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5 Ways to Spot a Bad Personal Trainer

15th November 18

With over 6,000 fitness centres sprouting up all over the UK, job opportunities in personal training are endless. But while most personal trainers know their stuff, some don’t know their lats from their glutes. Becoming a personal trainer is not as easy as it looks...

Now, you may think the quality of your personal trainer (PT) doesn't matter that much, but you'd be wrong. Not only will having a poor PT impact on your confidence and progress in the gym, but it could also do you more harm than good. So, how can you tell a bad trainer from a good one? Here are our top ways to spot a fraud.

1. They stick you on the running machine 


Women in gym on treadmill.

Personal trainers need in-depth knowledge of the body and exercise. On average, they spend about two hours per week with a client, so if they are getting you to do something that you could do in your own time, you are not getting value for money. 

Your personal trainer should have carried out training in the principles of exercise and fitness so that they understand which exercise types and intensities are appropriate for specific fitness goals, and how to adapt their approach to each individual. One size does not fit all and your instructor should not rely on machines to set the rate and tempo of exercise; this is what their training was for. Any decent personal training course has modules that cover these basic principles, as they are central to every decision a PT will need to make throughout their career. 


2. They can’t answer your questions


Good trainers should be able to answer questions about your body, health and exercise. If you ask them a question about exercising with a certain health condition and they don’t answer, it's a sign that they're not properly qualified. Not only does this mean that the exercises you're doing are potentially unsuitable, they may even be detrimental to your health. 

Personal trainers are supposed to assist people from all walks of life. This is what the experts call “special populations training” and it is part of our personal training courses at learndirect. Whether you have a disability or high cholesterol, good personal trainers are trained to cater for that in your personal programme. With that in mind, look out for personal trainers who have a recognised qualification, such as our Diploma in Personal Training and Fitness Instruction. This course awards a Level 3 RQF qualification that is regulated and approved by Ofqual, which signifies that the training is legitimate and to an excellent standard. 


3. They don’t do a decent interview before you start


Personal trainer dragging client on floor on a racetrack. Bad personal trainer concept.

How can you develop a tailor-made programme for someone you know nothing about? Your personal trainer needs to consider who you are, what you need and what your end goals are before you even set eyes on the weights. Only then can they create a decent programme for you that meets your individual needs. 

A PT should know how to help you achieve your goals and push you to be the best you can be. It is this mission to get you fit and healthy, in the safest possible way, that should drive everything your personal trainer does. 


4. They care more about themselves than they do about you


Your personal trainer isn’t being paid to look at their watch or phone while you go on the bike. With good experience and a good qualification under their belt, personal trainers will know how to make you feel good as a client. They will take a genuine interest in you and your lifestyle and demonstrate a desire to help you become happier and healthier. Their job is to motivate and coach clients so you should be their main priority at all times whilst in training. 


5. They are clock watching

Personal trainer clock watching

Personal trainers may be paid by the hour, but that doesn't mean that you're their client just for that hour. They should be invested in your all-round health and wellbeing, and this interest goes well beyond the hour(s) they spend with you. 

Do they ask you about your diet? Do they encourage you to meet your targets? Personal trainers have an in-depth knowledge of nutrition and health, so they should be supporting you with your overall health, whenever you need them to. As mentioned above, the purpose of a personal trainer is to help people transform their lives so if your trainer doesn't have an obvious passion for people, then it may be time to look elsewhere. 

Happy personal trainer with client with thumbs up in gym.

We all need gentle persuasion in the gym. As well as your own willpower and determination, a good personal trainer really is the key to your success. Because of this, the health and fitness industry is crying out for top-notch professionals. Do all of us fitness fanatics a favour: if you're reading this and think you can do better, take the first step in your career as a pro (and good!) personal trainer and earn a personal trainer qualification with learndirect today! We have a range of fitness instructor courses, including: 

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