Let’s cut to the chase – you pay your personal trainer hard earned money, and he/she might flat out suck at what they do.
How do you know? Well, typically there are a few dead giveaways.
If you spot any of the following, please make sure to run in the opposite direction, request a different trainer, and/or never return to that gym again.
Here are 10 things to watch out for.
#1 – Your Trainer Is Constantly On The Phone Texting
This is just awkward.
At my gym, there’s a trainer who – mid conversation with her client – will be on her phone texting.
In fact, she always has her phone out in one of her hands as she’s ‘training’ a client. I never understood this, since I thought it violated the rules of social etiquette.
Generally, when you’re 1:1 with a person, whipping out your phone should deserve a swift shin-kick. But apparently not for some personal trainers.
There’s another good reason: poor form is a leading cause of repetitive stress injuries like knee pain, and if your trainer isn’t watching every repetition, how can he or she correct you?
#2 – Your Trainer is Looking Around, Talking To People and Not Paying Attention
This is a close followup to #1 – the trainer who is entirely disinterested in what he or she is doing.
This is the trainer that’s looking outside of the training area at the people around her, looking left, then right, then at the clock, and then at her watch. As soon as you go down to do the ten reps of your exercise, she’s doing something else.
Usually, they’re constantly saying hi to “Mrs. Jones” and “Big Guy Donny” every chance they get.
#3 – Your Trainer Has The Social Skills of a Piece of Moss Growing On a Log
It’s no secret – you and your trainer can get extremely close.
With an hour workout once or a few times a week over months, naturally you end up connecting (hopefully) and talking about life. It’s natural for the friendship to evolve and conversation to deepen.
Unless, of course, your trainer has the conversational skills of a piece of moss growing on a log. In that case, it’s not only going to be painful, and boring, it’s not going to be enjoyable when you show up to do a hard session.
In your late teens or early 20’s, did you ever work a job that you didn’t like, but you worked with people you loved? That’s how I view having a trainer that can actually talk about something substantial – it’s actually pretty enjoyable to go to a hard workout because it’s fun either way.
Bonus points if they make you laugh.
#4 – Your Trainer Tries to Lasso You Into 20 Sessions After Your First Day
This one seems to be the M.O. of chiropractors worldwide, more than personal trainers, but it happens. You know when you go into the chiropractor, and he does some “new, revolutionary diagnostic imaging test” and then gives you a printout of all the (made up) illnesses, misalignments and issues you have?
And then the kicker: the chiro recommends you come 3x a week for the next 10 weeks, a total of 30 appointments?
Personally, I view these people as criminals. How does the person know it’ll take 30 appointments? I bet some people get fixed in three appointments, or five, or ten, and some people don’t get fixed altogether.
The reality is simple: your trainer or chiropractor doesn’t know how long it’ll take, and most of this kind of “pricing” is done out of scarcity and fear or ballpark estimates.
I get it. 20 appointments means more consistency in your income than three appointments. But would you really tell someone who only needs to lose 10-15 pounds the same workout schedule as someone who needs to lose 100 and is a beginner?
If you find your trainer roping you into something that feels like a noose-contract from AT&T and other phone companies, run.
#5 – Your Trainer Tries To “Meet Up With You” Outside the Gym (And Not For “Training”)
There are tons of great trainers. Unfortunately, there are also loads of rotten apples who use training as an excuse to date/sleep with any woman under 80 – and yes, I’m explicitly calling out men here.
In fact, I used to joke about this, but it’s apparently so common that a magazine in Connecticut dedicated to the rich and wealthy had an article dedicated to “whether or not to sleep with your personal trainer.”
Apparently, the Stepford Wives are even more bored than I thought.
As a general rule, sleeping with your trainer isn’t a good idea, especially if you’re married.
Unless, of course, you’re into that kind of thing.
#6 – Your Trainer Trains You Like Everyone Else
A core tenet that I talk about is the idea that no two people can possibly be the same.
Genetics, lifestyles, diets and mindsets all vary, so each person should get a completely customized prescription for their food and exercise. I always find it strange that when a 45 year old woman and a 22 year old guy come in, the trainer gives them the same kind of bootcamp circuit the last person got.
How does that even make sense?
It’s like Mark (a 37 year old guy wanting to get ‘ripped’) and Maria (the 40 year old mom that just had a third child, late in life, who just wants to get toned), getting the same workout. For some people, it’s giving them literally the exact opposite advice:
The trainer says to Mark, “Get working on your buns and thighs” (he doesn’t care about buns or thighs, at least his own).
And then the trainer says to Maria, “Ok Maria, hit the bench press and then deadlift 200 pounds for reps. Then we’re gonna hit those biceps hard.” (she doesn’t care about bench pressing or deadlifting).
Ultimately, this just indicates laziness on the part of the trainer, and the client feels the lack of connection and listening – as if the trainer didn’t care.
#7 – Your Trainer Just Jumps In Without An Assessment of Where You Are
I once spoke to a middle aged woman that just got back from her first training session. Before she went, she was very excited to get training and make this year an awesome one.
Unfortunately, by the time she left the first training session, she wasn’t sure she was ever going to go back.
She said her trainer acted as if he didn’t care – he gave her a whole workout that they did that day that involved lots of back and knee strain – two areas she told him she had pre-existing injuries with.
After doing jumping jacks and other back exercises, she had felt her old injuries coming back, and she practically waddled out of the gym with her knees aching – the same experience she had trying P90x at home.
#8 – Your Trainer Purely Trains You With No Emphasis on Nutrition
Seeing as it’s pretty widely accepted that eating Oreos and working out doesn’t work very well for long term weight loss, this one surprises me a lot.
Sometimes there are laws surrounding what a trainer can or can’t recommend nutrition-wise, however, the lack of food-related advice from some trainers is shocking.
Don’t get it twisted: food is how you lose weight.
#9 – Your Trainer is Way Too Intense (& Has No Personality)
I never understood this – some trainers show up without a single smile on their face, like it’s a chore, and this is the bootcamp – “welcome to hell, ladies and gentlemen!”
Congratulations, I already hate exercise, that’s why I’m paying you to help me get it done – do you need to make it something I hate twice as much?
Some trainers don’t realize that in the average globo-gym, they train normal human beings, not elite athletes looking to get ripped.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like they always get this.
#10 – Your Trainer Flat Out Hates His/Her Job
I’ll be blunt here – when you go to the coffee shop on a Monday morning in a large line, how does that Barista that HATES her life make you feel? How do you feel when she barely even looks at you in the eye, like a soulless zombie awaiting death?
Not very good.
And that’s just for a split second interaction – what about if you had to interact with her for an hour? You might feel like you aged a hundred years in that time, that is, after wanting to stick forks in your freaking eye sockets.
They hate their job – and it shows on their face. Not only does it make you feel like crap, but chances are they aren’t that invested in their work and will not go the extra mile, heck, they probably won’t go the extra 6 inches for you.
Finding a Good Trainer
Thoughts on this?
Does your trainer fall into any of these categories? How do you deal with it?
Want to learn more of the critical tiny, daily habits to help you look and feel awesome? Check out my book, Master The Day.