You might not be aware of it, but there are signs that your current gym isn’t working. Think of a recent time when you were trying to do some exercise but it felt like you were working against the clock, or that you were too hot in your new clothes, or that you were cramped in the gym.
Being a personal trainer is all about the client relationship. I am always looking for ways to improve the relationship. My blog is dedicated to being an active participant in a persons fitness journey. I might teach you the technique but I will make a commitment to you that I am going to support you as you pursue your fitness goals. If I am not going to make a commitment to you then why should you make one to me?
So you’re looking for a new trainer, and you’ve come across a couple online ads for one that sounds good. You get on the phone and talk to the guy, and it sounds like everything you need. You talk about how you want to get stronger, and he says the first thing you need to do is to build up your strength levels. You ask him about his training philosophy, and he says he has a unique system that is going to help you reach your goals. You decide to go to his gym, and he meets you at the door. You start to work out, and you find out that you don’t like it. You ask him about the workouts, and he says they’re very different than what you are used to
Normally, I exercise in my own home gym.
I do, however, occasionally venture out and work out at a fantastic warehouse-style gym in town.
In any case, I enjoy my gym options.
However, due of where and when I train, I sometimes forget what it’s like for others who aren’t me.
However, I was recently reminded of how horrible things can go out there. And it was a bad personal trainer who served as a reminder.
Trainers: Some are good, while some are bad.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Over the years, I’ve met a lot of amazing trainers. Many of them, in fact, are PN readers and customers.
I’ve also encountered those who aren’t equipped to shovel the sidewalk in front of the gym, let alone charge $50-$100 an hour to “assist” people in getting in shape.
Unfortunately, like in many other areas of life, the negative appears to outnumber the positive. The folks who require assistance are the ones who pay the price in the end.
So, in today’s post, I’d want to share with you my top 10 tactics for identifying a fantastic trainer from one that shouldn’t even be washing your gym towels.
It’s also worth noting that lousy dietitians aren’t safe either. The majority of the same distinctions apply to them as well.
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10 traits of terrible personal trainers and dietitians
#1: They don’t conduct any evaluations.
When dealing with a new client, the greatest trainers conduct extensive and comprehensive assessments before proceeding.
In terms of training, this entails mobility screening and even simple performance testing. In terms of nutrition, this entails examining the client’s current intake as well as a variety of lifestyle factors such as the client’s schedule, principal complaints/discomforts, present degree of social support, readiness to change, and so on.
Is this, however, how most personal trainers and nutritionists operate? No way.
The majority of trainers don’t do any assessments at all! And if any are done, it’s usually during the “free consultation” that comes with your gym membership in order to shame a client into purchasing personal training.
That’s a major blunder. Good assessments are the only way to obtain a true understanding of a client and make important coaching decisions, without which you have a snowball’s chance of seeing meaningful outcomes.
RUN if your first appointment does not include a complete battery of examinations.
#2: They are unable to demonstrate previous achievements.
Personal training and nutritional counseling are not inexpensive. In fact, consulting with a trainer four times a week for six months might cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.
So, what are you getting for your five to ten thousand dollars? You have no idea if a trainer or nutritionist can’t show you their previous accomplishments. There are none at all.
The greatest personal trainers and nutritionists keep meticulous records of their customers’ progress. They keep track of client compliance. They keep track of how their clients’ bodies are evolving over time. They keep track of their performance as well as their lifestyle adjustments. They keep before and after images in photo albums.
They can also provide appealing testimonials about their work from former clientele. They’ll probably be able to introduce you to a handful so you can ask them questions about their experiences.
The poorest dietitians and trainers have nothing. There are no photographs. There are no testimonials. There is no information. Nothing.
If your trainer can’t offer you convincing evidence that they’ve helped people like you achieve the outcomes you want, assume they’ve never done it before.
They don’t have several certifications, which is number three.
The majority of personal trainers in the world today have only a high school diploma and a certificate in personal training obtained at a weekend personal training conference.
Furthermore, most dietitians have little to no experience with exercise nutrition. (Registered dietitians are required to have a bachelor’s degree.) However, this degree focuses on clinical nutrition, which is what is served to hospital patients, rather than exercise nutrition. There’s a big difference.)
Are these the types of people you want to waste your money on if you have exercise and performance goals? I’m not one of them.
If it were up to me, I’d search for someone with a variety of credentials. Someone who has definitely made it a goal to continue their education throughout their lives. Someone who has searched out a broad knowledge base, knowing about training methods, body composition, nutrition, supplements, and other topics.
This is something that the top trainers do. They are lifelong students. They read top-of-the-line training and nutrition material from the best in the field for 5-10 hours every week.
The worst trainers are those who only have a weekend certification. They waste their time reading publications like Muscle and Fitness or People. And they don’t even realize how much they don’t understand.
#4: They aren’t in good health or shape.
Out-of-shape trainers and dietitians irritate me just as much as realtors who have never owned a home and financial planners who are broke.
Now, allow me to explain. To be active and healthy, you don’t have to appear like a fitness model. So that isn’t the norm here.
Why would I listen to any advice on gaining muscle, losing fat, or getting healthier from a trainer who doesn’t have more muscle, less fat, or a better health profile than the ordinary person?
It’s a foregone conclusion. A trainer or nutritionist can’t be my coach if they aren’t healthy and fit, and don’t practice the behaviors that keep them that way.
#5: They are oblivious to the distinction between an outcome and a behavior.
That’s an outcome goal: “I need to shed 10 pounds.” A behavior objective is something like, “I need to exercise 5 times each week.” Trainers and dietitians who don’t understand the distinction should be fired right away.
