Does Your Personal Trainer Suck?


Does Your Personal Trainer Suck?

Your doctor strongly recommended you get in shape.

Your mother and mother-in- law are making fat jokes around you (not literally a round you).

Your toes occasionally disappear from site when you stand up.

Enough is enough!

But what to do about it?

The guy who wears the tight dress shirts at work recommends a gym for you. You rummage through your closet to find some workout attire. It consists of a T shirt with Hill Street Blues on the front and a pair of shorts with 6 inches of skin showing above the knee.

The sales staff at Joe’s Gym does it’s job and you end up with 52 Personal Training sessions and a water bottle.

They also have you matched with a trainer, “that would be perfect for your goals.” His appearance is intimidating but what he lacks in communication and multisyllable words he compensates with a confident strut and generous sharing of half eaten protein bars.

A few months go by of training or what you now have termed Shock and Awe Gawd! You dread going to bed because you know what’s coming in the waking moments.

The stiffness.

The pain.

The swearing.

And that’s before you get out of bed.

The trek to the bathroom and exiting the house are no longer trivial events. The 5 steps down from the house in the morning are accompanied with 5 audible whimpers.

Your trainer keeps saying you are doing great but this is at the end of the same workout in which you were referenced as, “spaghetti arms” and a walking, “bag of milk.”

It creeps into your mind (the only body part not aching btw) that it may be time to change trainers or flat out quit. You have never been known as a quitter but you think a test run couldn’t hurt.

Instead of bailing on exercise completely which unfortunately happens for some, here is a list of 10 reasons you could use to determine if that trainer’s ship has sailed.

  1. He/She doesn’t perform any assessment in your first meeting. It doesn’t have to be a four hour hands on evaluation and a stress test but there needs to be something. This can be anything from a physical movement assessment to a background history of exercise and injury. Even at a garage they ask what ‘symptoms’ are wrong with the car. If they are not assessing then they are guessing.
  1. They tell you what your goals should be. You are the client and it’s YOUR goals. Nothing wrong with a trainer grounding you in more realistic goals but it should be on the sliding scale of your goals. If you want to run a marathon in 4 weeks with no history of training then the trainer should reel you in some or you’ll need cab fare in your shorts.
  1. Talking on the cell phone during the session. I have not personally seen this yet but have heard many stories. As a client you should get the trainers undivided attention and he shouldn’t be checking out how many likes his selfie has gotten on Facebook.
  1. The trainer constantly talks about themselves. Unfortunately this is a common one. Nothing wrong with a trainer giving some examples of how they do an exercise and what works for them but the conversation of how tired they are, their life sucking, and continually using the phrase “when I do this” warrants a change of scenery for that client. These are the trainers who seem to never hold onto clients and then blame the client as “non-committal” or “lazy”.
  1. The trainer who frequently talks negatively about other clients. These trainers also don’t have a long shelf life because the client thinks, “If they are talking that way about those people then what are they saying about me? The ‘gossip’ trainer typically weeds himself out of business.
  1. The trainer attempts to make you sore and exhausted after every workout and then relishes the fact they did. Martin Rooney has a quote, “Anyone can make you tired, but not just anyone can make you better!” Part of the blame can be bestowed on some clients for thinking that’s what should happen but the trainer should be educated enough to know the difference. Four days of not being able to sit down shouldn’t be glorified.
  1. The trainer can’t tell you why you are doing a certain exercise and how it pertains to your goals. “Because I saw it on Youtube” or “I saw someone else doing it” doesn’t cut it. Each exercise, set, rep range and tempo should have a reason.
  1. Shows up late regularly or misses appointments. Emergencys can happen so everyone including the client gets a free pass when it’s rare but if it’s once a month or more then it’s time to move on. Your time is as important as anyone else.
  1. When the trainer continually pushes supplements. I understand there are situations where the gym ownership is putting pressure on trainers but if that’s not the case then the trainer cares more about his bottom line than your bottom.
  1. He counts Every. Single. Rep. Out LOUD – REAL LOUD. Maybe he is trying to impress the people at the other end of the gym or in the building next door with his ability to count backwards but really is this more about attention? Maybe he is no longer in front of a mirror and unsure he still exists? The turning of heads in his direction may give him solace of his presence.

If you checked off any of these then it may be grounds for dismissal.

I’m not trying to be a Trainer killer here although that would be a cool nickname. 😉

Letting a trainer go is sometimes best for both parties. Instead of quitting exercise outright then switch to another trainer usually is a better option. The client hopefully gets a trainer who is a better fit for them and the trainer more than likely sees the need to change or moves on to another profession. Win – Win.

Any more reasons and I’d love hear them.

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