Updated: Oct 3, 2022
Not all personal trainers are the same. Frankly, becoming a personal trainer is not regulated and most trainers lack the knowledge or proper tools to help you safely achieve your goals and not run your body into the ground.
Here are 10 things to keep an eye on when looking for a personal trainer or deciding when to dump yours.
1) Cookie Cutter Program
As I stated above, personal training is not regulated and just about anyone can become a “personal trainer” with an overnight online certification. In addition, Instagram is spammed with online trainers who sell “programs” to anyone and everyone.
No one individual is the same, hence the same cookie cutter program should never be used for different clients. Different people present different limitations and all require different programing in order to help them achieve their goals and avoid injury.
2) Always Late/Cancel
If your personal trainer is often late or cancels on you, it’s time to let them go. Your time is valuable and should be respected. Not only does it show a lack of respect but it also shows they don’t care about your commitment to your health and your body. Don’t get me wrong, life happens but if they continually show up late and cancel, consider moving on.
3) Skip Mobility and Warm Up
Walk into the gym and instantly throw the barbell on your back. Sound familiar? If this is what your trainer has you doing, be very cautious. First, you should always start your training with a warm up routine. And that is not restricted to walking on a treadmill for 10 minutes. Your warmup does not have to be extensive, but it’s important you gear your warmup to the movements you’ll be training that day.
If your trainer is also skipping mobility, they aren’t seeing the big picture. Restrictions in mobility can greatly effect your lifts and lead to injury. It’s important you pay attention to your mobility and spend some time focusing on improving it.
4) Don’t Ask Questions
Your trainer should always be invested in your training routine. And that includes asking for feedback regarding how you’re feeling, how the last training session went, how your progress is coming along, and how you’re feeling towards your training in general.
If this doesn’t sound like your trainer and they begin every session without asking any questions or asking for feedback after exercises, don’t hesitate to spend your hard earned money elsewhere.
5) Don’t do What They Preach
Despite what you may see online and in fitness magazines, trainers do not have to be excessively ripped in order for them to be a “good” trainer. However, your trainer should be investing in their health and body just as they coach you to do.
You never truly know what someone is going through, however personal trainers must be taking care of their bodies and not just telling you to do so.
No, every vein in their body does not need to be visible and no they don’t need to be able to bench press 400lbs. Nonetheless, they absolutely should be invested in themselves.
6) Struggle to Make Modifications
This leads me back to my first point. Trainers work with clients from all walks of life, with different goals, with different limitations. Your trainer should be able to modify your training in order to meet your needs. Not everyone squats the same, not everyone has the same ankle mobility, not everyone presents healthy shoulders…you get my point. Everyone is different and your trainer should understand how to modify certain movements for certain clients.
7) Worried About Social Media
We’re in the social media age and social media platforms can absolutely help get your message out. However, I believe trainers should worry less about how many Instagram followers they have and more about getting across a certain message that’ll help improve peoples lives, or describe the meaning behind a specific exercise.
8) Always Sore
No pain, no gain! Wrong! Your workout program should never leave you feeling defeated and exhausted. That’s not the point of exercise. Exercise should improve your life, not leave you feeling anxious about the gym.
If your trainer doesn’t talk about the importance of recovery and tapering your workouts in order to promote recovery, might be time to look elsewhere.
9) Neglect Progressions
Just as your trainer shouldn’t be giving you the same cookie cutter program they use with all of their clients, they should always be looking to progress your exercises when you’re ready to do so.
The body can quickly adapt to your programing, so it’s important that you continually try to progress your weight used and movements in your programing.
10) Don’t Invest In Their Education
This is very important. Trainers should always be looking to invest in their education and adapt it to their training techniques.
As a trainer, there is always room to grow and improve the experience for your client.
Any trainer that thinks they know it all and continually refuse to learn and surround themselves with other people in the industry is not a trainer you want to associate yourself with.
Investing in your health and a personal trainer is a big step and should never be taken lightly. Do your research, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to walk away when you know you need to.