8 reasons why it may be time to ditch your PT…
Read this no-nonsense guide to make sure you get your money’s worth.
The personal training profession is a peculiar one. For a start, there's basically no barrier to entry.
Any idiot can put on a tracksuit and say they're a 'fitness expert' with a qualification from a quick online course. At commercial gyms, where you might expect better, the quality control on this front is sometimes non-existent.
And yet, in the same breath, being a personal trainer is extremely difficult. An effective personal trainer, that is. You need multidisciplinary 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 interested in their clients. They care.
Personal training is a luxury spend and it shouldn’t go to waste. Here are some signs to look out for when choosing the right PT:
1. They're more interested in their own reflection
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 form, which always slips as fatigue sets in during a workout.
2. They're as inspirational as a wet lettuce
Part coach, part movement specialist, part motivator, part nutritionist and part inspiration.
You need to be able to look at your trainer and see that he's able to walk 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 regimen?
Beyond all measure of doubt.
3. They put you on the treadmill
If this ever happens, fire their ass. 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 personal 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 their client, so their focus should always be on quality work and making every single minute count.
4. There's no record keeping
You're working with a trainer to help you make progress that you wouldn't make working alone. It's an investment, and like any investment, you need to see a quantifiable return. Which is why you need step-by-step records of how you're doing. Trainers who can't be bothered to keep records clearly don't care about your progress.
So you shouldn't pay them your hard-earned money
5. Or plan of attack
If your trainer comes into the gym and wings it, find a new one, pronto. While workouts can change on the fly, there's zero excuse for your trainer to not have prepared the entire session.
He or she should know exercises, weights, rest intervals, even the exercise tempo - and all must point towards your ultimate goals
6. They fixate on the end goal
Good personal trainers should be goal-driven.
If there's no end-game, then you're just hoping for a result.
However, you don't want a trainer who's solely outcome-driven.
A good trainer takes a different approach. They work with you on achieving your outcome, but also on fixing your behaviours, so that whatever happens to the specific goal, you'll 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 training plan and throw all that hard work in the bin.
7. They use their phone
How would you feel if your doctor pulled out his mobile phone mid-consultation and started texting his mate? 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 while he sat on the floor next to the machine, phone in between his legs, and a tupperware of food and latte by his side!
8. You know them too well
If you know all about their personal life, bowel movements and what they ate for breakfast, then you've bought yourself a friend, not a trainer.
It's your trainer's job to know everything about you, not vice versa. They need to have a rounded and constantly up-to-date perspective on your lifestyle, stress, sleep, and yes, even digestion… not vice-versa.