The 4 Biggest Things Personal Trainers Struggle With

trainer with client


If you genuinely love fitness and physical activity, we can’t think of too many jobs that would be as fulfilling as being a personal trainer.

But you have to know that the lives of personal trainers can get stressful sometimes. If you’re independent, then you may struggle with getting your first clients.

If you work for a company, then you have to manage your relationship with clients properly and may have pressure to produce results.

These are only some of the issues you may have to face. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest struggles personal trainers deal with.

1. Getting Recognized

One of the biggest challenges for personal trainers when they get started is establishing authority. You may have all the skills needed, but if you don’t have solid experience training clients and results to show for it, then you’re going to struggle.

This is why you will need to get all the certifications that you can. You could get by with an L2 personal trainer certification, but it would be a good idea to go all the way to an L3 to get even more credibility and expertise.

If you’re looking for a fast way and convenient way to get your credentials, we suggest you check out Study Active. They offer level 1 gym instructor courses and level 2 and 3 personal trainer courses that you can take 100% online. The best part is that they will connect you with employers the minute you graduate, so you can start building experience.

2. Irregular Income

A lot of people get into the business because they want to be able to work on their own terms. This is all fine and well, but it also means that you’ll have to hunt for what you eat.

This is not something everybody is built for, so think twice about going fully independent. Keeping a regular gig will give you peace of mind and being stressed and desperate can be repellent to clients, so this could be a win-win for you.

Plus, a lot of personal trainers have complete control over their income, meaning an employer doesn’t issue their paychecks or withhold income for taxes, etc. Not to worry though—good money management combined with a withholding calculator can make things run more smoothly.

3. Setting Boundaries

Training is a very personal thing. People who seek help from a personal trainer often have a lot of things going on in their lives. A lot of them also have issues that they need to work out.

As a trainer, you will have to be able to build a certain rapport with your clients and dig into their personal lives so you can tell what type of life habits they have. But your job is not to be a therapist or a friend.

If you feel like things are getting too personal and your clients start asking for support and advice on things that are not related to fitness, then you should cut things right there and refer them to the right resources. Anything more could put you in situations you don’t want to be in. And forget having romantic relationships with clients unless you want your reputation to be ruined and your name to possibly be slandered.

4. Marketing Themselves

Lots of personal trainers get in the field for the love of it, but don’t quite understand the business side. As a trainer, you need to understand how to market yourself and disseminate your brand.

Learn how to use content marketing to your advantage. Use all formats to reach your audience. Make appearances on other people’s platforms and collaborate on content together. And use the power of social media to the fullest either by building a following or by using some of the advertising options these platforms have to offer.

The Takeaway

These are all challenges you have to be ready to face when you work as a personal trainer. Take the time to study the field before you get in and survey people in it so you can tell what it’s really like to be a personal trainer before you make the jump.

About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

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