10 Epic Fails Every Personal Trainer Makes

Personal Trainer Mistakes

Regardless of whether you’re just starting out in the world of fitness or you’re a seasoned pro, there are many mistakes and quite frankly, epic fails you might be making.

Now, we’re not talking about ‘bad people skills’ and all that stuff – I’m going to assume you appreciate having bad people skills is a complete fail for personal training. Instead, this list is focused on things you might not have even considered but are still big mistakes for your personal training career and business.

In the effort of putting your client’s first and working hard to help clients improve their health and fitness, it’s possible to overlook a few things that could boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  1. Failure to Keep Learning

You’ve finally got that qualification and you’re ready to take on the world, right? Yes – but don’t get complacent though, there are so many more qualifications and extra learning you can be doing. Health and fitness is always evolving and you really need to be evolving with it.

You’ll soon discover that specialist areas are in demand. By getting qualified to teach these more niche areas of fitness, you will develop more skills for your personal training business. There’s so much more you can get involved with, it really just depends on you as an individual and what you want to be doing day-to-day.

If you enjoy kettlebell training, take courses and learn the most advanced workouts relating to this. Rather than being a trainer who enjoys using kettlebells, you become THE trainer for people who want a kettlebell workout. This is really how you become an authority within your local health and fitness network.  

The National Federation of Personal Trainers reports that one of the biggest personal trainer mistakes is not taking advantage of continuing education.

This also includes reading in your spare time. If you want to get specialised in a more technical area of training then it’ll involve a lot of sports science and exercise literature. Even if you just want to stay within a more general personal training role, you should still be reading and keeping up-to-date with what other personal trainers are discussing. Keep up-to-date with personal training and fitness blogs that provide plenty of insights into achieving your goals.

  1. Failure to Track, Monitor and Analyse

People use personal trainers become they want to see progress. If they are spending money they expect to see results. By keeping a reliable record of how your clients are doing you will help demonstrate the progress they are making.

There are lots of options with this. From free software tools to premium paid versions, to simply setting up an excel document. The choice is yours.

online personal training tracking

You should be tracking what the client is doing each workout but also noting down how it relates to their goals. For example, if they want to lose weight, make sure you have a reliable record of their weight so you really know how they are doing.

  1. Failure to Create Bespoke Workouts

Aside from adjusting an exercise program to accommodate medical problems, you will also want to individualize it to address a client’s fitness level, progress and personal goals. Put the effort in and tailor a workout that will really benefit the client. Get stocked up with a good kitbag and get listening to what your client wants to achieve. 

Your client doesn’t want a generic workout they could have picked up in Men’s Health Magazine, instead they wanted a personal trainer for the personal touch. Make an effort to use your knowledge and skills to tailor a programme that will knock your client’s socks off!

nice workout meme

  1. Failure to Work on clients outside the gym

In between sessions and workouts, it’s a good idea to keep working on your clients. This will mean when you train them you aren’t caught off guard and you can further impress them with extra info you’ve gathered for them.

This also means dropping your clients an email or text with articles they may find interesting or sending them through progress reports. This doesn’t take too long and gives off a great professional image.

Personal training is a business and customer expectations will continue to go up. This means little things like showing you’re thinking about them outside of the gym will be monumental to gaining positive reviews from them. And remember, good reviews are everything!   

  1. Failure to Appreciate the Small Victories

Steve Brailsford famously coached British Cycling to almighty success at numerous cycling events including the Tour De France and Olympics. His logic and strategy was simple. Rather than making one massive change, he would try to improve lots of things by 1%.

This applies to both your approach as a trainer – i.e. making lots of little improvements in how to approach your business and the training itself.

If clients can see a 1% improvement in all their goals, that is a victory in itself and one that should be celebrated.

Similarly, if you can improve the efficiency of every aspect of your fitness business by just 1% then overall this will have a dramatic effect.

  1. Failure to Market and Promote Yourself

It doesn’t matter whether you want to believe this or not, but the reality is promotion and investing time and money into marketing is a must for any personal trainer. 

The old school marketing gurus might tell you to print up some professional looking business cards and flyers and proudly display them all over your health club and local area. But what happens when this inevitably doesn’t lead to a mass of clients and wealth?

To get clients and maintain success in the health and fitness industry involves actively marketing yourself using proven methods and strategies.  

There are two main approaches – either do this yourself or get help. There isn’t a right option here, only you know what best suits your situation. If cash is limited then you might want to take on as much as you can. This is fine but make sure you’re training isn’t sacrificed. If business is going ok and you want to make a push to grow and expand, then bringing on professional marketers is a wise choice. Simply paying someone a few hundred £s a month to manage your website and lead generation funnels means you can concentrate on training while new clients keep signing up. A couple of hundred £s a month doesn’t seem too crazy for potentially generating £1,000s more each month! 

In today’s culture, internet marketing is one of the most appropriate options. You can target your personal training services based on interests and location. This makes your chance of landing a lead a lot more likely. Creating an awesome website and increasing your online visibility is also a must for your marketing efforts!

  1. Failure to Network

Building a network is very important for long term success in health and fitness. Spending a couple of hours a week solely dedicated to building the best network possible is a must. Reach out to local health professionals who may just decide to refer their clients to you one day. Reach out to influential people on social media and email.

Get involved in local communities. Simply get off your couch and go out meeting people and share your experiences with them. If you can help them out for free then do it. You know the old expression, ‘what goes around comes around.’

If this is given enough attention it simply means you’ll be getting referrals from all over the place and your reputation will sky rocket.

  1. Failure to Expand

Training clients is the bread and butter of personal training. Whether that’s group classes or 1-2-1 sessions, the focus is on interacting with clients to help them achieve their goals. However, there are other things you can do. To be honest, there is no limit to what extra roads you could take.

Online personal training is becoming big business and something you may want to consider. Or perhaps, working closer with brands to advertise the latest fitness products. If you want to get involved with this type of thing then you simply need to get started! It’s really not too hard to make an extra few hundred quid a month – just give it a try. 

10. Failure to Manage Workload

Learn what tasks need to be done, and understand the principals of running your business, but don’t try to do it all yourself. You are the coach and need to spend your time focusing on this. But what about things like marketing and promotion? Well, the trainers who end up expanding their little empires into full time fitness businesses are the ones that learn to outsource and create systems for their workload. 

Using a professional service to help with marketing and promotion can help create a system that is more efficient and means you can get everything done a lot quicker. The most important thing is that you’re organised. Personal training involves a high degree of management skills. If you can learn how to distribute and outsource certain jobs, you may just find everything is that little bit easier. 

Hopefully you’ve find this useful – drop me an email or comment below if you have any questions 🙂




Rob Turp

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