If you’re a personal trainer and are struggling to get results with clients, then don’t worry! You are not alone…
In fact, there are far more personal trainers who are struggling compared to those who are succeeding! It’s just not something most coaches will admit, certainly publicly!
Some coaches may have a couple of clients that are getting results, but then the rest of their clients (75%+ are not!).
In my opinion, as a coach, you need the ratio to be the other way around… and to be getting 75%+ excellent results with your clients. That’s if you want to charge high rates and build a successful personal training business.
Be Honest With Yourself
Here are two questions that I’d like you to answer honestly:
#1 How many body transformations have you achieved (with noticeable changes between the before and after photos)?
#2 How many clients have gotten some impressive results? Results don’t always have to be an impressive before, and after picture, it could also be a fitness result (completing a 5k, marathon, strength goal, etc.). Have a think and reflect on the standards of your results.
If you arent happy with your answers to the above, then it’s time to consider upping your game and changing your strategy with clients. You are likely missing a few tricks of the trade (which I will help you with shortly).
In this post, I’ve outlined six common reasons why most personal trainers fail to get results with their clientele. I’ve also given you some solutions so that your results improve, as does your reputation, income, and job satisfaction!
6 Reasons Why Your Personal Training Clients Aren’t Getting Results
#1 Lack Of Meaningful Goal(s)
The most important part, to begin with, is establishing your client’s goal(s) and the deep emotional reasons behind why they want to achieve a result that’s truly meaningful to them.
Most clients will come to you and say, “I want to lose weight!”. But you need to know how much weight, and more importantly, WHY they want to lose weight. You need to be able to get to the deep emotional reasons for why a client wants to change.
For example, it could be a lack of self-esteem, to attract a future partner, to feel sexier, look good on the beach, fit into a wedding dress, to gain more respect from peers, improve mental health, to name but a few!
Make your clients feel comfortable and establish a level of trust where they feel they can open up to you as a coach and reveal their vulnerabilities.
Then once everything is out in the open and a goal has been established, make it specific, i.e., to lose 14lbs of weight in 14 weeks — 1lb weight loss per week for the next 14 weeks!
Then reverse engineer and put a step by step plan together, that if followed, will lead to weight loss. For example, your client’s plan may look like this:
#1 Train 5x per week at the gym (three sessions per week with a personal trainer, two alone) – weights focus with PT, cardio focus outside of sessions).
#2 Consume more protein-rich foods – aim for 2-3 high protein meals per day – eggs for breakfast, a protein shake after a workout, and a protein bar for a snack in the afternoon.
#3 Track calories (keep under 2, 000 calories) aim to reduce by 50 calories each week.
#4 Walk more during the day – an extra 10-20 mins per day.
#5 Drink 2 liters of water per day.
The above are just examples, but you know that if your client follows the above that they are guaranteed to lose weight. Your job is to get them to follow the plan and to support them every step of the way.
When they start to see results and realise they don’t have to suffer (like on a crash diet!), they’ll be more likely to stick to the plan, and results will happen!
EXTRA TIP: Every week, sit down with your client and refocus them on why they are training with you and the goal that you are both working towards achieving. This chat can be done in the warm-up.
#2 Unrealistic Expectations
Most personal trainers have a high level of discipline, especially when it comes to health and fitness. I’d imagine that if you’re reading this, you are probably already into the routine of training at least 4x per week and have been for a long time?
Unfortunately, most of your clients haven’t got the same level of discipline or habits in place! For them, the gym can be intimidating; they are unfit and lack the skill, knowledge, confidence, and structure to be able to do what you want them to do right from the start.
Most personal trainers work with everyday members of the public, not highly disciplined bodybuilders. So, therefore, you have to change your approach and lower your expectations, especially at the beginning.
For example, for the everyday person who’s not worked out for years (or in some cases never!) To go to the gym 3x per week is a huge change in lifestyle. If you can get your client to do 12 sessions in 4 weeks, that is a success, and often enough time to build a solid foundation.
In lots of cases, the first month with a client should solely focus on getting them to move more. You often don’t need to touch their diet. Start with small steps and then slowly add one habit after another.
For example, with most of my new clients, the ones who are unfit and arent into the habit of training, I’ll do the following type of structure:
My aim is to get the client exercising 4-5x per week (3 with me and 1-2 sessions outside of our PT sessions). With lots of clients, I just get them to do an extra 30-minute walk 2x per week.
My goal is to build up training intensity with the client, and to get them pushing harder in the gym, now that their fitness has improved and they are into a better habit of working out.
I will also get clients to keep me a food diary and make some small tweaks – something easy and sustainable – i.e., drinking an extra glass of water, or one less cup of coffee (or switch to decaf). Small changes that, when added up, make a considerable impact.
Most clients by this point have already dropped 10-20lbs just from making small tweaks and over a consistent period. I may continue making changes, but I aim to make as minimal changes as possible.
