Fitness Articles

Breaking Up With Your Personal Trainer

Because Breaking Up is Hard To Do

Who knows your body almost as well as you do? Your personal trainer. He knows your weaknesses and has helped you turn them into strengths over time, pushing you to achieve more than you ever thought possible.

The best way to avoid having a bad breakup with your trainer is to develop a good relationship from the start. Take our quiz to find out if you need a personal trainer in the first place, and if you do, learn how to choose the best trainer for you. Ask your friends for recommendations and schedule a trial workout with several different trainers to find the one who best suits your style. After a sample workout or two, you should know whether or not you're compatible with this person. If not, nip things in the bud and move on before you feel obligated to stay on as a client or buy a large package of sessions.

But even if you've been with your trainer for a long time and feel loyal to him, you may eventually reach a time when you want to end the relationship with your fitness professional.

When to Break Up with Your Trainer
How many times have you had to find a new hair stylist because your usual one just wasn’t meeting your expectations any longer? The same problem can happen at the gym. Your relationship with your personal trainer can break down over time, just like any other type of relationship. Here are some possible signs that it might be time to part ways:
  • You’re not seeing results. Your muscles get used to doing the same exercises all the time, so changing your program every few weeks is essential. If your trainer seems to be in a rut and you’re not making progress, even with some program adjustments, it may be time to find a more challenging trainer.
  • Your trainer pushes you too hard. Being pushed past your physical limits all the time is dangerous. If your workout leaves you injured, perpetually sore, or overly exhausted, ask your trainer to modify the routine. If he or she won’t or insists that your comfort isn’t important, find a new trainer who will respect your limits but still challenge you in a safe way.
  • Your workout isn't customized for you. Have you noticed that all (or most) of your trainer’s clients are doing the same cookie-cutter routines? Your exercise program should be tailored to fit your unique fitness level and goals, whether you're looking to gain muscle, increase flexibility or lose fat. These all require specific exercises and what is right for you isn’t right for the person on the next treadmill. If your trainer doesn’t tweak a program to fit your goals, it’s time to find a new trainer.
  • You're ready to move on. If you hired your trainer when you first started out, but feel comfortable working out on your own now, that's okay too. The honorable thing to do is finish your package that you paid for and then branch out on your own.
  • Your trainer tries to sell you things. Does your trainer encourage you to buy specific products? While some nutritional supplements may enhance performance, your trainer should never encourage you to buy supplements since none are regulated by the FDA for safety or effectiveness. Many gyms carry a particular line of products, but your trainer should not pressure you to buy them—you should be able to shop around for comparable items and make your own decision. If you trainer is adamant about you using a particular item and pressures you to buy (a sign that he or she is making a commission off the sale), find a trainer who is unbiased.
  • Your trainer is unprofessional. If your trainer puts you down, shows up late, holds conversations on his phone (or with other people) during your session, cancels your workouts with little notice, or makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, then it's time to make a break. In some of these cases, you may be able to back out of a contract or receive a refund from sessions you've already paid for. Continued ›
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • SH5678
    I joined a fitness gym and had a personal trainer for two sessions ending up with a torn rotator cuff. He would not pay complete attention to me, and had the cookie cutter approach. When I brought all this to the gym owners attention, it became my fault. I left the gym. They refused to refund my money. I am now in physical therapy facing surgery if I don't get better. Please don't make my mistake. Check out your trainer thoroughly. - 3/24/2015 12:00:43 AM
    I became disillusioned with my trainer when I realised it that even though I told her the reason I was hiring her was because I wanted to learn to how to work around my back injuries in a safe way. She didn't write anything down and when I went back for consecutive meetings she had forgotten and given me things I knew I shouldn't be doing. She would apologise and say she forgot. I was so disappointed as she came with a recommendation. She has a great personality and I think that is why she's been in business for so long. Even though my old trainer is inconveniently a lot further away from home and work I have returned to her because she is much more professional and not a "cookie cutter" trainer and I get a great workout. - 12/21/2014 7:58:39 PM
    Yes, I agree. It is very effective. I am grateful to all the people for sharing nice and informative information That I had not available earlier .I have learnt a lot from this information. Thanks again for nice posting here.
    - 4/28/2014 8:00:56 AM
  • Thank you. I needed this and it's really reinforcing/valid
    ating my decision to fire my trainer. I have about 4 sessions left. I initially thought about pausing it, but I grow less and less comfortable with my trainer because she's a control freak and has boundary issues. I don't really need her to learn new exercises because I am doing a lot of reading on my own and I've been following fitness videos as well. As for nutrition advice, omg, the advice she's been giving is so so very bad that I have been shaking my head in despair. She doesn't understand how calories work, what BMR is, I don't even know how she got her PT certification. She was teaching me lunges the wrong way the other day. If that's not enough, she keeps flitting from client to client, and then lying to me when I ask if she's busy with other clients (because if she is, we can reschedule). And now she's been making imputations that I am flirting with other gym trainers and changing their schedules around. (I've actually been training at different times to avoid her). I love the gym but the gym would be so much better without her. :/ - 8/29/2013 1:11:37 PM
    We developed such a good relationship that I started to get a crush on him!!! Not to mention, he's totally hot!!! So I just stopped going for like a few months and then booked a session with a female at the club. He saw me training with her and didn't look too happy even though I still say hello and smile, he gives me the cold shoulder. I've been married almost 10 years and I even talked to my husband about my feelings. I made the decision that training with same-sex trainers is best for me.....the articicle says to be honest but I don't see myself telling him the truth. - 5/3/2012 6:19:48 AM
  • I didn't have any trouble breaking up with mine he was lazy and USELESS even with a bachelor's in Kinesiology. - 4/29/2012 1:02:35 PM
  • RECLAIM2012
    I've had two trainers and the worst part is always the end. My issue right now is finances - I can't afford paying two hundred dollars each month for sessions. I believe that I can do a good workout on my own - I've done it. The only reason I was with my 2nd trainer was because I was given four free workouts as a gift. Now we are at the end, and I already feel pressured to buy more sessions. Unfortunately, I can't go to the manager because he is worse than the trainers - he doesn't take no for an answer without heaping on the guilt. It makes me want to avoid my own gym, which really stinks. - 4/24/2012 11:00:27 AM
  • Interesting article, but the choice of pronouns implies that all trainers are men. Perhaps you could alternate pronouns in the future (write one example with "he", the next with "she"). - 4/3/2012 9:09:43 PM
  • My trainer became my friend, and I had to leave him when we moved (not by choice) out of state. I still use what he taught me - and it still works. I miss him every day. - 4/3/2012 10:28:34 AM
  • Thank you for this article - it is helpful and actually needed! My current trainer needs to be fired. - 3/27/2011 12:40:50 AM
    "They say that breaking up... is... ha-a-ard to do
    Now I know, I know that it's true..."

