Time to get a new trainer: 9 signs it’s just not working out in the gym

It’s that time of year: the festive party season is looming large and thoughts of ‘January detox’ (whisper it) all-too occasionally pop into the back of your mind.

And while it’s undeniably a major expense (nope, they don't come cheap), the right personal trainer can be worth their weight in gold.

Still, just like the same old gym classes and the same old exercise routines, the same old instructor is pretty useless.

So here, strength and conditioning coach Rachel Cosgrove, owner of the chic and celeb-friendly Results Fitness in California, guides us through the NINE signs that it’s time to give your trainer the boot…


1) Groundhog’s Day:

Another day, another workout you’ve memorised and could do alone? Red flag, says Ms Cosgrove: “There should be a plan that progresses every workout, whether you’re adding weights, reps, or different moves in – and the routine itself should change every four to six weeks.”

2) A one-size-fits-all programme:

A waste of time and money! The whole point of a personal trainer is that they can work a specific plan for you that helps you meet your individual goals and needs.

3) Your body’s always really sore:

There’s training hard, and then there’s training so hard you can’t get out of bed or tie your shoes. If your trainer throws the toughest possible moves your way every week for fast results, you could be setting yourself up for injury. “It’s good to be sore every once in a while, but you should still be able to function after training,” says Rachel.

4) Their phone:

For the hour you’re on the gym floor, the trainer should have his or her eyes on you. Chatting with others, catching up Jeremy Kyle on the gym TVs, or tweeting while you’re mid-squat are all signs they’re not so passionate about getting you into shape.

5) You gossip:

It’s easy to become close with your trainer. Just don't get too personal, says Rachel. “Your trainer should be good at flipping the conversation so that the majority of the hour is about your training – not about what you did over the weekend.”

6) You’re not improving:

You’ve been showing up, swapped beers for Brussels sprouts, and still have nothing to show after eight weeks of dedication. It’s a sign your trainer may not have the experience or skills to design an effective programme, says Rachel. “You should see changes to your body within 30 days.”

7) You’re de-motivated:

You’re not going to go ‘YAH!’ at the prospect of every single session, but you should still feel pretty good when you walk out the door afterwards. “You want a coach who leaves you feeling inspired and excited,” says Ms Cosgrove. If you feel like you’re being judged, snapped at, or compared to other clients, it’s time for a change.

8) You’ve been cancelled on more than once:

Professionalism is everything and barring a real emergencies or sickness, your trainer should be waiting for you each week. “Ideally, find a coach who has a network of other trainers they can refer you to if they have to be out or they’re on vacation,” adds Rachel.

9) The whole package isn’t there:

It's not just about strength or a dress-size. Your overall wellness is really important. “Fuelling your body, getting enough sleep, limiting stress… it’s all a part of the package and should be talked about,” says Ms Cosgrove.

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