1. They’re fat.
“If your trainer looks like they could stand to lose a few pounds, abort mission immediately. There’s a difference between a football coach and a fitness trainer. The former gets paid to come up with winning strategies while the latter is paid to embody a healthful lifestyle you can emulate—with their help, of course.”
2. They’re not being nosy enough.
“It’s important for a personal trainer to have a comprehensive understanding of your lifestyle so they can tailor their efforts specifically to you. Therefore, your trainer should be asking you a lot of questions regularly—not just about your diet, but also about your medical history/existing conditions, occupation, sleep patterns, menstrual cycle, etc. If they’re not prying, they’re not doing their job correctly because they don’t have enough information to personalize sessions.”
3. They have experience—but in the wrong field.
“A lot of people decide that they know enough to become a personal trainer because they’re generally healthy and fit and they enjoy hitting the gym. Maybe they were even captain of their high school soccer team. But the proper training credentials go far beyond looking good in spandex. So do your research and ask the right questions from the outset. They have a degree? Great—as long as it’s not in Economics, or Journalism. Also, ask who trained them. And don’t be afraid to check out their other clients. You want a trainer with trainees who look good—or at least fitter than when they started out.”
4. They agree to meet you anywhere.
“It’s a rookie move to train somewhere unless you’re insured there. Accidents are bound to happen, and your trainer should have the wherewithal to be insured at the exact place you agree to meet so you’re both protected from physical and/or financial ruin. If a trainer offers to come to your building (and they haven’t trained other residents there already) or to meet you at a gym they’ve never been to before, consider it a bright red flag.”
5. They’re watching you run.
“If your trainer puts you on a treadmill or any other cardio machine for ten to fifteen minutes before starting a session, they’re wasting your time and money. Warming up is something you can do on your own, and if your personal trainer doesn’t advise showing up a little early to jog, they’re either an idiot or a money grubbing asshole.”
6. They insist on stretching you for too long.
“In the same vein, if a trainer spends ten minutes at the beginning and/or end of an appointment stretching you, that’s twenty minutes out of an hour (30 percent of the entire time) you’re wasting on techniques that are easily learned and executed on your own!”
7. They’re not checking in during sessions.
“In addition to asking broader questions, your trainer should be checking in throughout workouts. Part of their job is to make sure you’re okay at all times—and especially when they’re pushing you to intensify the workout. Do you feel a burning sensation or any pain? Are you tired or physically exhausted? Dizzy? Nauseous? Your trainer needs to know—and it’s their job to open up the channels of communication.”
8. They’re glued to their phone.
“The only time a trainer should ever touch his cell phone during a session is if he’s using a stop watch app to time reps and sets. If they’re checking their phone otherwise, even for just a few seconds, it’s a bad sign. Seconds add up, after all, and you’re paying this person to pay full attention to you, not an electronic device.”
9. They’re too lazy to demonstrate.
“Every trainer should be able to demonstrate exactly what they mean when they describe any exercise. If you express confusion over the instructions you’re given and their first instinct isn’t to demo it themselves, be worried. Safety is often dependent upon technique and form, so you should be able to get a solid sense as to how you should position and move your body.”
10. They’re not changing things up.
“Diversity and intensity are critical to physical fitness. If your trainer is running you through the same program over and over again, they’re lazy. And while it might seem like you’re getting stronger because these repetitive exercises are getting easier, the opposite is true. You’re not getting any fitter. Plus, you’re probably pretty bored.”