Trainer Tools

3 Signs of Why Personal Trainers Fail and How to Bounce Back


If you’re just breaking into the personal training industry or have had skin in the game for years, the life of a trainer can be a struggle. It’s not a job you apply for, get hired, and work a 9-5. Every session is different, every client is different, and every trainer is different. Some weeks you are fully booked and others you might as well take a vacation.

The reason why I decided to write this article is simply because many times I’ve found myself at a crossroad of whether or not personal training is the right career-choice for me, and I’ve come out on the other side knowing it is. I have been self concious about my job title in social events, tried explaining exercise physiology to everyone thinking it made me stand out, and caught myself cutting off my right leg to keep a client.

Then I checked myself.

The truth is personal trainers are teachers first and practitioners second. To be successful at personal training doesn’t take being an expert. Instead the career requires confidence, a genuine interest, and quality service.

You don’t need to have a Phd. to be a Professional

When someone at a dinner party asks what you do for a living, have you ever clammed up and attempted to search for a better way to say “I’m a personal trainer”? Don’t worry, it happens. There’s no point in coming up with some crazy job title to legitimize your contribution to society.

Instead be confident in your ability and sell training services to someone or others at the party.

Do you know how many people would prefer to wear athletic-wear and have human interactions on an hourly basis? No? Try working part-time in an office for a few months see how you feel. If you’ve experienced this, we all know why you’re still training.

The job title doesn’t mean a damn thing to anyone but you and the intrinsic value behind helping others achieve their best should be apparent.

So if you’re the person who sulks over the fact you are “just a personal trainer,” instead of some online fitness expert with 50k Twitter followers, stop it. You’re already a consultant who charges clients for your time.

With that said, on to my next point.

Don’t be complacent in your personal training methods

There is never a good reason to provide a shitty service. You are the person that doctors, lawyers, housewives, aspiring athletes, and kids that get bullied are coming to look and feel better. You get paid to define a roadmap for success and hold your clients accountable until they reach their goals.

For example, helping someone move efficiently and physically feel better is the biggest win you can get in the shortest amount of time. The next time one of your clients or friends mentions that they are having muscular pain or you see their movement is impaired, ask for a few minutes and put them through specific corrective exercises.

Being the go-to-person for making someone feel better can separate you from the rest of the trainers in the gym. One of the biggest value-added services I offer (especially to older populations) is a 30 minute passive stretching, assisted myofascial release, and muscular activation session.

It may seem a bit ridiculous spending that much time stretching and rolling out your clients, but it reassures them that they can not get the same service at the store or on their phone.

Remember it’s not the nutritional information or cookie-cutter workout that keeps your clients coming back. It’s trust, attention to detail, and human interaction. No silly fad diet will ever replace that.

Never devalue your time

Every personal trainer out there wants to either charge more or less for their time. A coworker of mine came to me not too long ago and said, “I’m thinking about cancelling my gym membership and hiring a personal trainer to workout in the park for $30/session, what do you think?”

The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “any personal trainer that charges $30/hour for one-on-one training doesn’t know what the hell they are doing.”

Training is one of the most involved jobs, period. Chances are you train 6 days a week and are available 12 hours each day. You’re always on call and constantly communicating with clients. Devaluing your time creates resentment and often leads to questioning your ability to continue to work.

The easiest way to make more money is to step up your game. Stop alluding to the fact you are a glorified P.E. teacher and hold yourself accountable to delivering premium services and more importantly, results. The faster you can uncover weaknesses, provide a roadmaps for success, and define reasonable benchmarks the more you are valued.

No more giving your clients a discount and charging others 50% more. Define an average hourly rate and price personal training services accordingly. Your clients will respect you and there will be less room for negotiation.

Time is money and you deserve your worth.


To sum-it-up, be confident in your work, value your time, and provide a premium level of service that justifies appropriate rates. Although personal training is a competitive industry there is a great big pool of prospective clients that can benefit from personal training services. Again, you don’t need to be a fitness expert to be a successful personal trainer.