The Sad Reality of Personal Trainer Failure



Personal trainers – the truth

I love personal trainers and sincerely admire their skills and the work they do for society. But the sad reality is that there is a tremendous turnover in the profession, almost like a revolving door.

It reminds me of the real estate profession, which I was a part of for many years. You have a few top producers at the top of the heap that have a waiting list of clients; a somewhat larger group in the middle who are solid performers and good practitioners; and then a huge pool of part-time and full time newbies that are just entering the field and trying to survive. Many, if not most of the newbies do not make it and are out of the business within a year or two.  The classic 90-10 or 80-20 success pyramid.


What separates the cream from the crop?

As an observer of the profession (not a member thereof), I have my own opinion. Interested?

Pull back the curtain, remove the smoke and mirrors and what it boils down to is one issue: results, as defined by the client.

It’s not education, certifications, sales ability, interpersonal skills, teaching skills, appearance, etc – all of which they could have learned by using but that’s a completely different story. While these intangibles are important and certainly contribute the long-term success of a personal trainer, they pale in comparison to the RESULTS the client thinks they are achieving. And perception is reality.

Most clients of a personal trainer in general practice have one major objective in mind…to lose weight. They may verbalize other goals like improve health, improve flexibility but their main goal is to lose that belly fat and get thin. Period.

And when they quit using their personal trainer, they will usually say it’s about money, the economy, employment situation, family or similar issues. It sounds good and in a face to face or over the phone interaction, it removes blame from the personal trainer. But trust me, if they were losing weight, they would walk over hot coals to continue training!


Focused attention

The problem of course, is that the typical personal trainer focuses their attention on teaching their client how to exercise. It’s what they know and they do that very, very well in most cases. Nevertheless, as anyone who has lost a large amount of weight knows, exercise is important but only contributes 10%-15% to the weight loss equation. After all, many people lose weight and never exercise.


Weight loss success is primarily attributed to caloric intake, as managed by a variety of mental toughness techniques. If a client does not know how to deal with stress, hunger, emotional eating, excuses, portion control among other issues, the client will fail at weight loss; and the personal trainer will pay the price by eventually losing a client. Some have even tried different methods such as dancing to lose weight just to achieve their desired goals for clients. From the viewpoint of the client, why should I continue paying my personal trainer when I’m not losing weight…what’s the point?

Are you a personal trainer or fitness professional? Imagine what your business would look like if you were able to help your clients overcome the mental obstacles that are preventing them from losing weight… epic!