How to Spot a Bad Trainer: Good Personal Trainer Qualifications How to choose a good personal trainer

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Maybe it’s just me, but I can really see the fitness industry booming in the last two years. More people want to be fit, healthy, and happy. More people join gyms, and sadly, more people buy into the whole Fit Tea Detoxes or Detox Wraps *shameless eye roll*. Being a personal trainer, many people come to me for advice on so and so diet or training regimen. Very often, their misconceptions on training or diet aren’t based off of something they read, but sadly, by something a previous (or current) personal trainer advised them to do. Now, I’ll be very polite throughout this entire post, but I might shake some feathers with some people. Oh, well. 

DISCLAIMER: before you go off on your trainer because of something I’ve written here. Do your research. Your coach may do some things specific to your body type or metabolism. Discuss it with him/her and analyze their reaction. Are they defensive? Can they provide scientific reason as to why they’re making you do something (in the gym or in the kitchen)? If not, then you can start searching for a more competent personal trainer. 

1. Your Personal Trainer Laughs at You or Shames You

Even though I am a personal trainer & sports nutritionist, I also have my own coach (Hi, Paul!). I know the importance of having someone else assess your progress. We tend to be very hard on ourselves, a good personal trainer will help you see progress and stay motivated when you’re being most critical. A bad personal trainer will laugh at you for giving in to binging or will shame you for taking an extra rest day, because you were sick. A bad trainer will make you feel bad about listening to your body, and they will make encounters very uncomfortable for you. If you’re scared to tell your coach that you cheated on your diet, because you know you’ll be shamed, there’s a serious problem. 

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What a Good Trainer Will Do: 

A good personal trainer will help guide you through the hardships without making you feel bad about set backs. They will motivate you when you’re feeling down, without making you feel bad about not being able to keep up. A good trainer or coach will make you feel comfortable enough to share your thoughts and feelings freely, without fear of being judged. 

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2. Your Personal Trainer Takes Forever to Answer E-Mails

I get that there are a lot of busy coaches, online and offline. That’s not a reason to take more than a week to answer e-mails. If a coach has a lot of clients, they need to organize their time so they can take care of each and every client regularly, especially those who struggle with their weight, anxiety, or eating. If your coach takes more than a week to respond to check ins or general e-mails, confront them about it. Why is it taking them so much time? When they answer your e-mails, are they thorough in their answers or is it the basic answer that makes you questions whether they even read your e-mail? 

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What a Good Trainer Will Do: 

A good personal trainer will answer e-mails regularly (1-2 days after you send it, tops). If they’re really busy, they should send you a quick e-mail, letting you know that they’re off on vacation or that they’ve had something come up that requires a lot of their attention, so they can’t answer right away. I don’t believe for a second that someone can’t take an hour of their day to answer e-mails. Keep in mind that you’re paying for your trainer to give you a good service and attention. 

3. A Bad Personal Trainer Will Give You General Plans

I’ve talked about this on Instagram, and it’s something that really gets me. Trainers or coaches should not be giving general nutrition plans or training plans to their clients. Ever. If your personal trainer can’t explain why they’re making you train this or that way, they might not be as good as you think. If they simply send you a pre-made plan, that doesn’t take into consideration the amount of time you’re willing to spend at the gym, or your food preferences, they’re not listening to your needs – confront them about it. 

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What a Good Trainer Will Do

A good trainer will assess your training and nutrition needs prior to giving you any training or nutrition plan. If they’re coaching you online, they’ll ask certain questions or ask for pictures to analyze your body type and needs. If they’re an on-site coach, they’ll take a session to look at your muscular imbalances (quad dominant or lack of strength in hamstrings or muscle imbalance in your right or left arm, etc.) and program your training accordingly. They’ll give you a plan according to your needs and goals, not just a plan they’ve copied and pasted from another client. 

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These are just a few things that you should look at when choosing a personal trainer or deciding whether or not your personal trainer is helping you. Keep in mind that your trainer can do everything right, but if you’re not following his instructions, you will not reach your goals. A good personal trainer will give you everything you need to reach your goals, but you still have work to do on your own. He/she can’t add weight to the bar and he/she can’t put the food in your mouth. That’s on you.