12 Reasons to Fire Your Personal Trainer


12 Reasons to Fire Your Personal Trainer

1. Your trainer is a poor match.
Training is a personality-driven business. More important than credentials, or even knowledge, the trainer’s personality must be a good match with yours. The trainer’s job is to be upbeat, positive and always in a good mood. Mood management is a hallmark of the true professional. If the two of you fight like a married couple, it’s a poor match.

2. You’re getting injured.
Even with the best personal trainers, an occasional injury is unavoidable, but when you have constant, nagging, recurrent injuries, your trainer isn’t paying attention to proper form and technique.

3. No results or poor results.
Some clients have unrealistic expectations about what they can or cannot do; however, if you feel like you’re on that treadmill-to-nowhere, never making progress with your weight loss or strength goals, then it’s a good bet your trainer is incompetent. Which leads us to number 4…

4. No record-keeping.
For fat loss in particular, it’s very important to document progress with anthropometric measurements and before/after photos. Skin folds and other measures of body composition are generally inaccurate but can sometimes be useful in gauging the general trend of fat loss progress. If your trainer isn’t keeping precise records, including recording each workout, then he’s simply lazy.

5. Not paying attention to your stated goals and needs.
Goals should be hammered out during the first meeting and everything should be made clear. If the trainer doesn’t keep his agreement and starts to veer from the agreed-upon path, then it’s time to say adios.

6. You’re in a constant state of fatigue from your workouts.
Included here is frequent colds and other illness, constantly aching joints, especially a “heaviness” of the limbs. This means your trainer is driving you into the dreaded overtraining. Working out is meant to enhance your quality of life and make you feel better, not worse. This doesn’t mean your goals don’t require hard work–they do–but a good trainer knows the difference between under and over training and should be able to figure out the proper dose of exercise for you, if he’s any good at all.

7. Using negative reinforcement.
Most people feel bad enough about themselves already and don’t need anybody else to make them feel worse. Personal training is to help you feel good about yourself and enforce positive habits and positive self-image. Some clients may seem to respond well to being berating and insulting in a boot camp/drill instructor style, but in my experience, people who like this kind of training have a masochistic disorder, enjoying emotional beat downs. Words are powerful tools and affect the subconscious mind. Using negative techniques does nothing to promote health and healing. As a young trainer, I used to fall into this pattern because I thought it was cool and macho but later I realized it created more harm than good…for them and me.

8. Your trainer complains about his own personal issues on your time.
Your trainer is paid to be there for you. Part of that entails paying all of his attention to the details of your workout and supporting you in your optimal performance. There’s no room for sharing personal gossip. If he’s a constant complainer, run for the nearest exit! I’ve also heard trainers engage with their clients in a gab-fest and end up talking more than doing.

9. Your trainer is always late.
This is an indication he has no respect for you or your time. Subconsciously, he’s not looking forward to seeing you and doing his job. When people are late for appointments, they’re avoiding and procrastinating the meeting because they don’t want to be there–this includes taking cell phone calls and texting during the workout. There are times these things are unavoidable, but anymore than very occasional is a waste of your money. Find someone who’s in the moment with you.

10. Your trainer is a Don Juan.
There’s an old saying, “you don’t sh*t where you eat”. These relationships rarely work out. There’s undeniably sexual attraction when two people meet and it happens in every professional setting. Casual flirtation is harmless. Letting people know you find them attractive can be a great ego boost. But when your trainer is a known player around the gym, you may do better with someone with a better handle on who they really are. Maturity on this level is a good indicator of professional commitment. The energy should be going into your workout, not titillations.

11. He’s letting you get away with murder–and you know it.
Sometimes trainers put clients through ridiculously easy workouts (they don’t push you, permit sloppy form, stick you on aerobic equipment while they just talk to you) just to make some easy money. They don’t progress you or design new programs. Or they switch up your program so frequently there are no meaningful gains made. They don’t admonish you for diet infractions or missed workouts or touch on any seemingly unpleasant topics because they’re interested only in your money, not you and your progress. A true fitness professional will call you on your bullsh!t because he’s about earning the money he’s paid.

12. Poor personal health and workout habits.
If your trainer shows up for your appointment looking like he slept in his clothes, sloppy and disheveled, it means he has no personal pride in his profession or appearance. The same goes for fat trainers. If your goal is weight loss, how can you expect someone else’s help if they can’t discipline their own eating? Another old saying in the coaching business: you can’t take someone else where you haven’t been.

Fatties in the weight-loss business are something to be avoided like the plague.

Before the flames arrive, let me clarify: I’m not talking about a power lifting coach or someone training strongmen. Being heavy and carrying extra body fat can be an advantage in these types of events. I’m talking about people who work with the general public where weight control and increased health are the primary goals. In my opinion, there’s no place for fat trainers. If you’re a fat trainer reading this, have some pride in your appearance, follow your own advice and get the weight off, otherwise you’re in the wrong profession.

Further, I’d like to state that in over 36 years of working in the personal training business, I have violated many of these rules at one time or another…and I later regretted it. I’ve lost both clients and income and–worse–people’s trust in me. Luckily, I’m a fast learner and corrected these mistakes and became a better trainer for it.

** Model/personal training client Bernadette Buckley puts up with Coach Steve’s nonsense for the benefit of all. He was promptly fired.

