Working with a personal trainer can be the key to crushing your fitness goals—provided you choose the right one. If you’re working with a trainer and aren’t seeing results or feel like your voice isn’t being heard, it may be time to seek out the services of someone new. Five of the country’s top fitness professionals let you know when it might be time to make the switch.
RED FLAG #1: Your trainer lacks flexibility
Your trainer should be willing to change a workout based on your safety and comfort, says ACE master trainer Shana Martin. “Personal training should be personal, and trainers should be open to communication and be able to make adjustments to a workout if you feel fear, pain, or just downright don’t like the exercise.” If you find that your trainer is hesitant to make changes, Martin recommends that it’s time for you make your own change and seek out the services of a new trainer.
RED FLAG #2: Your trainer makes sessions about him
Each session is an investment of your time, money, and energy, so your progress should be your trainer’s top priority. “Lack of focus on the client can take on a few different forms,” says Anthony Carey, founder of Function First and inventor of the Core-Tex. “From training sessions designed around what the trainer enjoys coaching versus what the client needs to the trainer continually changing the programming out of boredom, as opposed to giving the client the opportunity to master their movements.” Also be wary of trainers that assume all the credit for your successes or who are quick to place all responsibility for lack of progress on your shoulders, Carey says.
RED FLAG #3: Your trainer never asks for feedback
To ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts a trainer should be ask how she can best serve you and enhance your exercise experience. “Feedback is the breakfast of champions and it’s the only way to continue to get better professionally,” says Todd Durkin, owner of Fitness Quest 10 and Lead Training Advisor for Under Armour. “If your trainer rarely asks you for feedback and is not receptive to acting on what your needs are, it’s time to find a new trainer.”
RED FLAG #4: Your trainer doesn’t prepare you for everyday activities
Once you’ve worked with a trainer for a while, you shouldn’t find yourself short of breath when playing a pick-up game of basketball, or lacking the strength to run up a hill during a 5K. “A trainer should be including components into your programming that prepare your body for the things you love to do,” says Dan McDonogh, international fitness educator and Senior Manager of Group Training and Development for TRX. “If your trainer has spent more time training you in isolation rather than integration, you may soon find that you’re not as able to adapt to the demands of life as you should be.”
RED FLAG #5: Your trainer thinks he knows it all
One of the biggest reasons people work with personal trainers is to tap into their extensive knowledge and expertise. However, a trainer who uses the same exercises and routines with other clients might not understand the “why” behind your workout and how specific exercises will help you to reach your personal goals. “Trainers should customize workout programs to meet each individual client’s needs, and in order to do so they should always be learning,” says Kim Klinedinst, Director of Education Products at TRX. “Trainers who continue to invest in their education by attending fitness conventions or earning additional certifications demonstrate commitment to expanding their knowledge, which will keep you safe and to help you get the results you want.” You should reconsider hiring a trainer who seems disinterested in continuing education or feels like he already knows it all.