in the business of adult erotica, sex eyes or sleazy comments should certainly be an obvious “no”. This goes for after the training also, no personal selfies to my phone either, ok? You only have my cell number to ask me professional questions related to my fitness goals.
6. When they’re unrealistic, untrustworthy and unreliable. If a trainer promises you results guarantees a perfect body in three months, then run. Run like you are Road Runner escaping the Tasmanian Devil. These trainers cannot be trusted. How can they guarantee your personal results without seeing how committed you are as a client? A trainer shouldn’t guarantee anything. I once had a bullshit trainer “guarantee” that I’ll loose 1 pound per day. Seriously? Not only did that go against my goals of losing weight in a slow and steady manner, but that’s so unhealthy and a horrible thing to even suggest. Unless you’re on TLC’s ‘My 600 Pound Life’ and you need to lose that much weight per day to prolong living, then sure. But for me, that’s a crazy thing to voice.
This same trainer would say one thing, then after a couple sessions say something that would completely contradict what he told me previously. As though he ‘forgot’ what he had said just a few days prior.
Sometimes, trainers can plate more than they can bench and take on too many clients at once, conclusively becoming flaky, then ultimately turning into frequent canceling. Some con-artist trainers have a trick up their sleeve and sign people up, making them not only pay upfront, but sign a “no refund” contract so that when they aren’t available for you it doesn’t make a difference to them because they already have your money. One thing leads to another and all of a sudden your schedules can’t line up anymore and you’re only half way through your 40 prepaid sessions that aren’t even happening, but oops, no refunds. Needless to say, I stopped seeing him after that. I prepaid him, so I took the loss of 750$ with a grain of salt and walked away looking at it as a payment for a life lesson.
7. When they don’t practice what they preach. Ask yourself, would you ask one of your overweight friends for fitness or nutrition advice? Would you ask a vegan to show you how to butcher meat? Would you hire a swim instructor who’s scared of water? No? Well, then I’m sure you wouldn’t want to spend your hard-earned money on a trainer who’s completely unfit, overweight or unhealthy. It goes far beyond physical attributes, too. If your trainer is telling you about how they constantly go out partying on weekends and really enjoy wing nights at Hooters, then that shows that they aren’t living the healthiest lifestyle. It’s hard for me to feel motivated to take advice given from someone who clearly doesn’t lead that lifestyle. People are generally incredibly fit for a reason and that reason is not from wings, booze, or lack of exercise – I can assure you that.