Personal Trainers: 50 Things Your Clients Wish You Knew



So, you want to be a better personal trainer.  Hopefully every trainer falls into this category.  Bravo for striving for self-improvement.  Now comes the hard part: putting it into practice.  If you have a degree in a related field and have passed any type of certification, you likely already possess enough knowledge to do the job.  Beyond that, it gets a little trickier.  Listening to feedback from your clients is a great start, but there are things your clients will never tell you that play a bigger role in being the best trainer possible. The better you understand the not-so-complicated role of the human psyche in your clients, the better you can serve them.  Put these things into practice every day and your clients will trust you, refer you and even love you.

Here are 50 things your clients wish you knew about them, about how they see you and about your relationship with them.

  1. I want to feel like I successfully completed this workout, no matter what level of fitness I am at. 
  2. Challenge me, but don’t try to kill me (see above).
  3. Don’t try to impress me with your fitness level, this is about me, not you.
  4. A friendly voice, a smile and your undivided attention is all I ask for.
  5. I want to be able to tell you about my bad day, but I don’t want to listen to you talk about your bad day.  Again, this is about me, not you.
  6. I don’t want to look stupid, but I don’t always understand what you are telling me.  Please make it clearer.
  7. Don’t overwhelm me with too many directions or I will get frustrated and shut down.  Simple is sometimes best.
  8. There are some exercises I hate.  I will let you know what they are.  Don’t make me do them.  Find an alternative.
  9. Please be patient with my progress.  Fitness isn’t necessarily my passion.
  10. What motivates you may not be what motivates me.  Find out what motivates me.
  11. I don’t mind spending the money if I feel that what I am getting is a good value.
  12. I am very busy.  Please start on time.  Please end on time. Every time.
  13. My life can be very chaotic.  Please make the fitness part of it simple for me.
  14. Please explain why we are doing something and how it fits into my goals.
  15. Don’t try to sell me stuff I don’t need. Explain what a product can do and let me make my own decisions.
  16. I don’t like salespeople but I like to buy stuff.
  17. Don’t make me feel stupid for products I have used, diets I have tried or gadgets I have purchased with the hope of being healthier/fitter/leaner/stronger.
  18. Being healthier/fitter/leaner/stronger is important to me and I need accurate information.
  19. I only want to communicate by (pick one) phone/email/text/face-to-face.  Please don’t make me communicate by (pick any other one) phone/email/text/face-to-face.
  20. Don’t ever laugh at a question I ask you.
  21. Embarrassment scares me more than anything.  See above.
  22. I want someone that affirms what I already believe.
  23. It’s OK if you don’t know the answer to a question.  I respect that.  It also makes me look smart for having a question that stumped you.  But please find the answer for me.
  24. If I refer a friend to you, give them exceptional service.  That makes me look and feel smart.  I love that.
  25. It means a lot to me when you say thank you for my business or for a referral.
  26. I like free stuff.
  27. I like trendy and new.  It gives me something to talk about at parties.
  28. I will definitely talk about you to my friends, good or bad.
  29. I have the attention span of a gnat.  Ignore me and I will go away.
  30. I want someone I can trust with my personal information.  Don’t betray that.  Ever.
  31. I can be very insecure.  Please tell me when I am doing something right.
  32. I can be very insecure.  Please applaud my effort even if it wasn’t quite right.
  33. I can be very insecure.  Don’t use harsh words or yell at me.
  34. I am more vain than I would ever care to admit.
  35. I want to be your favorite.
  36. Please do not make vague recommendations for diet or exercise.  Specifics, please.
  37. Change is very hard for me.  I am very set in my ways, so it may take a while for me to develop new habits.
  38. I’m trying.  
  39. I have no idea what ______________(engage your core/opposing muscle groups/interval training/many other terms you use) means.   Please explain them to me or don’t use them.
  40. Fitness is not my life.  That is why I hired you.
  41. Don’t forget about me.  Even if I am not a current client, I may be thinking about it.
  42. I love it when you do what you said you were going to do.
  43. I find myself endlessly fascinating.  Just ask.
  44. I don’t always eat as healthy as I should.  Don’t judge.
  45. I don’t always exercise as much as I should.  Don’t judge.
  46. I sometimes drink an entire bottle of wine with my pizza.  Don’t judge.
  47. If I feel empowered/successful/happy when I leave you, I will most likely be back.
  48. If I feel like a failure/weak/annoyed when I leave you, I will most likely not be back.
  49. My money and my time are my most precious commodities.  I am giving you both.  That means a lot.
  50. It really is all about me.

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