Breaking Up With Your Personal Trainer

Who knows your body almost as well as you do? Your personal trainer. He or she knows your weaknesses and helps 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. 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 your 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 or her 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 for which you've already paid.

How to End Your Fitness Relationship

If your trainer is not meeting your needs any longer, here are some ways to bow out of the relationship gracefully:
  • Tell your trainer why you're leaving. Don’t leave them guessing. If your trainer is a professional, he or she will take your recommendations seriously and use your comments to improve things with future clients.
  • Accentuate the positive. Tell your trainer the good things you learned and how his or her program helped you.
  • Treat the trainer like an employee. Remember, you hired this trainer to work for you! If your trainer’s performance is poor, treat them as you would an employee and let them go calmly and with kindness.
  • Let the manager do the dirty work. If your trainer works for a gym or other training business, tell the manager why you want to stop training with him or her. A good manager will want to know why so he or she can help keep future clients happy. If your trainer was unprofessional, unsafe or didn't play by the rules, it's especially important that you let someone know in case disciplinary action is necessary.
When it comes right down to it, it’s your money and your body. Even though it may be a bit awkward to fire your trainer, in the end you owe it to yourself to get the best service possible. Put emotion aside and do what’s best for your long-term fitness goals.
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Member Comments

Mine is well qualified. Yes, I do have to ask for challenges and changes. But I have medical problems he takes into account and relies on my input Report
Thank you! Report
interesting article. Report
thanks Report
Never had a personal trainer Report
Good information Report
It can be difficult Report
Thanks. Report
Thank you for the information. Report
I had to break up with my personal trainer because he continued to ask me to do things that I made it clear had caused injury in the past and from one session to the next he never seemed to remember anything about me. After three weeks with my chiropractor easing severe back pain I decided the trainer had to go.
I loved my trainer, but could not continue due to time constraints. Report
I had to break up {I prefer~ fire } a trainer b/c she was trying to 'sell' me on energy bars which have way too many calories for me. I know they work great for hikers and others,but the fact that she wouldn't stop going on about it and I found out from the mgr. her only qualification there {and why they hired her} was that she lost 60 lbs. at that gym! No certification of any kind! So I got a new trainer [at the same gym]that was certified and was such a blessing! She helped me reach my goal of a loss of 20 lbs. and down to my correct weight for my height! Sadly, I do not have her anymore as I retired and moved out of state! Report
I have been truly blessed with an awesome personal trainer. He has been truly intuitive and beyond accommodating regarding my needs, pre-existing conditions, and training goals. I would highly recommend getting one if you can afford one! Report
Cant afford a personal trainer Report


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.