The trainer/role, nutritionist’s after all, is to focus on the end result. Their program must be constructed in such a way that the conclusion is unavoidable.
Focusing on behaviors, on the other hand, is the client’s responsibility. As a result, any trainer worth their salt understands that in order to be effective, clients must be rewarded for successful behaviors rather than specified results.
Have you followed this week’s habits 90% of the time and haven’t missed any workouts? Regardless of the outcome, that’s deserving of a reward because it’s this pattern of action that will eventually lead to success.
Furthermore, the greatest trainers have systems in place to track client adherence and accountability (such as the PN adherence chart, the software we use in the Lean Eating program, etc).
The worst trainers, on the other hand, make progress appear like voodoo, divorcing the desired outcome (weight loss, for example) from the behaviors required to achieve that goal (X exercise sessions per week, eating X servings of vegetables per day, etc.).
Your trainer should assign easy behaviors for you to practice, keep note of whether you’ve completed them, and reward you when you have. That is their responsibility. Is that what they’re up to? Or are they simply requesting that you step on the scale? (Or, even worse, neither?)
#6: They didn’t start with a three-month plan.
The top trainers and nutritionists will already have a 3-month plan based on their client’s level, needs, and goals before day one, session one, after all of the exams are completed.
When I stroll around commercial gyms, it appears that most trainers are making up workouts as they go along, which is a terrible joke on their clientele.
There isn’t a strategy in place. There is no such thing as a “large picture.” They’re making things up as they go along. What a waste of time and money for everyone involved. Seriously, where else in life do we see notable accomplishment as a result of a complete lack of preparation, forethought, and obvious care?
Get out of there if your trainer or nutritionist can’t present you their 3-month plan on day one, session one, after all the assessments are over. Fast.
#7: They don’t have a clipboard or a notebook with them.
Clients want to see results that can be measured. So what happens if your trainer or nutritionist doesn’t take any measurements at all?
Everything is measured by the top trainers and nutritionists. They keep track of performance metrics such as sets, reps, and rest intervals. They keep track of people’s eating habits and behavior. They keep track of how many people show up for workouts. They keep track of your body composition. They take photographs. Is it necessary for me to continue?
The point is that you don’t notice what you don’t track and measure. Furthermore, without metrics, no one can tell if progress is being achieved. Isn’t it past time we replaced all of these trainers who don’t measure or record anything with those that do?
#8: They are unable to assist clients of various types.
Coaches are divided into three categories. Then there are the coaches who are just plain bad at what they do and can’t seem to produce good results with any of their clients. Of course, there are a plethora of these. These are easy to see if you keep your head up.
Then there are the excellent instructors who can generate amazing results with any client, regardless of who they are or where they came from. These are, of course, few and far between. And if you do locate one, consider yourself lucky.
Finally, there are the in-between trainers, who appear to have excellent success with some clients but can only help a small number of those who visit them.
Every trainer and nutritionist should strive to understand the techniques and strategies required to assist ANY sort of client who walks through the door. That is what distinguishes the great ones.
#9: They fail to combine training with nutrition.
There is something you must understand in order to modify your physique. And it’s unlikely that you’ll learn it in a commercial gym.
Exercise is ineffective on its own.
Despite completing 5-6 hours of well-designed exercise programming each week, research has repeatedly shown that without a dietary intervention, even performing 5-6 hours of well-designed exercise programming each week results in remarkably little body composition change.
As a result, you can ensure that the greatest trainers include nutrition as part of their programing. They arrange for private dietary consultations. They monitor your dietary intake and compliance on a regular basis. They take you on a tour of the supermarket. And there’s more.
What are the worst trainers? They either leave it up to you to figure it out on your own or they don’t. Alternatively, they provide ineffective nutritious sound bytes in between workout sets.
#10: They Don’t Give a Damn
Let’s be honest about this. Whether or if your trainer or nutritionist claims to care, if they don’t undertake most of the actions I’ve described above, they just don’t.
They don’t give a damn about doing a decent job. They are uninterested in assisting you in achieving your objectives. They simply don’t give a damn.
Isn’t that the worst part of all of this? Thousands of dollars being thrown at folks who don’t give a damn every month. It’s a pity.
However, it isn’t required. People who are well-educated can make informed decisions about whether or not to hire a personal trainer or a nutritionist.
This essay is harsh on personal trainers and dietitians who sleepwalk through their days. And it’s not without reason. If they don’t care, I’m going to kick them out of my field right now.
However, I will do everything in my power to improve things for the trainers and nutritionists who follow me, the ones who DO care, the ones who are willing to go above and beyond to be exceptional and truly help people.
In the fitness business, we’re going to increase the bar. For the better.
If you’re a coach or wish to be one…
It’s both an art and a science to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a way that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.
Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.
In our quest to get in the best shape possible, we often seek professional guidance, whether it be in the form of a personal trainer, a yoga instructor, or a chiropractor. Whatever your motivations are for wanting to improve your physical fitness, it’s a good idea to find a qualified professional to help you reach your goals. That said, not all trainers are created equal, and it’s important to understand what skills a good trainer should have to give you the best chance of success.. Read more about things your personal trainer hates and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I get a new trainer?
When you start to lose your grip on the controller, or when it starts to feel uncomfortable.
What are 2 traits of a bad personal trainer?
A bad personal trainer may not have the necessary knowledge to train you properly, or they may be a poor communicator.
How do you know if a trainer is good?
The best way to know if a trainer is good is by looking at their reviews. If they have a lot of positive reviews, then that means they are likely good.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- signs of a bad personal trainer
- examples of bad personal trainers
- signs of a good personal trainer
- signs your personal trainer likes you
- switching personal trainers