Your trainer might be IS an idiot… (and most likely an a**hole)
In 25 years of competing in NPC competitions (yes competing, not just working out in the gym) I have seen with my own eyes things that trainers have done that would make your head spin…
- Wearing flip flops while their clients was doing legs and trying to spot them
- Wearing a pistol on their hip while with a client
- Photo shopping their own and their clients pics, posting on social media to pick up more clients
- Not even looking at their client when they are doing heavy squats or leg press (the client ended up hyper extending their knee, the machine crashed on her legs and broke both of them. She sued the gym for several million dollars and won)
- Printing off a workout program they just googled while their client walks in the door
- And my favorite, not showing up for a clients session and texting them a workout program to do
This could turn into a rant about just stupid s**t I’ve seen people do in the gym, but what I really wanted to talk about today was how to spot a decent trainer in a sea of shysters, snake oil salesmen, and “bros”.
First off, who is the best trainer? The one you will go to. What’s the best motivation method, the one that pushes you. Who will push you further than you were yesterday, the one that’s there for you when you want to quit. There’s a lot of different training styles out there, if you don’t agree watch the original Karate Kid. Spot the difference between Cobra Kai and Mr. Miagi. Some people appreciate the push and the abuse, others need to be coaxed into their comfort zone. There’s nothing wrong with any of these methods, it all boils down to what works for you.
I personally think it isn’t so much “who should I go to” as much as “what should I watch out for”. So here are a list of things you should always avoid when seeking out a personal trainer or training “expert”:
Any trainer that reads this and automatically assumes it’s about them:
The law of mirrors kids… if you don’t know what that is, look it up.
Anyone who goes by “coach”, “expert”, “world renown training expert” or the like:
In order to call yourself a Personal Trainer, you must undergo a standardized test by a nationally recognized organization. Only then can you legally refer to yourself as a CPT, or Certified Personal Trainer. Now some certifications are better than others, and some aren’t worth the paper they are written on, but bottom line if someone doesn’t have “CPT” behind their name, that means they didn’t even bother spending an hour to take a test that shows they have minimum knowledge of the industry they are trying to “instruct”. Do you want this person to be in charge of your health?
Anyone who tries to sign you up or sell you a set of “supplements” or “energy pills”:
Supplements are NOT necessary for ANYONE to succeed. They are convenient, and they taste good, that’s all. No miracles, no secrets, nothing better than you can do yourself with a cup of coffee and a balanced diet. I can’t count the number of pro athletes that take absolutely NO sports supplements whatsoever, and some of the original sponsored athletes from famous sports supplement companies are coming forward to say they have never used the products they represent. The sad fact is that the people pushing supplements on you usually make a cut of the profits.
Anyone who compares you to themselves or other clients:
“This is what I do for my abs, *pulls up shirt and flexes*. If you do this, your abs will look like this too”.
This is a personal pet peeve, because genetically EVERY SINGLE PERSON is different. Me personally, no matter how hard I work my abs, no matter how hard I diet, no matter how much or how little cardio I do… my abs will never show through unless I flex them. On the other hand, my calves are 19’ and I have never worked them one day in my entire life. IFBB Pro Lee Priest was the same way, they asked him in a magazine shoot about calves and he had NO idea how to use the calf machines they wanted him to shoot on. Chances are if someone has an outstanding body-part, they were most likely born with it. If you want to improve your lagging body-part, find someone that that had a crappy body-part that is no longer crappy, and ask them how they did it. You would be surprised what you learn.
Anyone that says you NEED two hours or more of cardio per day:
25 years ago someone pulled the number “2 hours” out of their ass and set this as a “standard” for working hard in the gym. For some reason the myth still exists that in order to get lean, you should do 2 hours of cardio per day. Without going into details in this article, NOBODY HAS to do two hours of cardio to get leaner. There is a whole theory behind using your own muscle to burn away fat using short high intense cardio sessions, and hours and hours of cardio will actually slow down your metabolism. I’m not saying people don’t do it, and I’m not saying that there aren’t a few people out there that look great doing it. What I am saying is it is NOT the only way to get leaner or loose fat.
Anyone that hands you a diet and training program without a questionnaire or interview first:
Online training has caused one of the worst problems in the history of fitness, Canned workout and diet programs. I can name off the top of my head at least 20 trainers (local and nationwide) that “recycle” the same diet and workout plans between clients regardless of age, sex, goals etc. Although it’s perfectly acceptable to have a standard starting plan to establish a baseline, no two people have the same genetic makeup and one long term plan does NOT fit all. Just for example, when I used to train new clients, I would have them fill out a 10 page questionnaire and waiver, do a comprehensive blood panel every 3 months, and require a weekly check in to re-evaluate and adjust their plan according to their goals. As a trainer, anything less and you are not doing a client any personal justice. You’re just handing them the same BS you gave the last person.
Anyone that says they have over 30 clients at any one time:
“I have over 120 prep clients worldwide”… OK, no you don’t. So let’s figure it out, $200 a month 120 worldwide clients… that equals $24,000 a MONTH. The vast majority of full time personal trainers make about $24,000 a YEAR not a month. So let’s also say, just for example, you are a full time personal trainer, 40 hours per week, and you spend one hour with each client 3x per week. All things being equal, that’s 13 FULL TIME clients you can handle per week before running out of time. I have personally been in this industry for 25 years and the most number of clients I have ever seen a trainer work with is 25 per week. (That being said, I am referring to one on one PT sessions NOT group sessions and not referring to those clients that pay and don’t show up)
This isn’t a comprehensive list, just a few things to watch out for when you are entrusting someone with your health!