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Causing Injury, Failing To Respect Boundaries And Not Listening: 6 PT Red Flags Revealed

personal trainer works with client

When looking to get fit in 2022 the average gym-goer is a lot more likely to enlist the help of an expert personal trainer, with searches for ‘personal trainer near me’ up 8% in the last year. 

Sometimes it’s easy to be swayed by a trainer’s social media presence, great value or toned physique.

However it’s important to do your research before choosing the right trainer for you. Although a personal trainer can be a great motivator, choosing the wrong one can set you back with an injury or knock in confidence. 

With that in mind, personal training education provider, Origym, has listed the key ‘red flags’ to look out for when searching for a personal trainer to kickstart your fitness goals.

We spoke with Luke Hughes, Level 4 Personal Trainer at OriGym, for his advice on the do’s and don’ts when hiring a new personal trainer.

1. Do they listen to YOUR individual needs?

Your body and its abilities are unique to you, so a one size fits all fitness plan won’t be optimal for your results. It needs to be tailored, tried and tested to make sure you’re happy and confident with each exercise. 

When looking for a personal trainer make sure they understand your goals, abilities and comfort zone so that each session is the perfect mix of hard work and fun. 

If you see your programme being regurgitated to other clients, it’s a red flag.

2. Are they qualified?
All qualified personal trainers will have a Level 3 qualification as the industry standard in the UK.

If your personal trainer starts talking about nutrition plans, injury rehabilitation or anything that isn’t covered in their Level 3 qualification, make sure you ask to see their credentials to ensure they’re qualified to give you that advice. 

Personal trainers are fitness professionals, not doctors or dieticians. 

Taking medical advice from someone who isn’t qualified will get you a one-way ticket to injuryville. 

3. Is your personal trainer present?

When working with a personal trainer you’re paying for their full, undivided attention and time for that hour.

So if you see your trainer typing away on their phone or leaving you un-supervised to get on with sets it’s important to understand the dangers this could cause

If you’re a beginner in the gym it’s your personal trainer’s job to make sure your technique is correct and you’re training safely. 

If the trainer is paying too much attention to their Instagram or other social media channels during your session, it’s time to swipe left.

4. Do they upsell?
Supplements, nutrition plans and extra sessions can definitely aid your fitness journey, however they are NOT essential.

Gym kit, a water bottle and determination is all you need to make a positive change – do not be sucked in if your personal trainer is trying to sell you fancy programs or scientific supplements. 

Most of the time these supplements are not needed and will make little difference to your overall results. 

If your trainer is giving you a hard sales pitch, meet it with a hard no.

5. Are they tracking your progress?
To make progress in the gym you need to ensure you are tracking your sessions so you can see how far you’ve come, both mentally and physically. 

Every session you have with your trainer should be carried out with the hope of you progressing, to do this your personal trainer needs to make sure they’re organised and tracking each session. 

This could be in the form of manually writing down the weight of each lift you perform, tracking fat loss or noting down your personal best times on the treadmill.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or technical, but it does have to be done.

Organisation and effective tracking is the key to optimal results, don’t be caught out with a lazy trainer who hinders your progress! 

6. Do they respect your boundaries? 

The gym can be an intimidating place for newbies, your personal trainer should be there to make your fitness experience easier and more comfortable, so it’s important to find a trainer that’s the right fit for you.

If you’ve made it clear you’d like to be eased in slowly, and your trainer is insistent on ‘beasting’ you in every session – they’re probably not the best option for you. 

You want to make sure you’re enjoying each session, not dreading each session and counting down the minutes till you’re free. 

Make your boundaries clear to your trainer from the beginning, and if those boundaries aren’t respected, respectfully… walk away. 

Luke Hughes from Origym, said:  “The best personal trainers listen to their clients’ individual needs and resist offering a one-size-fits-all programme. 

“If you’re a total novice but you’re looking to transform your body, you might need a trainer who has a more results-focussed approach. 

“Intense training methods aren’t for everyone, which is why it’s important to highlight your boundaries to your trainer early on so you’re sessions are as enjoyable as possible.

“They should also be happy to allow their clients to spread their wings when they’ve gained sufficient confidence to be independent in the gym.”

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