The 7 Deadly Sins Of Personal Training

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

We certainly did… filled with family, food, sunshine, and a less than stellar but beautiful run.


I know it’s the beginning of July and that means I normally do a Confessions Post

And while I’ve got some great confessions to get off my chest, I have something else on my mind…

What separates a good trainer from a bad trainer?

It’s a valid question… one I think about every time I go to the gym where Dan and I are members and I see trainers working on the floor with their clients.

I love eavesdropping, and analyzing training styles of others. It has been extremely useful to my own training over the years but it also has helped me to separate the good ones from the bad ones.

And you should know too.

I mean, if you ever find yourself shopping around for a one-on-one trainer, I want you to be confident in your decision and know what to look for (but of course you should check out FitWomensWeekly to get training from yours truly).

The 7 Deadly Sins Of A Personal Trainer

Deadly Sin #1: Impatience

When training, does your trainer stay calm and collected until you are able to perform what ever move they want you to correctly?

Some people can watch a single rep and instantly understand how to work their bodies to make their rep look and feel exactly as it should. Other people can’t.

For some people, doing something like a push-up will have them sticking their butt in the sky (even on their knees) with their nose coming down between their hands instead of their chest. And even after explaining what they’re doing wrong…

It still doesn’t “click”.

A good trainer has patience and understand that it’s not about teaching a push-up…It’s about teaching the client to understand their body, and slowly training the brain and the body to work together to carry out basic body movements.

I have seen trainers flip out and talk to their clients as if they were stupid for not understanding basic moves.

It’s sad really.

Deadly Sin #2: Laziness

Have you ever seen a trainer simply walk their client from one machine to another while clearly remaining unfocused the whole time?

Those that sin with laziness, aren’t present with their clients.

They don’t attempt to show new and exciting exercises because they don’t want to have to demonstrate. They work their clients just enough for them to say they received a workout, regardless if that work is helping them progress or not.

Laziness catches up quickly, very quickly, as clients need energy in order to move, they don’t want to be around that looks as if they just woke up, even if it is 5:30 am.

Deadly Sin #3: Impersonal

Everybody has their own goals. Your goals are different than mine, and mine are different from the girl working out next to me.

Trainers that treat their clients like an assembly line, giving them all the same workout, without getting to know each client on a personal level and their personal goals, won’t go far.

One of my favorite things about training is the relationships I’ve built with my clients. And I can assure you they feel the same.

Getting to know clients allows them to feel comfortable, to tell you what they like, what they don’t, and what they expect out of their training.

Deadly Sin #4: Uninspirational

There are workouts all over the place thanks to Pinterest, Youtube, and blogs…

People don’t come to a trainer just for a workout.


They come for the motivation and the push. If a trainer fails to be supportive and motivating then they aren’t doing their job.

Celebrating each milestone with clients is important and it brings the client – trainer relationship to a new level.

If that means holding a hand when someone is first getting the confidence up to try a box jump, then hold a hand. If it means giving them a card saying you’re proud of them for sticking to the workout schedule for an entire month, then do it!

90% of women don’t push themselves if they don’t have a trainer or a class to help them.

This is mostly the case with trainers are tired, or have a personal issue going on. Just like with any job… you leave personal issues at the door.

Deadly Sin #5: Monotony

Doing the same thing over and over and over again.

What I love most about fitness is that there are so many options!

There is no reason why a trainer should need to do the same workout, or even close to the same workout, all the time.

Spice things up, get creative!

Monotony doesn’t keep clients… that is why so many people will stick to something for just a month or two before going on to try a new workout program.

If you need some help spicing up workout programs, this is extremely helpful: How To Create Your Own Workouts.

Deadly Sin #6: Fraud

Perhaps the worst of all sins… when a trainer is a fraud.

A trainer is an example for others.  If you’re drinking sugar-laden beverages and pigging out on fast food all the time while avoiding the workouts you preach to others….

That’s fraudulent actions and it will catch up. How can you teach others if you don’t follow the habits yourself?

I can’t tell you how this one sin has helped me. It has made me more conscious of my own nutritional and exercise decisions.

From what I choose to eat, to when I choose to rest… my clients are like my mom…

Their voices in the back of my mind.

And no, this doesn’t mean perfection is key. I preach enjoying a small cheat meal each week, so because of that, I feel better enjoying my own cheat meal.


Balance… it’s all about balance.

Deadly Sin #7: Lies

Okay, I said that #6 might be the worst… but I lied.

This is.

Honesty is 100% important. Clients ask me all the time how long it will take for them to lose x-amount of weight.

I could lie and say something like, “oh, stick with me and you’ll drop it in a week.”

The real answer:

“I’m not sure… it depends on how dedicated you are outside of the workout. I can teach you what to do, but it is only if you follow my advice and change your current habits that you’ll see real results. Plus, the weight didn’t come on over night and it won’t leave over night either.”

And often times, I have to give tough love… but you know what?

That’s what it takes. I refuse to sell my training as an overnight success plan. And any trainer that gives false promises should be ashamed.

I am not sharing this to come off as perfect myself. I am sure, just like the real deadly sins, that I have been guilty of one or another at some point in my career. I’m human after all.

I think of the real deadly sins, the one that I am most guilty of has been envy when it comes to my job. Seeing other trainers become huge and feeling that twinge that leaves me wondering, what can I do differently?

Perhaps, that can satisfy my July Confession?

Have you ever had a trainer, worked with a trainer or just seen a trainer guilty of any of these deadly sins? Can you think of any others?

Help Me Spread My Confessions!


  • Great list!! Ive seen too many lazy tainers

  • WONDERFUL list!!

  • yes! and i’ve seen trainers eat crappy food and then tell their clients to detox… like a lot. haha

    • All the time! I love when you see pizza boxes behind the counter! lol, at least they don’t try to hide it!

  • Sheena

    I’ve never had a personal trainer before but sheesh I can see how these attributes would be unhelpful and downright counter productive to your fitness goals! But man, you give your clients cards for accomplishments? That’s so sweet 😀

    I also really like that you’re sharing this, my brother always tells me that by being conscious and aware of what you don’t want to be ensures that you will make efforts to be better!

    • Your brother and I would get along well! Though sometimes I am a bit rigid because I am so firm in what I want (and don’t want) but it helps!

  • I loved this post! That’s sad to think some people pay for such horrible service. Thank goodness for rock star trainers!

  • I have a friend who was a personal trainer at the gym you guys are members of (my former gym). He has since left and now works at another gym because he got a better opportunity. What’s sad is that his clients paid for personal training *through that gym* to train with him (he worked there and that’s how they did it). When he left, many of them had to find other trainers at that gym. There are some others there who are great, but it stinks for them because they possibly chose him because they had a connection with him and liked his style, but then had to use someone else in order to get their full money’s worth of what they paid for.

    I do agree that most people would not push themselves if they did not have a trainer or a class. Most women, including myself, would not lift consistently at least. So I think it’s really important for a trainer to push clients- not push them to the point of exhaustion, injury, or where they have trouble doing day-to-day activities, but to where you experience that good soreness to let you know you had a great workout 🙂

    • That’s awesome he got a great opportunity but I can say that it is hard. I have had to replace trainers and had trainers take over my classes so I can take more of a marketing stand and less teaching… it’s hard on clients!

  • Kim

    I’ve never actually worked with a trainer – maybe that is a problem of trainers, too?! Maybe if I lived close to you I would hire you and Dan!!!

    • I will admit I love working out with a trainer! Even though I know what to do, it helps to have someone push me!

      One day we will meet! We have to!

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