10 Signs Your Personal Trainer Sucks

It’s that time of the year where you want to try and beat the New Year’s revolutionists to a healthier and happy you. To help you along the way, not only do you read the most personal and helpful health and fitness blog (this one duh), but you also recruit a personal trainer to help you crush your goals.

But, not all trainers are created equal. Some come from university backgrounds, some committed their time and took a course prior to testing into a certification, and unfortunately, some just go to a weekend crash course and pay the $20 to take the test and get some obscure fitness certification. Oh! And then there’s just people on Social media that starve themselves and do a few pushups and say “buy my app to see how I did it”. Yes. That’s a thing. I’ll briefly get on my soap box and say that is the very reason I think personal trainers get a bad reputation. You can’t hire the trainer you need because the last trainer you worked with was only concerned about money.

Anyway…here we go, 10 Signs Your Personal Trainer Sucks!

Says certain foods will make you fat

I mentioned this one first because it literally frustrates me to the point that my poor girlfriend has to hear me rant about it for 10 minutes. Sorry Brit.

A good trainer knows there are no “good” or “bad” foods, just that some foods are more nutritionally denser than others.

“But my trainer says too many carrots can make you fat”-like really? Who TF do you know got fat from eating a carrot.

Never measures progress (measure, weight, skin test,etc.)

If your trainer just has you show up, get a different trainer. Please. Personal training is not like getting an off-brand ibuprofen to save a few bucks, you get what you pay for in training. If a trainer has a higher rate, the chances are he knows what he’s doing and he knows he can get you results.

Good trainers will use a variety of methods to show themselves, and you, data to justify the training is effective. But if your trainer just says to not worry about it, get a new one.

Talks. Alot. About themself

Whenever I trained clients I always kept the chit chat to a minimum. During group lifting sessions I always told my clients to ask me whatever they wanted before or after training, not during. I told them that I would always be available for them if they ever had any questions, and alot of the time they would text me simple questions that I could either send a brief text to or a voice message, you’d be surprised how far that goes.

In my mind the client invests their time with me, but they spend the money on the training session. I will gladly talk shop with you any other time, but during those 60 minutes, they are paying me to make them better! So why rob them of that?

No one cares about how awesome this zercher box squat with bands are on your anti thoracic flexion. No one cares about your webinar on exercise economy. No one really even cares that you even know what you know (to an extent). Among peers its respected, among clients, just shut up and train them. If they ask you can answer but don’t spent 15 minutes of the hour session explaining why your program is SOOOO GREAT.

Let the results speak for themselves.

Doesn’t know YOU

Pretty obvious one. If they keep calling you “you” or “man” or “dude”- you’re just a paycheck to them. A good trainer will not only know your first name, but they will always have your best interests and goals in mind.

Reminds you more about payments then he does about your fitness goals

Again, you’re just a paycheck. Business is business I get it, but if you don’t pay exactly on time that shouldn’t be a thing. Do your trainers get more upset that you miss a payment? Or miss a goal? I was actually more mad when clients held back on their potential during testing weeks then I did actual payments!

No variety

You’re doing the same sh**, it’s just a different day.

Trainers do have a framework they more or less have to be consistent towards, but that does not mean they can’t keep things fun and engaging. You can have the best program in the world, but if YOU the client are not bought in, then it won’t work.

They dont educate you

I always prided myself on teaching my clients to fish, rather them just feed them. In my mind, they pay me to show them the way, not hold their hand. Every client I ever had STILL sends me progress photos, asks for programming advice, or brags about their new PR’s. Why? Because they know how to train themselves now! They know how to achieve their own goals! I am nothing more than a resource for them, and that makes me smile. If you’ve been with your trainer for more than a year and you don’t know anything, start questioning their methods.

I understand not everyone wants to know the science, but everyone should have a basic understanding of how their body works.

“one more” bullshit

“One more rep” is literally how I have seen so many injuries. I get it. You want to know your true one rep max. But for me, unless you are a power lifter, it’s kinda unnecessary. When else in life are you ever going to lift something only one time and it needs to be all out? Probably never. Relative strength and endurance seem to be more relative and because of that, can be tested in a wider variety of ways that won’t kill you.

If you feel your spine is going to collapse through your keeseter, it’s time to pick a different trainer.

Speak in absolutes

I hate hate hate hate hate absolutes. Why? There’s not a whole lot in this life that is absolute if you think about it.

Sometimes you hear trainers say “carbs make you fat” as an absolute and people believe them!

But look at how rice has been a staple of asian dishes for years and they show to be one of the healthiest ethnicities on the planet and no one wants to hear anything.

The only absolutes in fitness I would say are:

Caloric maintenence=no weight gain

Caloric surplus=weight gain

Caloric deficit=weight loss

Want to be fast=train fast

Want to be strong=lift heavy

That’s about it. Now obviously that’s not all of them, but thats a good start. If your trainer is telling you all about how paleo is the way and everyone else is killing themselves with starch you need to give them a cupcake and tell them to shut up.


Ok if you’re like 60 and have had the same trainer that you had when you were 30 and you’re not an absolute stud, it’s time to move on. They have a training business, not a friendship one. It’s ok to cut ties. Like I said, I’ve had clients come and go, but I have yet to keep anyone longer than a year and a half. However, the only clients I keep for longer period of time are drastic body transformation (losing 40+ lbs) and athletes because they need seasonal work.

Obviously there are more reasons why to choose and now choose a trainer, but there are some things that I have seen multiple times, so the information on what to do should be out there.

What about you? Have you had any poor trainer experiences? Let me know and comment below!

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