Personal trainer red (and green) flags: how to choose the PT of your dreams

There are many benefits to retaining the services of a personal trainer at any stage of your fitness journey, but how do you know which PT is right for you? PT red and green flags pretty much mirror those of a relationship…except that you’re paying one of them. So get this list out and make sure your hard earned (I mean the cost of living am-I-right?) isn’t being squandered and you’re with the PT of your dreams:

They don’t take time to listen to your goals

Whether it’s weight loss, strength gains, running 5km without stopping, the PT of your dreams will listen to your goals and program your sessions accordingly. If you’re not sure your program is suitable, ask. A PT green flag is one where your PT is able to explain how your program will get you closer to your goal.

They are constantly on their phone

If your PT is looking more at their screen than they are at you…byyyyyyyyyeeeeee. You did not pay $90/hour for some dickhead to have their eyes glued to a screen instead of you (quite frankly you can get one of those dicks for free). The caveat here is that phones can actually be a useful tool in our line of work, for example we could be looking at a timer or the notes for your session. Tips for young players, image is everything and even if your eyes on your phone is for innocent reasons, your client doesn’t know that. Have the screen of your phone visibly displayed. Green flag.

They don’t write anything down

Unless they have the eidetic memory of Will Hunting (spoiler alert: we don’t), your PT should be recording your sessions i.e. writing down weights, repetitions, exercises and other notes. You can’t progress efficiently if every session is made up of random exercises and weight selections.

Their attention isn’t solely on you

Sure your PTs friends and other clients are floating around the gym and a quick acknowledgement is fine, but if your PT is having a good old catch-up with anyone but you on the regular just take that time to admire the lil’ red flag flapping in the wind.

You don’t feel comfortable with them

In terms of what ails ya. There are certain conditions we need to know about, you know…so we don’t kill you. So if you aren’t comfortable to share important medical information with your PT, you are with the wrong PT. This isn’t anyone’s fault, just make sure that when you are shopping around for a PT, it’s someone you could feel comfortable and confident sharing this information with.

They give advice in an area they have no formal expertise

Let’s call this an orange flag. We as critical thinking beings with opposable thumbs can make a judgement call on whether we are receiving actual professional advice or the rantings of an exceptionally exhausted human in a profession that requires 4am starts and triple split shifts (could just be me). The lines get blurred as all manner of areas are lumped under health and fitness – think nutrition and physiotherapy. Of course it’s not unfathomable that a PT isn’t also a qualified nutritionist or physiotherapist, just buyer beware. I got a chuckle from a client just the other day when she asked me nutrition advice and I commenced with my usual preamble of “I’m happy to give you my opinion, but I’m not a qualified…” and she word-for-word started saying it with me. Suffice to say I get asked advice for areas I have no qualifications on the regular. Would you listen to someone who’s breakfast consists of Coke No Sugar? Didn’t think so.