I try not to talk about this on social media because I don’t want to be that guy that’s criticising other trainers so just to say right from the start, this isn’t about calling out any individual PT’s.
And it also isn’t just about having a moan at the expense of other PT’s, it’s to help you guys realise that these standards aren’t acceptable and that if you are paying for personal training and put up with these things, you deserve better. People pay a lot of money for Personal Training and should expect a certain level of service and professionalism.
So here are some of my PT pet hates, based on what I see in the fitness industry, what I see in gyms and from the messages I receive:
Using phones in sessions
This is a huge no-no! If you paying for an hour of personal training, you should have that trainer’s attention and concentration for the full hour. During that hour with you they should be watching your technique, assessing the intensity of the workout, discussing nutrition with you, offering guidance on sleep, etc etc. All of these things should mean they are consumed by what they are doing with you and what’s best for you. If they are scrolling through Instagram every few minutes they clearly aren’t doing this.
Obviously there are exceptions, if they are videoing your technique or have asked if they quickly record something for social media, or if they are waiting on an important call.
But other than this, your trainer shouldn’t be on their phone during your paid time.
Eating during sessions
I understand that trainers work long days and need to eat, but that isn’t your fault as the client. You shouldn’t need to put up with your trainer stood their with their tubberware just because they’ve got a busy day. instead they should book themselves a 15 minute gap to eat then give you their full attention.
Again their are exceptions, and if I’m feeling light headed I might quickly grab an apple or snack bar between clients, whilst my next client is starting to warm up but I eat this as fast as I can and try to do this as rarely as possible.
Sitting down during workouts
I hate this! Again, I know trainers work long days but as a trainer you should have the fitness to stand up without needing to sit down on your client’s time. It just looks so lazy and how the trainer expect their client to feel motivated to work hard if you can’t be bothered to stand up!
Training clients the way they do
This comes down to laziness too, trainers that just give you the same programmes and workouts to their clients as they do because they can’t be bothered to programme something specific to the individual.
Your workout should be tailored to you and your goals and whilst it’s great if trainers are trying new things and training hard themselves, and then incorporating these into your workouts at times. You shouldn’t just be following exactly what they do.
And your trainer should also be planning your workouts ahead of the session, they shouldn’t just be making it up on the spot.
Make sure your workouts are planned, specific to you and your needs and fit with your goals and development.
This is one of my all time pet hates! I hate seeing a client at the gym early, raring to go and then the trainer comes rushing through the door either bang on the hour or worse still, late.
You are entitled to expect your trainer to be there, ready to go with your programme set. If they are rushing through the door at the time your session is about to start then they clearly aren’t as prepared as they should be.
You wouldn’t expect your doctor to come rushing through the door just before your appointment.
This just comes down to bad planning, being disorganised and not valuing the time of your client. And if they are sloppy with standards like time keeping, it’s likely they’ll be sloppy with other aspects of the service like communicating with you outside of workouts, writing your plans etc.
Again, there will be exceptional circumstances but I always like to think you earn the right to be late, and this comes from good time keeping the majority of the time.
Promoting unhealthy, unsafe diet advice
There is more free, high quality, evidence based nutritional information available than ever, so there’s no excuse for trainers still promoting nutritional advice that is either unsafe, unhealthy or ineffective.
The amount of questions I get from people asking if it’s right that their trainer has put them on such low calories, or that they’ve been told certain foods are banned.
Make sure that before you start working with a new trainer, you ask about their approach, their results, testimonials from their clients and decide whether this will work for you. You need to trust that what they give you is safe and right for you.
Not providing a satisfactory level of service
I find it staggering how many people contact me for online coaching and join my online groups, despite having a trainer, because they need help with their diet and accountability.
Unless you have an arrangement whereby your trainer just provides workouts, you are entitled to expect diet advice and support from your PT and shouldn’t need to go elsewhere for it.
This is the lowest of the low and it makes me so angry when I hear about PT’s treating their clients in a way that is essentially bullying. Punishing them for eating ‘the wrong things’, punishing them in workouts because haven’t lost weight.
Aside from bullying, trainers like this can contribute to people developing eating disorders. One of my clients told me her former trainer used to tell her to avoid eating all day because he was going to weigh her in the session that night! Unbelievable! And so dangerous!
Your trainer should make you feel good about yourself and use a coaching approach that is going to get the best out of you. If your trainer doesn’t, find someone who will.
The take away
The main thing I want you to take from this is the understanding that these things aren’t the norm and aren’t acceptable.
You are paying for a service and you’re entitled to a level of professional.
So if you work with a trainer who currently does some or all of these it might be worth thinking about working with someone else, or if you feel comfortable, bring these things up.
And as I’ve said, before you start working with a new PT do your research on their approach to training and nutrition, check out their social media, ask for testimonials from their clients. If they are good at what they do they should want to share this information with you to put your mind at ease.
There are some fantastic Personal Trainers out there, just make sure you get one that gives you the level of service and value for money you deserve.