To the average uninformed individual, it can be very hard to tell if your personal trainer is truly worth the money. No one likes to waste money, and there is nothing I hate more than people wasting money on a personal trainer that is doing an awful job for them! I have been working out regularly for over 15 years now, and in my time spent at numerous gyms, I have seen a LOT of terrible personal trainers. Of course, many people are completely unaware of what a “good” or “bad” personal trainer looks like… so I am here to help! Today I will help you figure out what you should look for in a good personal trainer (and what type you should avoid at all costs!)
The easiest way to go about it is to ask yourself a set of questions regarding the tendencies of your personal trainer. These questions will be listed below and then discussed further in the following paragraphs!
Does your personal trainer start off with a full assessment and movement screen?
Does your personal trainer have a good track record and testimonials from previous clients?
Does your personal trainer immediately try to get you to come 3-4 days per week?
Does your personal trainer make a custom workout designed to suit your needs and tailored to help you reach your goals?
Does your personal trainer give you things to do outside of the in-person sessions?
Does your personal trainer discuss and share knowledge about nutrition?
Does your personal trainer try and teach you names of exercises and delve into why you are performing said exercises?
What does your personal trainer do throughout your session? Is he always giving you his/her undivided attention?
HAVE YOU SEEN RESULTS?
1) Does your personal trainer start off with a full assessment and movement screen?
The very first step in ANY personal training routine should be a consultation where the trainer will sit down with you and discuss goals, medical history, training history, and more. Along with the screening there should also be a movement screen, so the trainer can see how your body moves and what kind of mobility you have. From this simple screen a trainer can tell what needs to be worked on and can share this information with you right then and there. Sometimes people don’t know they have a terrible squat pattern until someone qualified points it out. The worst thing a trainer can do, is skip the assessment and movement screen, then have a client try a weighted exercise they have no business performing and potentially hurting themselves. If there was no assessment and movement screen, your trainer sucks.
2) Does your personal trainer have a good track record and testimonials from previous clients?
Any good personal trainer should have clients from the past or present who have experienced great results, and the trainer should be more than happy to showcase their results! Whether it's through before and after pictures, or testimonials. If the trainer has been training people for a long time, yet has no evidence of producing results in clients, the trainer sucks. (Of course, a brand new personal trainer could quite possibly be excellent but have no previous testimonials or before/after’s… keep this in mind if it is a trainer new to the field! If they are knowledgeable, friendly, and motivated, they are often the most eager to show you and the world what they can do!).
3) Does your personal trainer immediately try to get you to come 3-4 days per week without justification?
Unfortunately, there are trainers out there who are simply in it for the money… and for the money only. If they rush through the assessment (or don’t do one at all), yet immediately recommend that you train with them 4 times per week, they’re a shitty trainer. Most people simply don’t need that many sessions in a week (some do, and some prefer it… but majority don’t). A good trainer will devise a workout schedule based upon your needs and your weekly schedule. They will tell you that you also need to be exercising outside of the 1-1 personal training sessions, nearly every day. If you need it, a good trainer will be happy to write you a program that you can use while at home/a different gym/on vacation/traveling for work. Even if you can only afford one session per week, a good trainer knows this is not nearly enough exercise for an entire week and should go out of his/her way to ensure that you have everything you need for a sound workout routine. If someone insists that you have to do 3-4 sessions per week, make sure that A) the reasoning is justified, and that B) you actually WANT to do that many sessions per week. If you did not want to do that many per week and the reasoning is not justified, your trainer sucks!
4) Does your personal trainer make a custom workout designed to suit your needs and tailored to help you reach your goals?
Believe it or not, a lot of trainers out there will give the exact same workout routine to everyone… regardless of their physical limitations or mobility issues and their specific goals. This should absolutely not be the case, and no two routines should be exactly the same! If your trainer has you running on the treadmill even though you said you hate running on the treadmill, your trainer sucks. If you have limited shoulder mobility and pain yet your trainer has you attempting handstand push ups and barbell overhead shoulder presses, your trainer sucks. If your trainer took the time to gather your goals and create a custom program specifically for you, it should be fairly easy to tell! If you’re not sure, ask him/her! Ask why you’re doing particular exercises or how it is helping you achieve your goals, if your trainer doesn’t have a good answer he/she sucks!
