10 Reasons to Fire Your Personal Trainer

Personal training can be an excellent resource whether you're a beginner or an experienced exerciser. A good trainer can help you figure out what to do with your time, teach you how to exercise the right way and provide accountability and motivation.

But, personal training is kind of like a marriage and, like marriages, not every personal training relationship works out.

The following are just a few issues that may come up but always talk to your trainer about any issues you're having. If you can't work it out, it may be time to find another personal trainer.


Your Trainer Is Always Late or Cancels on You

Personal trainer with digital tablet talking with woman in gym
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Emergencies happen to everyone and it's inevitable that some appointments may get canceled. But if you've noticed your trainer canceling more appointments than they are keeping or they are always late (without making up the time), have a talk with them and express your concerns.

If you feel uncomfortable doing that, try to keep it casual, saying something like, "You know, I really have to be at work by a certain time.  If this time isn't working, could we come up with a solution?"  

If they don't make some changes or acknowledge their mistakes, it may be time to move on.


Your Trainer Doesn't Return Phone Calls or Emails

Your trainer isn't just supposed to be there during your sessions, they should also be there if you have questions or problems outside of your scheduled appointments.

Communication is key, whether you're setting appointments or asking questions about workouts.

If your trainer isn't responding, talk to them and ask for a reasonable response time (say 24-48 hours). You might say something like, "I sent you an email about my workout and I didn't hear back. I wanted to make sure you're getting my emails."

If you're still not getting what you need, it might be time to move on.


Your Trainer Doesn't Give You His Full Attention

If your trainer interrupts your workouts to talk to buddies in the gym, take random phone calls or just doesn't pay attention to you during workouts, that's an issue that needs to be discussed right away.

Sometimes interruptions are inevitable and not every trainer is going to be at their best all the time...but, if you feel like you're being ignored, talk to them about it. They may not be aware there's a problem. If they don't change their behavior, you may need to find another trainer.

Again, this requires some type of confrontation and it may be hard to broach the subject, but remember you're paying for a valuable service.  They work for you.  You might just get their attention during the workout by regularly asking, "Is this the right way to do this?" 

If that doesn't work, maybe that trainer isn't right for you.


Your Trainer Doesn't Respond to Your Feedback

A personal training relationship is really a collaboration. Your trainer should set up workouts and then change them according to what you need and how things feel.

If your trainer isn't doing that or has you doing workouts that are way out of your wheelhouse, express your concerns.

Giving feedback is the only way they can change things. Many trainers aren't even aware that there's a problem, so always say something. You might just say something like, "You know, that last workout was great, but I'd love a workout that was a little less intense. I was just exhausted for the rest of the day."


Your Trainer Pushes Questionable Supplements

You may find that some health clubs and their trainers sell supplements and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

But, you should always talk to your doctor about any supplements before taking them, especially if you're on any other medication which may be affected by other supplements.

If your trainer pushes you to buy something you're not sure about, let them know your concerns. This may not be a firing offense, but make sure they understand where you're coming from.


Your Trainer Diagnoses Injuries or Illnesses

Your trainer can do a lot of things - set up workouts, teach you how to exercise and even listen to you vent about your crazy boss.

What they can't do is diagnose any injuries or illnesses. It's fine to talk to your trainer about any problems you're having, but they should always refer you to a doctor.

And if they urge you to work through any pain that doesn't feel right, that's a no-no as well.


You Don't Get Along

Much of a good personal training relationship is about personalities, so it won't always be a match made in heaven.

If you prefer a more vocal trainer who will push you very hard but end up with a more laid-back trainer, it's fine to tell him what you're looking for.

They may be able to give you what you need or, if not, recommend a trainer that will better fit your needs.


Your Trainer Is Too Flirty

Personal training can be an intimate relationship. Your trainer knows your measurements, your weight, your food fears...that can create an open environment, which is good.

But you should always feel comfortable around your trainer. If they make a pass at you or flirts a little too much, you might need to bring that up.  If that feels uncomfortable, you might bring up your significant other at regular intervals and make sure this person knows you're involved with someone else.

If it's really out of hand, you may just need to move on.


You Feel You're Being Taken Advantage of

Most trainers are good, decent people but there will always be a few out there looking to make a quick buck.

If you feel your trainer cuts your workouts short on a regular basis or is charging you more than you agreed on, sit down and discuss the problem...it may be a simple misunderstanding.

You might say, "When I signed up, I thought our sessions were an hour long.  Am I wrong about that?"

If things don't change, move on. 


You're Ready to Go out on Your Own

Of course, not all personal training relationship have to end because of bad things. At some point, most clients do decide to try things on their own and that's actually a good thing.

Don't be afraid to tell your trainer when you're ready to move on...if they are an experienced trainer, they'll respect that and help you figure out how to make the transition to exercising on your own.

You might say, "You've helped me so much...so much so that I think I'm ready to go out on my own.  Can you help me do that?"

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."