5 signs your personal trainer is wasting your time

Who wants to workout with a PT that actually doesn’t really know what he is doing, or might either create injury either just take your money and waste your time ?

Personal Training London Bridge

Not Assessing / Reassessing

The saying goes “if you’re not assessing, your guessing” and nobody should guess when it comes to your health and fitness. This is why, I don’t offer taster sessions – it is not ethical or professional to train anyone who hasn’t been health screened. I don’t need to tell you the human body is complicated, and before embarking on a training programme, clients should be thoroughly evaluated. Furthermore, the tests should reflect the client’s goals and training age. Indeed, if fat loss and body recomposition is the goal, then why are you testing their strength with a bench press? Why does their jump height matter? Testing needs to be valid, safe, and reliable. Testing is the foundation of good programming, goal setting, and health achievement. If your personal trainer is not testing, then walk away, save your money, a haphazard approach will only produce haphazard results. Testing is a fundamental requirement of a personal trainer, if they are not doing this, then they are not doing the job properly. If they don’t test, how are they supposed to meet your needs?

No Programming / No Bookkeeping

This has to be one of my biggest bugbears of mine, both as a coach and a teacher to personal trainers. This is not jazz, you don’t just make it up as you go along. Well, a large majority of personal trainers do, sorry to say. Programming takes time, knowledge and an understanding of the induvial you have in front of you. They need to record all the key details of each session, set, reps, weight, time, notes, movement etc…. How would they know if you are progressing?

 How would you feel, if a doctor just made it up as he went along, no planning, no recording no evaluation, horrified, I hope! Hold your personal trainer to the same standard. They both significantly affect your health and wellbeing, this is a bare minimum. One telling sign this is happening to you, is your trainer isn’t writing anything down during your sessions. Call me cynical, but I don’t believe all personal trainers have a photographic memory and can recall every minute detail for every session they have ever done.  Good programming and bookkeeping aren’t the sexiest or eye-catching aspect of fitness, but it is the difference between an amateur and a professional coach. 


Personal training is a profession. We change people’s lives for the better, we push people, educate people, and we love what we do. It is not a hobby or a side job, or a way to make some quick money. It’s a vocation, a lifestyle. So, when I see unprofessional, disinterested coaches, my heart sinks, you’re either in this 100% or not at all. A personal trainer’s job is to inspire, motivate, teach and improve the health of their clients.

If your coach doesn’t make you feel like this, walk away, get another. I teach my students that coaching is a performance. There is a theatrical aspect to coaching clients when you’re with them.  You should radiate, enjoying training your client every second, of every session. It should be undeniable the enthusiasm and energy you bring into the training session (don’t go overboard though!!). Nobody wants a mono-toned, grumpy, disinterested coach. When clients received this kind of service, this can put them off exercise altogether, which is a crime, so take the reasonability seriously.

So, if your coach doesn’t turn up on time, isn’t clean, doesn’t look professional, doesn’t seem interested or attentive, doesn’t make eye contact or doesn’t have a plan and worst of all is looking at  his phone or eating during your session :  run, run of the hills, and give me their number…. It brings the whole profession down, and you deserve better as a client.

Social Media Narcissist

Social media is a large part of the fitness industry, whether you like it or not. It’s a great tool to share motivation, inspire, educate others, share cutting edge research and methods, advertise your services and connect with a larger audience. However, it has a dark side, it can promote overly image concise coaches, overly concern on what’s on the outside, promote and normalize self-absorbed, overly narcissist behaviour, and this is not healthy, for the trainer or the client.


Look, we all want to look better, we want to take pride in the way we look, we want to signal to the world : “hey, look, I’ve got my shit together, check the packaging”.  It is a great feeling to have a rocking body. There is nothing wrong with waiting to aspire to that. A large portion of clients come to personal trainers to lose some weight, look and feel better. But if your coaches only qualifications are an Instagram account of bum and abs pictures of themselves, hopefully, this should raise a perfectly drawn-on eyebrow. There is a lot more to fitness and wellbeing then image.

Does your coach understand the physiology of fat loss? Do they understand your point of view and experiences, do they spend more time taking selfies and looking in the mirror during your sessions than coaching you? And have they ever used the dreaded phrase : “well, this is what worked me”. Your coach needs to understand how to individualize your sessions for YOU, not just do what worked for them. Not everyone is the same, and if they don’t understand this, then leave.

Too Much of a yes man

Part of being a PT is pushing your clients beyond what they expect of themselves, and to do this, you can’t be a yes man. You can’t be afraid to offend your clients by challenging their believes and opinions. Because if their believes are wrong, for example, they think HIIT training and cutting out carbs is the golden ticket, this is what is holding them back. They are ways and mean of doing this of course, but if you’re being paid to produce results, you and your client need to be laser-focused about what is REALLY required to achieve the goal.


Setting the clients expectation from the start is the first step to success. I ’ve witnessed too many coaches, pander to the client and lead them to believe 1 session a week and not changing their diet, will give them the body they want, because coaches are too afraid to get real with them. Being a yes man, and telling your client what they want to hear, minimum effort, maximum results, is the quickest way to make a sale…..sure.  Unfortunately, you are not being set up to succeed, because none of you are living in reality,


I mean this with all due respect, but training and dieting are hard, and for clients to succeed, they might have to come to the realization their lifestyle and choices up to this point, have been wrong, and that’s not easy.  It’s natural, people want to take the path of least resilienc. It’s human nature. Maybe your personal trainer, has some kind hack, short cut or inside knowledge that will make it easier. Yes, a trainer can motivate, organize, plan, test and train you, but they are no magic exercises or foods, unfortunately, and if your trainer says otherwise, they are a yes man, looking to make a quick buck from your ignorance.  You can’t be afraid to tell clients what it really takes to get to 12% body fat.


What do I do?

 if the client goal is fat loss.  I get pictures of people, man or woman, at different body fat percentages and ask them, which one do you want to look like?  I then calculate their body fat. I tell them, how long it will take for them, how many calories, how many days a week of training it will take.  I tell them it will take dedication and commitment. I tell them everything I can do for, the check-ins, the planning, the training, and the accountability.  Because this is the reality of the situation and this is how to get results!  If your trainer doesn’t tell you what it really takes, and strings you along, so you keep lying those golden eggs, stop wasting your time. A coach should push you, not pander to you.


  1. Does your trainer test and retest?
  2. Does he record and program?
  3. Is he professional?
  4. Is he more interested in himself than your training?
  5. Is he yes manning you?
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