These days, most personal trainers are pretty good.
Most will be able to put together some good workouts and guide you through them safely.
However…there are some absolute charlatans out there. Take a close look around any gym and you’ll find a trainer that needs to consider a change in career.
Having spent over 10 years training clients, and almost 20 years training in a range of gyms, I’ve put together a short list of some things that your PT probably should not be doing…
1. Being too ‘touchy touchy’
Realistically, there are a few rare occasions when a bit of contact is potentially appropriate…for example spotting a back squat, maybe a bit of support doing a chin up, very occasionally a bit of manual repositioning…but your trainer should warn you beforehand (as in “i’m going to move your elbow into the position I’d like to see it in”) and it should NEVER feel like they’re invading your personal space.
When I see trainers lying all over their clients getting right involved in a deep stretching sesh, it makes me feel queasy.
At no point during a session with your trainer should you feel vulnerable or
2. Being on their phone
During the hour you’re with your trainer, their focus should be on you and you only…NOT on their Instagram stories.
If they’re frequently Whatsapping their mates during your session or fannying around with Snapchat filters, get em sacked.
3. Too much cardio
Use of cardio machines during a PT session is absolutely necessary at times, but if all your trainer wants to do is have you walk on the treadmill while you have a chinwag for an hour, find someone new.
4. Make you vomit
This is a pet hate of mine…some trainers seem to think making their clients vomit is a badge of honour.
BEING SICK IS NOT A SIGN OF A GOOD WORKOUT. In my opinion, it’s the opposite.
Anyone can write a vom-inducing workout, but a good trainer will put some thought into their session plans and ensure each workout is at an appropriate intensity for the client.
5. Test your 1RM every week
If getting stronger is a goal of yours, then you might sometimes test your strength with a 1 rep max attempt….but trying every week will leave you injured and probably weaker.
So if your trainer is getting you to max out or (almost) fail your lifts regularly, I’d question their techniques.
6. Encourage/make you use more weight than you’re comfortable with
Lifting weights in the gym should be challenging, but at no point should you have any doubt in your mind that you can finish a set.
If your trainer is making you use weights that make you nervous or that cause you to sacrifice good form, they’re probably not the one for you.
7. Free-styling the session (i.e not having a plan)
Everyone of my clients sessions are meticulously planned out. Of course sessions change due to how the client is feeling on the day, but I have a pretty good idea of what exercises I want to do, and more importantly what we need to do to progress.
If your trainer isn’t making notes of what you do during your session, how do they know if you’re progressing?!
If you’re jumping from machine to machine with no rhyme or reason to your sessions, that should be a red flag.
Is there anything you’d add to this list?
To avoid Personal Trainers altogether, why not give online training a go with the 28 Day Challenge.