I know that if my clients are moving more, are fitter, stronger, and have more confidence that they are going to make healthier decisions. From my experience, small changes lead to victory.
#3 Lack Of Support Outside Of Sessions
You need to be contacting your clients outside of sessions regularly – especially at the beginning of their journey.
When a new client signs up, I will get them to do three sessions per week with me for at least four weeks (usually 12 weeks), and then outside of our sessions, I will set them homework to do.
I will also check in with them 2-3x per week outside of our personal training sessions, where I answer their questions and hold them accountable.
As a coach, you need to communicate with your clients and support them as much as possible. Eventually, when your client is into a good routine, you can slow down the contact. For example, I’ve got a couple of clients who’ve been training with me for over a year:
First 12 Weeks – I am checking in with them 2-3x per week outside of sessions.
Second 12 Weeks – I am checking in with them 2x per week.
Third 12 Weeks – checking in with them 1x per week (unless they need more support which some client do)
If you want to be an excellent personal trainer, get amazing results, and develop a high-quality reputation, then you need to be doing much more than the average personal trainer! You need to want results even more than your clients do! Support outside of sessions is a must and a KEY ingredient to becoming a successful personal trainer.
#4 Training & Nutrition Is Way Too Technical Or Advanced!
You’ve got a client called Jill, who’s never trained in her life before, and wants to lose weight…
In her first session, you’re teaching her how to overhead squat and explaining the importance of carb cycling!
I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous!
Jill doesn’t need advanced exercises or to know the ins and outs of insulin sensitivity!
NO, Jill just needs to move more and, and to develop a basic understanding of creating a calorie deficit (move more, eat less).
Jill needs exercises that require very little skill, such as cardio machines and weight training machines. Stuff that’s easier to master.
She also doesn’t need to be pushed to the point of throwing up. Instead, she should break into a lightly sweet and feel good when she leaves the session with you.
Over time you can work on more advanced exercises and maybe discuss more in-depth nutrition – although carb cycling for most people doesn’t need to be discussed!
Give your clients programs they can follow and teach them the basics. Then over time, up the intensity and skill difficulty.
#5 Lack Of Resources To Help Clients
What do you give your clients outside of their personal training session with you?
You should be giving them a workout plan to follow. I also believe giving them some recipes is very helpful. For example, when a person joins LEP Fitness, they get the following:
180 Delicious Recipes (smoothies, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and desserts) – This is so the client can start to pick recipes that they enjoy and support their lifestyle and cooking abilities.
30 Restaurant Guides (Nandos, McDonald’s, Five Guys, Pizza Hut, Gourmet Burger, to name but a few!). This gives the client flexibility to be able to go out and socialise, and still have a life! Using these restaurant guides, they can pick options on the menu, which are more conducive towards their goals.
The above two things alone have seen some impressive results…
#6 Neglecting Mindset & Habits
Most personal trainers will focus on exercise and nutrition, both of which are imperative when it comes to getting results. You need both of these to succeed. That said, one area not many coaches address is MINDSET.
What do I mean by mindset?
Mindset is the KEY to results. The brain is a muscle and needs to be worked on if a person is to transform their physical appearance. If your client doesn’t believe they can change, has limiting beliefs, or subconscious patterns of thinking that sabotage their efforts, then guess what?
Results aren’t going to happen. And if they do, they will only be temporary!
If you want to get amazing results with clients, you need to be clued up when it comes to personal development and human psychology.
I recommend all personal trainers to spend at least 30 minutes per day on their own personal development. By doing this, you will also be better able to help your clients.
Personal Development can be done by listing to podcasts (check out my Five recommended podcasts for personal trainers), or reading books (check out my Ten recommended books for personal trainers), or attending regular courses to improve your knowledge on human psychology.
Alongside working on your personal development, you need to encourage your clients to do the same.
For example, when a client joins LEP Fitness, they receive a guide called ‘How To Get The Most Out Of Your LEP Experience’ – in this guide, I discuss the importance of working on your mindset, building positive habits, and doing mental practice. I also recommend them to read or listen to the following five books:
- Chimp Paradox – Dr. Steve Peters
- Mindset – Caroline Dweck
- Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself – Dr. Joe Dispenza
- Think & Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- Power Of Now – Eckhart Tolle
I know that if they absorb the lessons from the above books that it will have a significant impact on their results.
Thanks for reading,
Nick (Founder of LEP Fitness)
Want more help growing your personal training business?
If you want to earn more money, get more clients, and build a highly successful personal training business, one which could see you earn £80,000+ per year, then check out my ebook – The Ultimate Guide To Building Your Personal Training Business – I’ll share all my secrets with you, so that you can get a full diary of paying clients, and improve the efficiency of your business. You’ll be fully booked up in no time, and have a business to be proud of, one that transforms lives, and generates an amazing income.
To pick up your copy of the ebook, click here.