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Should You Break Up with Your Personal Trainer?

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There are obvious reasons why you should stop seeing a personal trainer: You can no longer afford it, there's a negative shift in his or her approach, or the chemistry you felt during the few sessions has dwindled and you're no longer on the same page. But some signs that you should break up aren't so glaring, especially when your trainer has been so good to you in the past. If you notice the following, it's time to say good-bye.

1. He pushes you too hard. It's great if your trainer challenges and motivates you, but being pushed to the point of injury, exhaustion, or constant soreness is not okay. Ask for your routine to be modified, and if he ignores that request, move on.

2. You're seeing few results. This might seem obvious, but if you don't feel and see a difference in your body after an appropriate period of time (specific to your goals, if applicable), and you're doing all you can to the best of your ability, then your trainer isn't doing his job. Plain and simple.

3. Things have become too personal. A training session can be like a utopia where all you experience is attention, praise, and support. And then usually you are communicating outside of the training sessions as well, often via text. Some people grow addicted to that treatment and become emotionally invested in their relationship with their trainer. That, of course, crosses the line into inappropriate ground and can wreak havoc on your real relationships.

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4. He's grown wandering eyes. Few things bother me more than when I see a trainer stare at the clock, his cell phone, or other people when he is supposed to be focused on a client. If you are not the center of his attention, chances are your trainer isn't passionate about his job.

5. He's a one-hit wonder. All training methods should not be the same. Your workout should be customized for your body type, condition, and goals. An appropriate routine for the 200-pound football player being trained before you is most likely not the right one for you. Your trainer should also continuously change your workout program as you progress by implementing new protocols, intensity, and even rest so that you never grow bored or develop an injury, and so that you can reach your goals.

6. He gives misleading information. In order to transform your body and improve your health, you need to eat well, hydrate, and get adequate rest. Eighty percent of “getting in shape” is how you eat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise—especially if it's for his financial gain.

7. He's unprofessional. Of course grabbing you inappropriately or saying disparaging remarks are reasons to immediately cut ties. But also pay attention to things such as whether he strolls in late, talks to everyone around you, makes sarcastic jokes at your expense, and the like. If you don't feel like he has your best interest in mind and acts accordingly, you shouldn't be handing him your money. If he acted inappropriately, report him to a superior if he's affiliated with a gym or an organization his is certified with.

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8. He's a product pusher. Believe me, I created my brand because I wanted to have the best possible products for my clients and others, but that doesn't mean I conduct a sales pitch during training sessions. If your trainer is constantly telling you about the latest and greatest things you must buy, he is probably on commission at the gym—don't be fooled.

If you've been with your trainer for a long time and feel a sense of loyalty, you may be nervous to end the relationship. Remember, though, that it's your money and your body. Don't put it off. Be professional in your approach, stand your ground, take emotions out of it, and keep your sights set on your fitness goals.

The best way to avoid having a bad breakup with your trainer is to develop a good relationship from the start. Ask your friends for recommendations, observe trainers working with their clients if possible, and definitely schedule a trial workout with several different trainers to find the one most suited for you.


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