    ...with a wink and a nod to Neil Sedaka!
    - 6/6/2010 2:20:12 PM
  • Very helpful article. I once had a free training session where I learned I was getting the same exact workout as everyone else. It was the wrong kind for me, and I ended up throwing up for hours afterwards. The trainer constantly talked to other people while I stood there waiting to continue, and there was no way I would have continued with that person. - 10/17/2009 1:25:06 PM
  • I LOVE my trainer... that gym and his attitude is what helped me to be 31.4 lbs thinner and to feel good about myself. I never feel intimidated and he always asks the 110% while I'm there that he knows that I can give. I have a knee injury, and he works with my dr. and I with special exercises to strengthen me up. I couldn't ask for a better situation, he gives me a great deal... but I can't afford it. I know that if I cancel I won't go, so I pay it anyways. I'll have to break up with him one of these days... :( - 10/17/2009 12:41:39 PM
  • Great article! I am a personal trainer and I agree that there is a special relationship between client and trainer--often it becomes a friendship of sorts. The only thing I would add is that, if you are comfortable, tell your trainer what you want! If she isn't giving you the workouts that you would like to do, let her know. I have many clients, and there are some who literally won't allow me to do certain exercises with them! I'd much rather know that they don't like something than have them end the relationship and leave me wondering what I did wrong. The comment from toriame aout loving another trainer is a common our club there are no hard feelings among trainers if a client decides to work with someone else. We care more about the client's experience than anything else! And if you aren't comfortable talking to your trainer, do talk to his or her supervisor. Don't just stop working out or stop using a trainer. There is someone out there for everyone!! - 10/17/2009 8:13:37 AM
    I am glad to know how to "break up" with your trainer. Mine is always pushing her services even after I explained that I can't afford her every week. Every time I see her she tells me that I can join another person and share but that is still $25. a week...I have worked out and have my own "cards" with lists of exercises on it...I may not push myself as hard as she did but at 63 and she is 26, she doesn't always realize that there are a few things I am not able/willing to is run a marathon! - 8/18/2009 8:11:28 PM

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