How to solve the biggest problems with personal training psychology

As part of my job, I conduct a lot of learning experiments. Testing, measuring, interviews with successes and failures to pick out what went right and wrong. Thanks to that data, I’m going tell you what I found helps a personal training business from listening to those who have incorporated it into theirs.


“Everyone is as entitled as sh#@!”

That’s a quote from a successful personal trainer I talked with working in Florida. He’s been at it for 8 years and you might guess this, but he’s the kind of fellow that will tell you how it is…  In layman’s terms though, he expressed that most personal trainers start out wanting to train pro athletes & the truth of the matter is that until you’ve got some experience, you’re gonna kinda suck at it. It takes experience, and there is no way getting around that.

I personally believe there’s nothing wrong with having lofty goals, but when you start seeing your current clients as a means to an end, that’s where the problem arises. Put in the work and the reputations will come.

Understand why the client is paying you

I think it’s easy to try and get everybody to do what you want to do or recycle one method for all your clients, but PLEASE understand a client and program for them. It’s really tempting to want everyone to get strong (in fact here’s a an awesome journey my friend Nick has taken, serious GAINS), but the vast majority of personal training clients are coming because they want to enjoy exercise and start losing weight. An hour of instruction on how to squat properly will not be fun & you’re going to lose them. Learn how to balance teaching what they need to know, making an effective workout and having fun. You’ll gain referrals because you’re a fun teacher, plus have results to showcase your skills.

Pick a niche and be the boss at it

You need to be “the guy,” where in your area anybody looking to do X comes to you. I know what you’re thinking too and specializing in strength and conditioning doesn’t work (too broad). In fact, there’s a few I’d recommend staying away from because there just isn’t a great market for a personal trainer to go for like training for elderly, post-rehab, maternity training. The main issue being, those clients needed extremely specialized training and equipment. However, don’t be discouraged there are loads of populations to pick from, for example, specialize in training mothers. You’ll be “the guy” for any mother, you’ll know what they want, need and how to approach programs. Pick an area that you love (not just the profitable ones), learn it and then be a boss at it.

Personal training is about psychology, not physiology

DISCLAIMER: this applys mostly to general public, if that’s your game – keep reading

Honestly, you are a cheerleader, not a coach. Whether you’re the smartest personal trainer in the world or not, realizing that you need to have fun with your clients to help them is crucial. I’ll do more than that though, since each client will require you to learn a different approach to “fun” here’s a few starting exercises I’d recommend.

  • Get out the boxing gloves, there’s something exciting about letting loose on your trainer
  • Single set of exercises or a single round of a circuit then step it up slowly, try to “sneak in an extra workout”
  • Bounce tennis balls off a wall and chase them
  • Try doing balance work with eyes closed to break a “comfort zone” for serious clients
  • Bike and going for a ride around the “lake”

My advice, switch it up & see what sticks.

If you want to share your experience let me know, I’ll be hanging out in the comments for a while.





I'm a self taught software developer whose obsessed with health and fitness. I enjoy using technology to speed things up. If you've liked what I've written, feel free to message me or check out some of the other things out there.