Beware if your trainer does any of the following:
- Ignores or dismisses your questions
- Works you so hard you're in pain for days. Soreness is normal, but you should still be able to get out of bed
- Neglects any part of a complete program or recommends a level of training that's too hard for you
- Recommends questionable supplements or herbs. Always talk to your doctor before taking anything
- Diagnoses injuries or illnesses instead of referring you to a doctor
- Interrupts your session to talk to friends or take phone calls (unless it's an emergency or can't be avoided)
- Doesn't return phone calls or emails
- Gives you detailed nutritional advice. If your trainer is also a nutritionist or registered dietician, that's fine. Otherwise, he or she shouldn't give you more than very basic information about your diet
A personal trainer should watch you, correct your alignment, and explain what you're doing and why. If you're having problems, talk to them--they may not be aware there's a problem. Another option is to talk to the manager or stop your sessions and look for a different trainer. It's your money and your body...you have a right to get what you want and a good trainer will understand that.
How to Help Your Trainer
You can help your trainer do a better job by being a good client.
- Focus on what you're doing and try not to spend too much of your session talking.
- Be prepared by eating before your workout, bringing your own towel and a full water bottle.
- Give at least 24 hour notice if you need to cancel or reschedule.
- If you have questions, write them down and bring them to your session--you'll spend less time talking and more time working out.
- If you have a problem with your trainer, address it immediately.
- Don't interrupt your trainer when she's with a client. Wait until she's finished before approaching her.
- Recognize that your trainer is there to guide you--but you still have to do the work. If you're confused about your progress, or lack thereof, schedule a meeting where you can talk about your concerns. Personal training can help you get closer to your goals, but it isn't a magic bullet.