Personal training has always been an industry that leaves me baffled. With only $500 and a
couple of weekends worth of class time and in-home study, you now have permission to tinker with the
human body, regardless of shape or size, and put it through as much stress as you see fit. Injuries be
This may sound like nonsense, but from over a decade spent working in different gyms and studios, this
is an unfortunate reality. But, fear not, in a world where you trust the only body you have to a complete
stranger, I’m here to let you know how you can tell when your trainer just doesn’t cut the mustard.
1. They ask you what you feel like working today.
Hearing a trainer say this makes me angrier than seeing Lululemon pants on a man. This is
completely unacceptable. You are paying someone to be an expert on a subject, and having
them ask you what YOU want to work on that day just goes to show you that there is zero care
in their approach and understanding of their job. You should have already talked about your
goals and expectations in your consultation, and the trainer should generally have your next few
months of training decided before you start your session. Not to say that there can’t be
deviations in the plan as you move forward, but asking a personal training client what they want
to work on is like having your doctor ask you what medication you want to take for the herpes
that just won’t clear up. A friend’s herpes. Not mine.
2. They spend more time looking around the gym than paying attention to you.
Listen, I get it. The woman on the Stairmaster has legs for days, and I’m pretty sure her tights are
at least 1 size too small, but you have a job to do. Keep it together, man!
If you see your trainer sit you down on one of those linear pieces of exercise equipment so that
all they have to do is put a pin higher if it’s too heavy, then proceed to either stare at the
men/women in the gym, look at their phones, or stare at themselves in the mirror, I think you
know it’s time to find someone else.
3. They don’t look or act the part.
I’m not saying that your coach has to look like Jamie Eason or The Rock, but if all your trainer
does is talk about how drunk they got on the weekend, or the amount of junk food they ate, it
might be time to re-evaluate your choice. I’m all for moderation, but when the person you are
taking fitness advice from looks like a cross between Richard Simmons and hot Play-doh, I think
you know where their priorities lie.
4. They can’t distinguish between your popliteus and your piriformis.
Again, I’m not saying that your trainer has to be highly educated when it comes to every aspect
of human anatomy … wait, yes I am. You are literally given complete access to the most complex
structure, combining flesh, bones, organs and connective tissues to produce incredibly
complicated movements. You’d better know how the muscles work and be able to tell the client
the exact reason behind each exercise that they are doing. Picking your exercises of the day
from YouTube is unacceptable.
5. There is zero contact outside of your session time.
If you are seeing your trainer twice a week, or even four times per week, that means there are an
additional 164 hours in the week that you are on your own. There should be contact through
email, text, phone calls, etc. to show that the trainer has a vested interest in your success.
Nutrition questions, check-ins, and exercise updates are the key to you reaching your goals. If
your trainer only sees you for your sessions and forgets about you the other 99% of the
time, it’s time to see what else is out there.
Even if you’re trainer looks great in his/her tight shirt, and they make sure that you are sore after every
session, that doesn’t mean that they should be trusted to make you the best you possible. I want you to
start to question every session. You’re paying more per hour to see your trainer than some qualified
therapists. Make sure they are as devoted to you, as you are to reaching your goals.