The personal training profession is a peculiar one.
For a start, there’s basically no barrier to entry. Any idiot can put a tracksuit on and call themselves a ‘professional’ personal trainer. At commercial gyms, where you might expect better, the quality control on this front is often practically non-existent.
And yet, in the same breath, being a personal trainer is extremely difficult. An effective personal trainer, that is. You need multi-disciplinary knowledge to get under the skin of your client, a willingness to put in long hours, and the ability to read how to get the most out of people.
The best personal trainers are genuinely invested in their clients’ progress. They care. Ask yourself: whatever the profession, how many people do you know who really care about the people they work with? It’s a rare and unusual quality in any walk of life; those who demonstrate it go far in life because they stand out from the crowd.
Not sure what that looks like? Well before you go any further have a look at just a handful of my testimonies by clicking here.
Personal training is a luxury spend and the best PTs – almost an oxymoron but not quite – do not come cheap. Here are several ways to tell that you’re dealing with a clown and not a connoisseur.
1. More interested in their own reflection than yours
A good personal trainer uses mirrors a lot – but not vainly. Rather than looking at their own reflection, they should be using the mirror to check your exercise form from every possible angle. This will help them provide cues to correct your exercise form, which always slips during a workout as fatigue sets in.
2. As inspirational as a wet lettuce
Part coach, part motivator, part movement specialist, part nutritionist and part inspiration. You need to be able to look at your trainer and see that he walks his talk.
Does that mean he has to be Mr Universe? Absolutely not. Do his physique, energy and attitude need to reflect a life well lived and bear the fruits of an effective exercise regime? Beyond all measure of doubt, yes.
3. They put you on the treadmill during a session
If this ever happens, fire them.
No doubt someone reading this will bleat about the usefulness of cardio or the concept of interval training on a treadmill. Yes, there are exceptional cases – but 99% of the time if you see a trainer standing next to a client who’s jogging on a treadmill while paying for the time, then the client is being ripped off.
The average trainer has less than two hours a week with his client, so his / her focus should always be on quality work and making every single minute count.
Your rule of thumb should be that if you can do it by yourself on your own time, then why bother paying for a babysitter?
4. No plan of attack
If your trainer comes into the gym and wings it, then find a new one pronto. Whilst workouts can often change on the fly, there’s zero excuse for your trainer not having prepared your entire session in advance. He or she should know exercises, weights, rest intervals, and even the exercise tempo. All must be pointing in one direction: towards your ultimate goals.
5. Says hello and goodbye at the gym door
Very few personal trainers think about their clients other than the hour that they’re with them in the gym. Being a great personal trainer means being invested in your client’s progress and that necessitates a whole array of lifestyle changes, all of which need a mix of support, encouragement, nagging and sometimes even a bit of judicious bullying!
This makes the job of personal trainer so much more than a 9-5 and is one of the many reasons why substandard trainers are often nothing more than gym babysitters.
6. No results board
This one should be pretty obvious but if you look at most personal training businesses they have no real results to offer.
Success leaves clues. So, just as you would want references before hiring a construction firm to do your attic conversion, you should also check out your personal trainer. Videos and photos are the thing to look out for here – evidence that the person you’re thinking of hiring has significantly helped people like you in the past.
Of course, neither pics nor vids are perfect and there’s a lot of unscrupulous charlatans out there who will tweak timelines or use Snapchat filters. However, by and large, if you find a company with loads of results, then you’re entitled to feel that you’re in safe hands.
Here it is again my reviews.
7. Fixates on the goal
All good personal trainers should be goal driven. If there’s no endgame then you’re just arbitrarily hoping for a result. However, you don’t want a trainer who is solely outcome driven. If you come to me in order to lose 20lbs and all I care about is the outcome then I starve you half to death and in no time at all that weight will be lost. Bank transfer will do nicely, thanks very much.
A good trainer will take a different approach. He / she will always work with you on achieving your outcome, but more than that he / she will work with you on fixing your behaviors so that whatever happens to the specific goal, you will come away with an education, better habits, and the understanding that great health and fitness is a lifelong pursuit rather than something that you do for a 12-week personal training plan.
8. Loves To Text While You Train
Iv’e witnessed this in Xercise4less, JD Gyms and also Aurora Athletic to name just a handful.
How would you feel if your doctor pulled out his phone mid-consultation and started texting his mate?
Your indignation should apply to PTs, too. Far too many commercial gym trainers fail to understand the unacceptable nature of this kind of behaviour.
My personal favourite is the trainer I once saw who had a paying client jogging on the treadmill whilst he sat on the floor next to the machine, his phone in between his legs, a newspaper in his hands and a sandwich and latte by his side!
It was actually this example that finally persuaded me to leave that yellow shit hole and go back to the independent life. I just couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to prove to the world, and maybe even to myself, that there was (is) a much better way.
You will always find me with my phone as I use it to record moments of greatness, a perfect photo of you doing amazing or even to record great / poor form so we can use instant playback to praise or correct.
9. Loves To Talk Utter Shit
I worked with a (use this loosely) ‘Personal Trainer’ who actually told more lies than truths and I had some of his clients messaging me asking if certain things were true. They had basically lost all faith. This particular trainer even went as far as to grab a Google image of a Personal Trainer and pass it off as being himself when in fact looked nothing like this image. You are paying someone a lot of money so you have to trust them.
Personal Training is a passion of mine. I work 7 days a week, long hours and I’m forever practicing what I preach. I care about one thing during this process and that’s you. I’ve a seasoned background in customer service spanning over 20 years and have been an Operations Manager, Team Manager and Store Manager for many of those.
People Matter Most.
For more on me you can navigate the menu to see what I’m about, where I do my sessions from and what I cost.
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