If you’ve gone out of your way to hire a personal trainer it means you’re looking to have a professional teach you how to eat, exercise and help get you in great shape.
Working one-on-one with a good trainer is something I recommend to everyone even if it’s just for one session. You can learn a ton of information on proper movement form, intensity and which exercises are the best for your goals and personal biomechanics.
Personal training costs more than going to group fitness classes and for the most part you’ll see better results as the training is tailored specifically for your “personal” goals and not a whole class. That being said, there are a lot of trainers out there and not all of them are going to be able to help you achieve your goals. So how can you tell when you’ve ended up with a dud?
This list covers some of the most basic things your trainer should or shouldn’t be doing…hopefully it will help.
They show up late often
Everyone is going to be late from time to time but we’re pro’s so we should have it figured out. If your trainer often shows up late don’t be shy to ask them if there is a time that works better for them as you’ve noticed they have trouble showing up on time for your session. Also if they do show up late make sure you still get your full session. If they continue to show up late ask another trainer at the same gym if they have your times…you 100% have that right! At my last gym, the two owners would show up late almost every single day for their first clients…it was embarrassing and unprofessional.
They don’t practice what they preach
If your trainer isn’t healthy and in shape don’t expect them to ever help you get healthy and in shape. I know that sounds harsh but the reality is it’s the truth. Your trainer doesn’t have to be in perfect form all year round, but they better look healthy and be in decent shape most of the time.
You would never go see a golf trainer that doesn’t play golf or a piano teacher that “used to” play piano, so why would you work with a health professional that doesn’t personally have health? You can only teach what you have.
I’ve worked with my fair share of alcoholic and coke-addicted “coaches” over the years to know that if you are a Coach that isn’t healthy you will never help your clients ever reach any kind of level of health or fitness. Truth Bomb.
They train you using a style that works for them and not one conducive to your specific goals
I see this one all the time. A trainer likes a specific style of training like say Crossfit, so they train every one of their clients using that same system. Even if that style of training goes against what the client’s goals are. Most new coaches to the industry have come from a CrossFit background and have never actually done any real individual “personal training”. All their workouts are basically just WODS (workouts of the day). In this case, you’d be better off just coming to their CrossFit class and saving your money.
Your trainer should have multiple systems they train their clients with, after all, we have to train all types of people with all kinds of goals. Pre and post-natal moms, fashion and fitness models, baby boomers, injured clients, sport specific training and of course general fitness and weight loss clients. You can’t obviously use the same system for all those different types, but most coaches do.
If your trainer is a one-trick pony and it’s not serving you then it’s time to find someone new.
All they talk about is themselves during the session
You are paying the expensive one-on-one price so you can have someone focus on you for an hour, not so you can listen to someone talk about his or her crap for an hour. If you spend enough time with your trainer there will be some back and forth of what’s going on in each other’s lives, for the most part, though this hour is about you!
They don’t record anything…weights, bodyweight etc.
The saying “if you’re not assessing you’re guessing” comes to mind here.
Your trainer should be keeping track of your rest times, tempo, current body weight, what you’ve been eating, how much you’ve been sleeping, what stress you are currently under and definitely be recording what weights you are lifting on a weekly basis!
There is literally no way a coach can remember the weights lifted and reps done for every set and for every one of their clients week to week. If they aren’t keeping track of things how do they know if you are progressing? If your trainer isn’t recording your workout stats trust me you have a rookie on your hands…or a coach that just doesn’t care. Personally, I’d prefer the rookie coach over the one who stopped caring at some point.
Final Note: Hopefully as you read through this you realize your trainer is none of these things and you have a newfound respect for awesome your trainer is. If however you read through this and realize they are guilty of most of the above then it’s probably time to break up with your trainer! Of course, if you love your trainer and you are seeing great results then who cares right? I just don’t want you throwing away your $80+ an hour with someone who isn’t going to help you achieve your goals!
While there are a lot of bad trainers, there are just as many bad clients out there. My next post will be on how you can tell if you are a bad personal training client or not. Yes, this is a thing…a major thing!
Jade McClure – Vancouver Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach