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Top 10 Reasons to Fire Your Personal Trainer


Updated June 15, 2007

Personal training can be an excellent resource whether you're a beginner or an experienced exerciser. A good trainer can help you figure out what to do with your time, teach you how to exercises correctly and provide accountability and motivation. But, not every personal training relationship works out. The following are just a few issues that may come up, but always talk to your trainer about any issues you're having. If you can't work it out, it may be time to find another trainer.

1. Your trainer frequently cancels appointments or is chronically late

Emergencies happen to everyone and it's inevitable that some appointments may get cancelled. But if you've noticed your trainer cancelling more appointments than he's keeping or is always late (without making up the time), have a talk with him and tell him your concerns. If he doesn't make some changes or acknowledge his mistakes, it may be time to move on.

2. Your trainer doesn't return phone calls or emails

Your trainer isn't just supposed to be there during your sessions, she should also be there if you have questions or problems outside of your scheduled appointments. Communication is key, whether you're setting appointments or asking questions about workouts. If your trainer isn't responding, talk to her and ask for a reasonable response time (say 24-48 hours). If you're still not getting what you need, it might be time to move on.

3. Your trainer doesn't give you his full attention

If your trainer interrupts your workouts to talk to his buddies in the gym, take random phone calls or just doesn't pay attention to you during workouts, that's an issue that needs to be discussed right away. Sometimes interruptions are inevitable and not every trainer is going to be at his best all the time...but, if you feel like you're being ignored, talk to him about it. He may not be aware there's a problem. If he doesn't change his behavior, you may need to find another trainer.

4. Your trainer doesn't respond to your feedback

A personal training relationship is really a collaboration - she sets up workouts and then changes them according to what you need and how things feel. If your trainer isn't doing that or has you doing suspiciously harebrained workouts (like working the same one or two muscle groups every session or never changing anything), tell her your concerns. Giving feedback is the only way she can change things. If she doesn't make those changes, it may be time to find a new trainer.

5. Your trainer pushes questionable supplements

You may find that some health clubs and their trainers sell supplements and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. But, you should always talk to your doctor about any supplements before taking them, especially if you're on any other medication which may be affected by other supplements. If your trainer pushes you to buy something you're not sure about, let him know your concerns. This may not be a firing offense, but make sure he understands where you're coming from.

6. Your trainer diagnoses injuries or illnesses

Your trainer can do a lot of things - set up workouts, teach you how to exercise and even listen to you vent about your crazy boss. What she can't do is diagnose any injuries or illnesses (unless she's also a doctor). It's fine to talk to your trainer about any problems you're having and she may be able to give you general advice, but she should always refer you to a doctor. And if she urges you to work through any pain that doesn't feel right, that's a no-no as well.

7. You don't get along

Much of a good personal training relationship is about personalities, so it won't always be a match made in heaven. If you prefer a more vocal trainer who will push you very hard but end up with a more laid-back trainer, it's fine to tell him what you're looking for. He may be able to give you what you need or, if not, recommend a trainer that will better fit your needs.

8. Your trainer acts inappropriately

Personal training can be an intimate relationship. Your trainer knows your measurements, your weight, your food fears...that can create an open environment, which is good. But you should always feel comfortable around your trainer. If he makes a pass at you or she flirts a little too much, make your feelings known and ask that you keep the relationship professional. If it's too uncomfortable, you may need to move on.

9. You feel you're being taken advantage of

Most trainers are good, decent people but there will always be a few out there looking to make a quick buck. If you feel your trainer cuts your workouts short on a regular basis or is charging you more than you agreed on, sit down and discuss the problem...it may be a simple misunderstanding. If it isn't, you may want to find another trainer.

10. You're ready to go out on your own

Of course, not all personal training relationship have to end because of bad things. At some point, most clients do decide to try things on their own and that's actually a good thing. Don't be afraid to tell your trainer when you're ready to move on...if she's an experienced trainer, she'll respect that and help you figure out how to make the transition to exercising on your own.

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