Top 10 ways to know if your trainer is worthless

Personal trainerHaving been an aerobics instructor and a personal trainer, I am always amazed at the number of trainers who really don't cut the mustard. I often wince when I see trainers 'training' individuals when they are clearly incompetent. Mostly because the people they are 'training' are in the dark about what they should be getting from the relationship and service. As a result, I've put together a list of 'Top Ten Ways to know if Your Trainer is Worthless.' Hopefully you'll find these insightful and helpful and maybe even a little amusing.

#10. Late Lolita and Early Eddie: You find that even though you are paying your trainer through the nose, he or she still manages to arrive late and cut the session short. They may chalk it up to how busy they are, but you are paying them good money and they are providing you a service...make sure you are paying them for a full session and that you aren't getting short changed.

#9. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Your trainer is more concerned with how he or she looks than actually watching you and your form. If your trainer is really good, then they most likely look pretty good, are fit and most importantly, are confident about it. They won't need to continuously flex for you, ask you to feel how hard their muscles are or admire themselves in the mirror. Make sure they pay attention to you and your needs, are active listeners and are attentive.

#8. A Picture Says a 1000 Pounds: Ok...so this may sound a little superficial, but if your personal trainer doesn't look the part, then they probably aren't a good trainer. It is rare that a really good personal trainer can't train themselves. If your trainer is pudgy and chowing down on a donut while you do push-ups, there is a good chance they don't take exercise and fitness all that seriously. If the trainer looks the part, then they probably know what they are doing for themselves, which often extends into them knowing what to do for you. Stick with the trainers you look up to and respect.

#7. Gossip Girl: Unless your trainer is truly your best friend, you probably shouldn't know very much about their personal life. If your personal trainer regales you with intimate details of their hot date from Saturday night, dishes on friends or keeps you abreast of Britney's latest dramas, there is a good chance your trainer is not very focused on your workout and what you are getting from the session. Further, if you notice that you are physically capable of chatting with them, you most likely aren't working very hard. If this happens, tell them to find a good therapist or a new best friend...you aren't there to chat, you are there to exercise.

#6. Clock Watching. That's right...you want your trainer to have an eye towards the time. A good training session should be paced well and active...meaning, a lot of your rests/breaks should be timed and somewhat short. If your trainer has a stop watch and uses it, that is a good sign. Further, if you feel like you aren't quite ready for a break to end and they push you to move on, there is a good chance you are getting your money's worth.

#5. Debbie Downer. You have probably hired a trainer because you need motivation and help getting into shape or maintaining your shape. If you are having a hard time getting to the gym yourself, you don't need someone else telling you how tired they are, how their life sucks, or that they could barely get their '_ss' in gear that morning. Honestly, buck up buddy! Instead, you want someone who is positive, motivating and makes you feel like you can achieve your goals.

#4. You can do the routine in your sleep. If you notice that your workout or session with your trainer is the same, every time you get together, then there is something wrong. Anyone could go to Borders, buy a book on personal training and use the same routine every time. The point of having a trainer is to have them do the thinking and come up with new and interesting things to do that 1) challenge you, 2) motivate you and 3) are fun. Yes, fun. That is definitely part of their job.

#3. You Look Fabulous Dahling. If your personal trainer tells you after your first session that they see major differences, chances are they are patronizing you and probably want you to think that they are miracle workers. Not to say they shouldn't be positive, but you need someone to be honest with you about what is working and what isn't working. Moreover, it takes time and effort on both of your parts to make change happen. It won't happen over night. Lastly, constructive criticism is more helpful than pacification.

#2. Getting Intimate. Your trainer should look at you, your lifestyle and your fitness regimen holistically. If they don't take the time to understand what motivates you, your goals, your concerns, and your eating habits, then they aren't doing their job. Moreover, if you notice the format and sessions that they take you through look 99% the same as everyone else's you should be on alert. Your trainer needs to understand the 'whole you' to create a fitness plan that is personalized and that works specifically for you. Otherwise, you most likely won't see any results.

#1. And to that point...You Don't see any Results. If you go to a personal trainer for a few weeks and you aren't seeing any results, it is a clue that you are wasting your money. Granted, you should have realistic goals and expectations, but you should see some sort of change within a couple of weeks (assuming you are following a holistic plan). If you aren't, your trainer should be in tune enough to adjust the format so that you get more out of the sessions. If they don't, then you should bring it up and see if they make the change. If they don't, move on.

There probably are a bunch more of these tidbits, but these tend to cover the most important pieces. Hiring a personal trainer can be very rewarding if you find a good one. However, if you find one that isn't, you are probably wasting your time and money. Be choosey...the results will pay off.