5) Does your personal trainer give you things to do outside of the in-person sessions?
Say for example you do two 1-hour sessions per week with your trainer totally 2 hours per week. That leaves a whopping 166 hours in the week where you will be outside of the gym doing other things!! Even if you do everything perfectly during those 2 hours, it’s just as important to be doing the right thing during the other 166! Any good trainer will know this, and should give you things to do outside of the gym. It could be workouts for home, it could be nutrition or exercise related “homework” to complete, or it could be making sure to get some form of cardio 2-3x per week (walking/running/biking/swimming/etc…). Your trainer should also make themselves available to you 24/7 for when you have questions you need answered during those other 166 hours. If your trainer pretends you don’t exist besides the 2 hours you spend in the gym, your trainer sucks!
6) Does your personal trainer discuss and share knowledge about nutrition?
Any good trainer knows that nutrition is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL if people want to see real progress, and hopefully more and more people are realizing this as well. Your trainer should not only be knowledgeable in the area, but should also share with you that knowledge and attempt to teach you what he/she knows. Your trainer should have conversations with you about good and bad foods, moderation, meal timing, meal prep, etc… If your trainer simply puts you through a workout and never touches on the subject of nutrition, your trainer sucks! Without proper nutrition you are quite literally wasting your time (and $$$) on personal training, as you will never see the results you desire. I can’t stress this one enough, find yourself a trainer who knows about nutrition!
7) Does your personal trainer try and teach you names of exercises and delve into why you are performing said exercises?
A good trainer should not only have a custom workout tailored to your needs, but should also discuss the importance of each exercise and why you are performing it. A trainer should desire to teach, not simply direct. Within a short period, you should become familiar with the names of all of the exercises he/she has you doing, you should know exactly what muscle group that exercise is targeting, and you should be familiar as to how and why that exercise is implemented into your custom workout plan. If a personal trainer throws you from exercise to exercise without explaining what it is/what it works/why you’re doing it, your trainer sucks!
8) What does your personal trainer do throughout your session? Is he always giving you his/her undivided attention?
A good trainer pays close attention to each and every move you perform throughout the entire session. This ensures that you are performing the exercises carefully and that he/she cares about not only your personal safety, but also your needs/goals and results. You can spot a bad trainer a mile away if they are on their phone texting friends the whole time, or checking facebook, or staring off into the distance while you’re struggling and need a spotter. Thats not to say that you and your trainer can’t look something up together on the phone (weather, exercise video, etc…) but if he/she is off doing it alone while you workout, that is not okay! If you do not get complete undivided attention throughout the entire hour, your trainer sucks!
9) HAVE YOU SEEN RESULTS?
The holy grail of determining if you have a good trainer or not… have you seen results? If you have been with a trainer for at least a month or two, but have not seen any results in any way, shape, or form... your trainer sucks! Results can occur in many different ways however, and it is important to differentiate between “not getting results” or simply “not seeing physical results.” You can get stronger (aka lifting more weight than you could the week before on the same exercise), you could lose weight, you could lose an inch around the waist or have to use the next hole in your belt, you could find that you’re able to move faster from exercise to exercise (better cardio conditioning), etc… ALL of these are forms of results! If you fail to see ANY results after a couple months then it might be time to find another trainer. OR, you might have to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are really doing everything you should be doing while you are not with your trainer for those other 166 hours in the week… Once you are positive that you’re doing everything near perfectly and your trainer is still not helping you get ANY results, then yes… your trainer sucks!
Thats the list! If your personal trainer doesn’t do any of the above mentioned things, congratulations you’ve got yourself a great personal trainer! Even if they are guilty of 1 or 2 of the things, that doesn’t mean they are completely terrible… but I would recommend sitting them down and having a conversation with them. Tell them that you’d like to stay with them (assuming you like them as a person and the rest of it is good), but they have to change one or two things for you do so. It can never hurt to ask or bring it up in conversation. And if a trainer refuses to change for you at your request?! You guessed it… YOUR TRAINER SUCKS!
To find and work with a trainer who doesn’t suck, contact us today at Fitness Fusion! We have 3 experienced, dedicated, motivational trainers who will GUARANTEED get you results… and on top of that we’ll always make sure not to commit any of the 9 no-no’s mentioned above that so many personal trainers out there are guilty of!
Thanks for reading, and see you at The FUSE!