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5 Signs your Personal Trainer is Bogus

They may all carry professional certificates from fancy-sounding fitness schools, but not all personal trainers are the same. And if you’re going to pay someone thousands of dollars to get you in shape, chances are you’ll probably want to get your money’s worth.

Here’s a list of 5 red flags to look out for:

1. Every day is arms day

Regardless of specific workout goals, most of your time at the gym should be spent on compound exercises. This means movements that activate big muscle groups (e.g. legs, back, chest) and multiple joints at the same time.

By doing so, you will have a more effective workout, and achieve your fat-loss or strength-gaining goals a lot more efficiently.

However, some trainers may choose to focus on biceps or triceps, simply because any muscle gains would immediately be obvious, and make you feel like you’re “seeing results”. So unless giant biceps was a specific request from you, don’t be fooled. Bigger muscles don’t necessarily equate to better fitness.

2. Your trainer can’t perform the move you’re training for

Are you hoping to learn to do a handstand or muscle-up? Then you probably need a trainer who can do it too! It would be pretty strange if your trainer is teaching you the techniques for a particular move, but hasn’t tested out those techniques themselves. It’d be like trusting a swimming instructor to coach you in the Olympic-sized pool, while they’re swimming with a life vest.

3. Certificates are all they have

These days, getting certified to be a personal trainer has become a lot easier. It’s even possible to use SkillsFuture credits to do so. But that’s all the more reason why not every “paper-qualified” trainer is worth their salt.

Like any other profession, experience and dedication makes a huge difference. You deserve a trainer who regularly spends time and energy honing their craft, so they are better equipped to train you. Try checking your trainer’s Facebook or Instagram accounts to see what they’re up to on a daily basis, or find out if they have other hobbies/interests that support their fitness career. In the end, the cert is just a piece of paper. Nothing counts more than putting in actual work.

4. You don’t envy their physique

Not every trainer must have washboard abs all year round, but they should at least be in decent shape themselves. If they can’t motivate themselves to get rid of that beer belly bulging out of their t-shirt, how are they going to motivate you to achieve your physical goals?

5. Your overall health isn’t improving

Sure, losing weight is generally the main reason people work out, but is that all your trainer focuses on? Are you also seeing improved range of motion, increased energy, and less discomfort in your joints? Because it’s definitely possible to lose weight and yet still be in poor health – in which case, why put yourself through the workout at all? With a properly planned fitness regime, weight-loss and better health should come hand in hand.

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