Fitness: When to Kick Your Trainer to the Curb

April 11 2013, 1:58 PM

Personal trainers don't come cheap, and it may take a few sessions to determine whether or not you bought a lemon. If you see any of these warning signs, you should feel no remorse about making a switch.

Day 1 feels a lot like a Biggest Loser episode. You should not be vomiting in a corner or running until you pass out. Your first session with a trainer should be a series of assessments that will help them understand your limitations, functional fitness, and experience. Only then should your trainer begin customizing your workout routine.

Your workout routine comes with a diet plan. Unless your trainer is a dietician, don't let them design your diet. They're educated to talk about lots of things—calorie intake, vitamins, body fat percentage, even the pros and cons of different diet plans—but what you eat on Wednesday is better left to a pro.

Your workout never changes. Your trainer should be able to talk intelligently about the reasons behind their plan for you. If you haven't added a rep, modified a move, or seen a new machine since you started, there's a good chance your trainer is phoning it in. That's an especially dangerous chance, considering he or she needs to know how to make changes in response to pain or over exertion.

They diagnose your injury. Your trainer is not a physician. See a doctor if necessary, and let the trainer construct a recovery plan for you afterwards.

They get handsy. There will be physical contact. Educated trainers should give you a heads-up beforehand or check in to make sure it's OK. When it goes from careful to creepy, it might be time to set up a nice chat with the trainer's boss.

If things need to end, don't worry about setting aside extra time for the breakup talk. Just tell them you need to try something (and someone) new after a training session, then make some appointments and give a few others a spin. Just don't sign any long-term contracts until you can can compare the old and new styles first.

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