16 December

Things to Avoid When Looking for a Personal Trainer

Image of a personal trainer working with a woman.

Deciding to hire a personal trainer (PT) is a big decision, especially when trainers have different training methods, practical expertise, tactics and methods, and package pricing. Plus, not all exercise is created equal, and a lot depends on factors like your age, body type, fitness goals, and motivations. With so many trainers out there and more even more entering the workforce (employment expected to grow 19% over the next few years), how do you know who to choose?

To help, we’ve compiled a list of red flags and things to avoid while doing your research, including questions to ask to ensure you choose the best personal trainer for your goals.

Top 8 Personal Trainer Red Flags

You may notice some of these concerns when you go to hire a PT. Others you may not recognize until you’ve had a few sessions. It’s never too late to change trainers if you don’t feel comfortable or like your needs are being met. However, you may be able to avoid the hassle of having to start the search all over again if you pay particular attention to these red flags.

1. Lacking Certifications/Education

While a college degree isn’t necessary to be a personal trainer, an industry license or certification is important. Without education or certifications from reputable sources, like the National Personal Training Institute of Florida, the PT may not be the expert they claim to be. Your PT should also have some nutritional knowledge to help you meet your goals, including the ability to assess your diet and do nutrition consulting. Before hiring, make sure the PT is certified and qualified to train.

2. Lacking Empathy

Trainers to avoid are ones who don’t listen to your questions or concerns. They may not seem to care when you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, or they don’t ask how you’re feeling, check in with you, or coach you when you need help. Your PT should be your partner, willing to answer your questions, address concerns, pivot your training so that the program works best for you, and be understanding of how you feel throughout the process.

3. Poor Motivation Techniques

PTs should never use body shaming as a way to motivate you to work harder. It’s also a problem if they don’t have any motivational techniques at all, or if they don’t make the workouts fun or engaging enough to hold your interest. It may also be a concern if they don’t push you hard enough since that won’t get you the results you’re paying them to help you achieve. They should be able to motivate you in a positive, healthy way that works for you.

4. Too Focused on Cardio

Muscle, cardio, and flexibility workouts are important for a healthy body and mind. However, having you do cardio on a treadmill or other cardio machine during your sessions is a waste of money. Time with your PT should be spent doing exercises you need them for, such as strength or weight training, as well as learning methods to build strength and be healthy.

5. Distracted

If the PT is on their phone, eating or drinking coffee, or being distracted in another way, they aren’t monitoring your form and ensuring you’re doing the right things. It’s a red flag if they are tuned out during your session, and this can even lead to injuries. Additionally, it should be a concern if they aren’t balancing their time or if they are working with multiple clients at once, like in a group setting. They should be able to give each individual client the proper amount of attention.

6. Doesn’t Have a Vested Interest in Your Success

Does your PT seem to avoid planning your sessions? Do they forget what you did last week or how you did in previous sessions? Perhaps they don’t ask about your goals, correct your form, or even take time to explain how each workout will help you reach your goal and how to do the exercise appropriately. Maybe they don’t know (or take time to understand) any of your specific injuries or chronic conditions and how that may affect your sessions.

Your PT should always show genuine interest in your fitness goals and in helping you achieve them with a catered approach built for you. They should be excited to work with you, build off each session, and ensure you know how to do each exercise correctly.

7. Poor Communication Skills

A PT must be able to demonstrate how to properly do an exercise in a clear way. They should constantly check in on how you’re feeling and your goal progression, let you know of any changes to sessions in advance, accept feedback after sessions, and adjust for you in the future. If your PT doesn’t have strong communication skills, this should be a concern.

You should also question the PT if they give inflated promises, like you’ll be able to lose a drastic amount of weight in a short period of time, because it often leads to unsustainable fitness plans.

8. You Don’t Click

Your relationship with a PT is a personal one. You need to be working with someone you can trust, easily talk to, and confide in. Their coaching style should be a good fit for you, whether you prefer someone softer and more nurturing, or someone with a drill sergeant-like approach. If you don’t connect with your PT or if you feel uncomfortable with or around them, it’s time to find someone else.

Questions To Ask a Personal Trainer

When interviewing personal trainers and deciding who to choose, some questions you may want to ask include:

  • What certifications/education/practical experience do you have?
  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • Do you have references?
  • Have you worked with others who have goals similar to mine?
  • How will we track my progress?
  • What is your approach to nutrition coaching?
  • How do you hold clients accountable?
  • What are your favorite motivation techniques?
  • What do your programs look like?
  • How will it be customized for me?
  • What is your training style?
  • What equipment do I need?
  • How do you communicate with clients?

Look for any red flags in these answers. You should feel comfortable and confident with how they respond; otherwise, consider other options.

Become a Personal Trainer in Florida

NPTI Florida (Orlando/Tampa) provides a college diploma in Personal Training. Our 600-hour ACCSC Accredited personal fitness training program will guarantee our graduated trainers are prepared to help their clients be successful and reach their fitness and nutrition goals. Contact us to enroll in a personal training program and get started on your rewarding new career today.