15 Surprising Things I’ve Learned About Personal Training

I began personal training five and a half years ago and I had tons of expectations of the business and what it would be like. I think part of me thought it would be way easier than it actually was (more about me here). Of course, we get paid to teach people to workout, and yoga pants are so glam these days ; ) But, it’s not enough to just know how to workout you need to be a fitness guru, marketer, advertiser, accountant, therapist and more. Business skills are a must and not every fitness freak possesses those skills.


These are the 15 Surprising Things I’ve learned About Personal Training.


1. You Can be In Shape and Know Nothing

This is too true in the industry. Just because someone may look the part of the trainer does not mean they should actually be training people. Personal Traning is complicated. You need to have people, business, and exercise science skills. Not everyone with six pack abs is going to possess these qualities. Here’s why.


2. If You Don’t Take Care of Yourself You Can’t Help Others

Ok so I learned this the hard way. I took on way too many clients and I gave myself clinical exhaustion and then had to take some forced time off because I was doing way too much. Take care of you first.


3. People Don’t Take It Seriously

We live in a selfish world. Most people don’t value the time of others. Also, people think personal training is a joke. I remember when I first told my parents I wanted to be a trainer they just didn’t get it. They were like you have to pay how much to teach people how to exercise? Those who aren’t knowledgeable in the industry just don’t understand that it’s more than just standing there and telling people what to do. I know it can look that way though.


4.Fitness Is A Business

People gotta eat yo’.

I got bills to pay I got moves to make 🙂

This isn’t a hobby. Those people who teach you to exercise and keep your body right they have rent to pay, student loans, families, cars, etc. Imagine if they took on every friend and trained them for free. Who’s gonna pay their bills? More info on that here.

I think because fitness seems like lots of fun and so casual there are tons of people who are waiting to get away from their boring desk job to come work in the industry without understanding sales and people skills. You can be really good at training people but if you’re BAD at business, it will be hard to keep your business filled with clients. These are my personal training tips and my general business tips.



5. People’s Workout Excuses? They’re More Complicated Than I Thought

It’s more than just being lazy. But that’s a big part of the problem too. But a lot of people have issues with depression, eating disorders or deep rooted issues with food and self-esteem. Sometimes we have to know when that particular client is past the point where I can help them. They may not need a trainer right now but rather a psychologist to help them.

Changing your lifestyle isn’t just a physical change but a mental as one. And sometimes people come ready to train and aren’t mentally ready for that change. It’s up to us to be discerning and be able to evaluate what’s going on. Interested in a lifestyle change? Click here


6. You’re a Therapist

I’ve honestly heard sooooo many stories. And sometimes I think some of my clients just came to me because they needed someone to talk to and I have a pretty calm nature. Maybe I should become a therapist 😉

Your client sees you an hour a week for sometimes months years on end. You get to know them pretty well.

Related: What my Clients Have to Say About My Personal Training


7. But It’s Also NOT Your Job to Motivate People

So this is THE one that will probably get the most disagreements. People think that it’s my job to motivate them and once upon a time I actually thought it was my job to motivate my clients. And it’s not! If someone doesn’t care to better their health, my cool exercises and fun personality won’t get them to change. Having an unmotivated client is a waste of  time and is potentially taking away from a client who actually wants to be there. They are out there!


8. It Takes YEARS to Build a Business

Our generation doesn’t understand how long it takes to build things. Part of it has to do with the tech and lifestyle that we are used to. We call an app and a taxi is in front our apartment to come get us. We can send our friend a message in ten seconds instead of calling.

Facebook was not built in a year. I’m not joking.

The Instant Gratification culture of our generation is going to be our downfall. We just aren’t patient. We want to start a blog or business and make profits like next month! It does not work that way at all.

Related: How I Became A Successful Personal Trainer



9. It can be Scary When you Have No Clients

That’s why you have to run your business a certain way! Click here for how I succeeded in Personal Training. P.S. It took years. More on that here


10. You Should Never Get Comfortable with Your Business

Like thinking, you know everything, and have enough clients, ‘I’m good’… Don’t get complacent.


11. Personal Training Sessions Are About Presentation

You could turn the most basic workout and make it seem really great by how you present it and lay it out for your client. Sometimes someone can plan a really good workout but because it’s not presented in a friendly way for the client they may or may not be engaged or find it interesting. Some clients care about why/how it works a certain part of the body and some could care less. Cater to what your client wants but mixing in what they need.



12. You Can Be The Smartest Trainer and Have No Clients

You may be surprised. But I’ve met some people who had all the degrees, knew about all the body mechanics and exercise science but they just weren’t likable… Like at all.


13. The Hours Can Kinda Suck

Sometimes a trainer can spend 12 hours of their day at the gym or start at 6/7 in the morning and get off at 9pm. Depending on how you want to structure your day or run your business you can choose to have your clients come in when you are available. There are a bunch of trainers who start the day at 7am and get off at 3pm. Or they start at 12pm and get off at 8.


It’s whatever you choose or also depends on where your location is. If you’re based in a financial district you will probably work a split shift in the morning and evening after work or even a lunch shift. These hours can make for really long days, especially if you choose to work on the weekends. We can literally live at the gym sometimes.


14. We get paid to Workout!

Especially if you work for a gym that pays you to attend career development courses or if you teach an interactive group fitness class.



15. It’s a Sales-y Role but it’s Better not to be Sales-y

Yea..No.. I don’t do sales gimmicks especially when it comes to your health. This was one of the reasons why I left corporate fitness I couldn’t stand all the sales gimmicks used to con people into joining the gym or caring about their health.

Related: Five Types of Personal Trainers to Avoid


What do You Think About Personal Training?


Catch up on ALL of my Personal Training posts:

  1. Five Types of Personal Trainers You Should Avoid
  2. The One Thing I Will Never Do As a Personal Trainer
  3. Ten Things About Fitness That Make Personal Trainers Cringe
  4. The Gigantic Mistake You’re Making When Choosing a Personal Trainer
  5. Three Major Ways to Make Money Personal Training




I’m a California girl living in London

Fitness, Lifestyle,Traveling and Living Abroad.

I’m sprinkling sincerity on it.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


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