Personal training

3 Things Most Personal Trainers Fail at

By Joe Talarico on Oct 15, 2019 2:24:56 PM
3 Minutes Reading Time


If you are someone looking to hire a personal trainer, you may get overwhelmed at the sheer amount of trainers that are out there, and what to look for in a trainer. To help that process along, having been a trainer myself for over 15 years I’ve had to see, and learn myself, a lot of the good and bad when it comes to working with clients. No all trainers are intentionally bad. In fact most, it just comes down to lack of continued education. They find one thing that works for them and stick with it without change.  

So to help this process along, here are 3 things most trainers fail at.  

1. Making Things Too Complicated

On the one hand I have to say, it’s nice seeing more and more trainers doing their research and always looking for new methods and applications. You see them chasing certifications and trying to stay ahead of the game. While that is great in so many ways, what ends up happening is they end up complicating the learning process for their clients. It’s like a kid getting a new toy. You learn all this new information and all you can think about doing is showing how much you know off to everyone.

Solution: Clients don’t care about the science behind it all. Most of them don’t even care about working out! They know exercise is important for longevity, and just want whatever is going to get them there the most efficiently. So it isn’t about WHAT the trainer says but HOW they say it. Choose a trainer who doesn’t focusing on motivation (because that’s a short term solution) and focuses on small behavioral change (include more veggies, eat more protein, etc) that will keep you succeeding for the long term. A real trainer guides you. A bad trainer just makes you do stuff.

2. Not Setting Clear Goals

If a trainer has you just doing circuits all the time, and never even asks what YOUR goals are, that’s a number one sign to leave them. Every person is different. You don’t need to be box jumping, and doing crossfit style movements if you’re just looking to feel healthier and maybe shed some body fat. I don’t say that to attack, I’ve done it myself and have had to learn the hard way. Just because the trainer may like that modality, or had success his/herself with it, doesn’t mean a 70 year old grandma should be doing it.

Solution: Find a trainer who understands body mechanics. At your first meeting, a good trainer should be asking you your goals, previous injuries, timeline, and overall just learning about you. They should be figuring out what obstacles have been in your way to success, and addressing how to fix that. A good trainer will show you how he/she plans to measure your success and track progress over time. They should also have ways to overcome roadblocks.

3. Paying Attention 

Trainer or not, anyone whose been to a gym has probably seen these trainers. They’re eating while with a client, on their phone texting, staring off into the abyss, you name it. But they for sure AREN’T paying attention to their client. A bad trainer does the same motions and exercises for every client you see them work with, and looks like they’re waiting for the day to be done so they can workout.

Solution: Look for a trainer who walks around while you are exercising. They should be giving you cues (although not overwhelming you), and adjustments as you go through the movements. A great trainer will even demonstrate himself afterwards, what you were doing wrong, and how to adjust it. An AMAZING trainer, if they saw something was hurting you, will know to take a step back, and give you mobility exercises to fix that injured area or some sort of regression to not worsen the injury. Bad trainers just tell you to “push through it” and act as if you’re just complaining.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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