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Why Most Personal Trainers Suck (Part 2)

bad trainer 2

If you read part 1 of Why Most Personal Trainers Suck last week, you know that things weren’t going too well for Dave.

He had hired Joe as a personal trainer, spent a year following his ‘expert’ advice, but had little to show for it at the end.

This left him dejected and feeling like he had wasted $1000s of dollars…

And if we continued to follow Dave, it’s extremely likely that he would eventually quit personal training with Joe – and maybe even quit going to the gym altogether!

Yes, Dave is fictional, but his story still makes me sad. I see people like Dave almost every single time I’m at the gym, throwing away money and looking exactly the same month after month.

Thankfully, Dave’s unfortunate scenario is entirely preventable!

You see, personal training can be extremely valuable – especially when you’re working with the best online personal trainers – but the problem is that the vast majority of personal trainers flat out suck and fail to bring the potential out of their clients.

The truth is that if you’re being trained properly, you should be making progress month after month, not sitting in a stagnant rut.

So, without further ado, here are some of main reasons why trainers like Joe fail to help people like Dave see noticeable, tangible results.

They act like a friend instead of a trainer.

When you pay for a personal trainer, you are paying for someone that will help you develop the type of body and fitness level that you’re looking for.

This means that you need to work with someone who, first and foremost, is your instructor, your coach, and your motivator.

However, I see far too many personal trainers who treat their clients primarily as friends.

This means that at the gym, they end up doing a lot more hanging out than working out.

Don’t get me wrong, you want a trainer that you’re comfortable and friendly with – but at the same time, you need someone that pushes you to be your best, and brings a focus to each of your workouts.

Believe me, chatting about what you did on the weekend for 10 minutes of your 60 minute scheduled workout isn’t helping you get any learner or stronger, and is taking away from the task at hand.

They favor flashy over effective.

Look, working out isn’t rocket science.

Yet, many personal trainers seem to treat it as such – presumably as way to bolster their own sense of importance.

For these trainers, having their clients doing tested, proven exercises that actually work would be far too straightforward.

No, they need to be flashy, they need to be trendy, they need to dazzle their clients with whatever is currently hot in fitness.

This leads them to instructing their clients to do all sorts of exercises which are frankly useless.

Bosu balls, elastic bands, and various other contraptions, make them seem indispensable to their clients. After all, where could you ever learn such cutting edge workout techniques without them?

An even worse offense is when the trainer decides to becomes part of the exercise itself!

For example, one particularly useless trainer here in New York has his clients perform tricep pushdowns using an elastic band wrapped around his own neck.

No, I’m not kidding – the trainer is actually part of the exercise, which makes it awfully difficult for his clients to ever workout by themselves.

Or maybe that’s the whole point…

They don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

Let’s face it, there are many, many trainers that have no business coaching clients.

They don’t workout much themselves, don’t really know what they’re doing, and simply crammed enough at some point to pass a basic personal trainer certification and get hired by a gym.

But, of course, that doesn’t stop them from acting as if they know what they’re doing.

So they’ll go through the motions, speak with a sense of certitude, and their clients will go ahead thinking that it’s ok to flare their elbows out during a bench press and arch their lower back while deadlifting.

It is a case of the blind leading the blind, and we all know that never ends well.

They don’t take your diet into account.

Eating properly is a big part of getting the results you want from your workouts.

You can have a fantastic workout routine, which you dutifully follow to a T, but if you’re not complimenting it with an appropriate nutrition plan, you won’t make nearly as much progress.

Too many trainers don’t focus on nutrition at all, and instead only concern themselves with what the client is doing while in the gym, not what they’re doing the 97%+ of the time they’re out of the gym.

This leads to much needless frustration, and robs the client of a more holistic understanding of what goes into achieving a great physique.

They don’t really give a shit about your progress.

When you’re training with someone – and paying them big bucks for their time – you want them to be deeply invested in helping you get results.

Unfortunately, for many personal trainers, it is simply a job, and nothing more.

They lack any real passion for working out, and they aren’t emotionally invested in their clients’ progress.

This means that they would rather sit there texting on their phone while you’re doing sets instead of watching you, and would hesitate to correct your form on an exercise for fear of disrupting the status quo.

So what’s a person to do?

Whether you’ve been burned like Dave, or just want to avoid having the unfortunate experience of hiring a Joe, there are a couple things you should keep in mind.

First of all, don’t misunderstand me here: there are many great trainers, who are knowledgeable, passionate, won’t needlessly over-complicate your workouts, and who will focus on the complete picture – including workouts, nutrition, and appropriate supplement recommendations.

However, MOST trainers aren’t like that, so you need to be vigilant before deciding to work with someone.

So, take that free initial consultation, but use it as an opportunity to see if they can actually help you.

  • Do they understand your specific goals, and take them into account when designing your program.
  • Does the proposed routine consist of proven, core-exercises – like the squat, bench press, and deadlift?
  • Do they look the part, and do they genuinely seem passionate about fitness and helping you achieve your goals.
  • Do they take your entire picture in consideration, or do they just give you a generic, cooke-cutter plan?
  • Do they give you advice on your diet, or do they only focus on your workout sessions in the gym?

Of course, these are only a few of the red flags to look out for when selecting a personal trainer.

Obviously, the most important thing is that you actually make consistent progress while working with them (assuming you follow their advice and keep to your plan).

However, if months go by and you’re still running in place, do yourself a favor and kick them to the curb!

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