Your trainer doesn't ask about your injuries.
Day one, your trainer should ask about your current injuries and if you've had any in the past. She should also ask about your exercise regimen and your fitness goals. More importantly, she should listen to your answers. "Trainers should always listen to what you have to say and use their expertise to do the best they can to get you to your goals," says Betina Ely, an ACE-certified personal trainer and fitness director at CrossTown Fitness.
Your trainer only has a group exercise certification.
Degrees can get confusing, but you should look for a trainer with a degree in exercise science or kinesiology or a personal training certification from a nationally accredited company (acronyms to look for: ACE, CSCS, NASM, and ACSM). Group exercise certifications don't count, Ely says. No degree or certification? Steer clear. Many uncertified trainers may just watch videos on YouTube and think they know all it takes to work out. But they're missing out on the exercise science and anatomy expertise you need, Ely says.
Your trainer puts you on a meal plan.
Although general recommendations (like those from the USDA saying to fill half your plate with fruit and veggies and choose whole grains) are fair game, your trainer isn't in a place to give in-depth nutrition advice unless she's also a registered dietitian.
Your trainer has been moonlighting as your physical therapist.
An assist here and there to help you feel a deeper stretch that'll improve your flexibility is A-OK, Ely says. But once your trainer starts doubling as a physical therapist (diagnosing and treating specific injuries), it's time to say goodbye. Unless, of course, she's also a licensed physical therapist.
Your trainer pushes you to the point of injury.
Your personal training session is meant to push you to the limit—not beyond it. Sharp physical pain is not OK, Ely says. If that occurs, you need to tell your trainer, and they should halt the session. Find a new personal trainer who balances motivating you past your comfort zone but never to the point of injury, Ely says.
Your trainer gets too chatty.
Talking about your health and lifestyle is normal and helps build that important rapport. But your trainer should stay focused on the workout and keep you working hard enough to the point where you aren't able to talk, Ely says. Once you become too friendly and your training sessions are spent chatting rather than exercising, it might be time to break off the trainer dates at the gym and instead make coffee dates as real friends.
Your trainer is totally spaced out.
You're paying your personal trainer for his or her expertise, so the focus should be on you. If he or she is talking to other trainers, texting, or glued to CNN playing in the background, it's time to part ways. Money aside, the trainer should be paying attention to your form to keep you injury-free, Ely says.