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About Steve Maxwell 2 Articles

About Steve Maxwell
“There’s nothing new under the sun, it’s how you put it together,” says Steve Maxwell.
Steve Maxwell’s apparently supernatural talent at program design comes from 35 years of experience in fitness training and coaching.
Recognized as one of today’s most creative strength and conditioning coaches, his talent for constructing fresh, well rounded, and effective mixed-modality workouts is legendary.
Steve holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from West Chester State University, in PA. He was the first American to earn a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, certified by Relson Gracie.
Steve is widely known as the American Master of the Russian Kettlebell. He is also the man who taught the first kettlebell classes in the United States, at Maxercise Sports/Fitness, the gym that he owned and operated for 16 years in Philadelphia. His creativity and ability with kettlebells is internationally renowned.
Steve’s development of Joint Mobility workouts for dynamic mobility is the latest example of how he integrates multiple disciplines and techniques, producing an effective and accessible system for retaining or regaining range of motion.
Steve is highly in demand for Strength & Conditioning, Joint Mobility, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminars. He has worked with various US Government agencies, including DEA, Secret Service, and FBI as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies throughout the country.
He’s trained professional athletes, including players for the Phillies, Dodgers and Eagles. He also owned and operated Maxercise Gym, one of the top training gyms in Philadelphia, for 16 years.
He was named one of the Top 100 Trainers in the US by Men’s Journal, and has been published and featured in books and magazines including: Men’s Journal, Mens Health, Muscle Media, Hard Style, The Russian Kettlebell Challenge and The Naked Warrior.
Steve has a long history of competitive grappling. He wrestled competitively through high school and college, and then in the US Army. His BJJ competition record includes six Pan American Championships and three International Master-Senior Championships.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Career Highlights:

    • 1997 National Purple Belt Champion GJJTA
    • 1998 Runner-up Purple Belt GJJTA
    • 1999 Purple Belt Pan American Champion
    • 2000 Brown Belt Senior World Champion
    • 2000 Brown Belt Senior Pan American Champion
    • 2001 Brown Belt Senior World Champion
    • 2002 Black Belt Senior Pan American Champion
    • 2002 Black Belt Senior World Champion
    • 2004 Black Belt Senior Pan American Champion
  • One of three American Black Belts to hold a world title.

Fit for Whatever Comes Next
Always teaching, always coaching, Steve travels around the world leading seminars in Strength & Conditioning, BJJ, Kettlebells, and Joint Mobility.
Besides his incredible strength and vitality, Steve is best known, perhaps, for his natural ability to connect with his clients and students, thereby bringing out their best effort and performance.

Steve’s Services

Learn about Steve’s Courses

MaxwellSC Store
The MaxwellSC Store features a wide variety of great fitness products including the highly popular Steve Maxwell Training DVD Series. Don’t miss the great deals!
Online Personal Training!
Train under the personal direction of Steve Maxwell, world-class athlete and physical educator with close to forty years experience.

Personal supervision is one of the secrets to success in physical training of any kind. During the last 60 years alone, people have purchased millions of books and training courses from experts in the exercise field but usually with little or nothing in the way of worthwhile results. High hopes quickly turn to disappointment. It’s difficult to communicate clearly on the subject just by written word.

The solution is a person-to-person approach to the problem. I’m now offering my services for telephone and online workout supervision. I’m convinced that very few people have the capacity to select workouts and work themselves out in a productive way on their own. If it were easy, guys like me wouldn’t have jobs.

Facts are facts’but people are individual. Even in this modern age, fitness training is still as much art as science. Each person is unique with unique issues. Many trainers follow so-called .cookie-cutter. workouts but the application of training techniques must be made on an individual basis. Standard, printed programs will never produce the same results as individualized, person-to-person training instruction.

And it doesn’t matter what equipment you have available. Any progressive resistance equipment can be used: barbells, dumbbells, squat racks, dip bars, kettlebells, pull-up bars, clubbells’all can be incorporated into a productive program.

Are you following a workout plan from a muscle magazine, popular book, local gym or a combination of the above? Are you getting the results you want?

If not, avail yourself of my forty-plus years of experience in the field of physical training by signing up for online or (limited) phone consulting.

Private Phone Consultations

Steve Maxwell is available for private phone consultations! The rate is $100 per hour and scheduling depends upon Steve’s availability. Once you have purchased your phone consultation Steve will follow up to schedule an appointment that suits both of your schedules.

Due to Steve’s hectic schedule and his desire to respond to these requests in a timely manner, we request only serious inquiries that pertain to health, exercise, and overall fitness. Thank you for observing and respecting this stipulation!

Contact us if you have questions or comments pertaining to private phone consultations.

Private Training Sessions

Contact us for inquiries/arrangements/schedule availability.

Imagine the progress you’ll make with Steve Maxwell as your personal strength and conditioning coach!

Sessions are held in and around San Francisco at Steve’s discretion. Typically local parks or possibly in your home if the location is convenient.

The cost is $200 per session. Session length can vary. Steve’s workouts are less than an hour, hard, and furious. Frankly, nobody’s ever asked him to stick around longer.
Important note regarding Steve’s personal training services

Because Steve’s programs are personalized and overseen with acute attention, in order to maintain the highest quality of service to the list of current trainees, Steve is no longer taking on new clients. If you’d like to be added to the wait list, please contact us and you will be notified when Steve has an opening.

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