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Personal training

Top 5 Mistakes Personal Trainers Make

By Joe Talarico on Dec 11, 2020 11:00:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time


Today I’d like to go over some of the most common mistakes I see trainers both new and old make. The severity may vary, but more often than I’d like to admit, I’ve seen too many trainers do the following. 

5 Mistakes Personal Trainers Make

1. Push Their Clients Too Hard

This is the most common thing I see every new trainer make. They want to show off their skills, or just read about something new and they want to apply it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the continued learning aspect. There is a time and place for experimenting, but what’s happening here is some trainers thinking the more intense the workout, the better workout they got. This simply isn’t true. Client’s need to accept this as well.

If you have prior injuries for example, those need to be addressed. Someone with a hip injury should not be doing box jumps because they want to get their heart rate up. You’ll get more out of mobility work and rehabbing that hip back to normal than you would breaking a sweat. Trainers love to use their first couple workouts to show off and get their clients to puke. We all go through this as trainers because we think we have something to prove. The sooner you can realize this, the sooner you can back off and focus on what the client actually needs.

2. Not Believing In Your Value

The other common mistake I see among trainers of all experience levels is not believing in themselves. A lot of the time it’s some of the BEST trainers who experience this. They try lowering their hourly fees in hopes they can bring in more clients. Most knowledgeable trainers entered the field because they love helping people, not having to sell them. The unfortunate result is they end up with the least clients.

Marketing is part of the training game. If you want to get more clients you have to believe in yourself! Listen, if you have a certification, and you’ve been listening to Mind Pump for even 6 months, trust me, you know WAY more than the client and even most trainers. Stop doubting yourself! Also, think about the horrible mistakes this client might make following from a fake influencer if you do not take them on.  

3. Not Taking Control 

Similar to point number 2, some trainers, for the sake of picking up clients, let the clients dictate the session. Believe me, this will definitely happen. You will get all sorts of clients, a lot of which are successful business men and women who are used to being in charge. When they are the ones spending the money, they’re going to steer it the way they want even if it’s counter to their goals.

I had a client almost force me into mistake number 1, because she didn’t believe she needed anything but to sweat 7 days a week with the highest intensity. It took me almost a year to convince her this wasn’t going to be sustainable. In fact it took her burning out, and plateauing on her fat loss to finally believe me. Try to avoid this, or you will get a ton of turnover of clients who don’t get the results you want and end up blaming you for a program you didn’t even want them to do to begin with.

Be able to convey what specific programming you have for them, and why it’s necessary up front. Be confident. If you sound wishy washy, they aren’t going to trust you. YOU ARE the expert! Show them the journey you have laid out so they know that there will be ups and downs. 

4. No Willingness to Learn

Trainers don’t have to be going for their masters degree, but they should be curious to want to continue learning more and reading more outside of being at their work. There are so many podcasts and reputable blogs out now that are easily accessible. They should want to be honing their craft. If nothing else, they should be reading to stay current on any fads or trends their clients might ask them about so they can correct them if needed. Bonus points if they go out of their way to round out their gaps in skills with extra certifications. 

5. Thinking It Will Make You Rich

Personal training has the initial appeal of unlimited potential money, and creating your own hours. Realistically speaking, if you are a top trainer, you are probably super busy. In fact, you’re probably spending more off time (especially in the beginning), marketing yourself and making sure your schedule is constantly being fed with leads and new clients, over relaxing playing video games. A typical 9-5 job will pay you a salary no matter what. Training only pays you if you have clients consistently coming in, and they WILL come and go.

If you need, start off at a box gym so you can learn from the ground floor how the whole operation works. Use your down time to learn how the managers pull clients in, how the sales team converts leads to your clients, and how an entire personal training operation is successfully run. If your goal is to eventually be your own boss, you’re going to need to learn these skills eventually. Think of it as a paid internship.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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