Why do most people quit personal training?

Adam Petford, 30/06/2024

It was a typical Saturday morning in June when Tiana found me lying on our kitchen floor, screaming in agony. She rushed me to the local medical centre, where the doctor appeared puzzled.

Nothing made any sense until a red rash surfaced down the side of my right thigh. “You have a bad case of shingles, and it’s in an unusual area,” he declared confidently. I was prescribed antiviral drugs which started working after a few days, but that was just the beginning.

The agonising nerve pain lingered, and it took several months of rehabilitation for me to fully recover. While the exact cause of shingles remains a mystery, it was likely induced by my extreme stress and burnout.

The Harsh Reality of my Dream Job

When I decided to quit my steady well paying job 12 months prior to pursue my passion for fitness, I was excited! Finally I was going to build a career doing something I loved. It was going to be both fun and easy. I was wrong!

In the months leading up to my shingles attack, I was waking up at 4 AM to run a HIIT training class that paid peanuts. Securing paying clients was a struggle and keeping them even harder. My training hours were erratic—spread throughout the day at 5 AM, noon, 3 PM, and 9 PM. The gym was a 30-minute drive away, making it challenging to accomplish anything useful in between.

Each time I gained a new client, it seemed I lost another. I’ll never forget the day a client’s daughter publicly accused me of injuring her mother, challenging my expertise in front of everyone. I spent countless hours waiting for clients who never showed.

I was stressed, struggling, and sleep-deprived, unable to see how things could ever improve. It was a relentless, miserable grind. No wonder everything eventually came crashing down.

why do most people quit personal training

Finding it tough? You’re not alone!

While I sincerely hope you don’t experience what I went through if you’re seeing similarities in my story to maybe where you are right now you’re not alone.

The truth is, personal training is a demanding and challenging career in an industry that is often undervalued, overcrowded, and brutal.

The personal training manager at my gym enjoys reminding new trainers that 80% quit in their first year! There’s no farewell; because no one really cares, they’re here one day and gone the next. No wonder most people quit personal training!

Why didn’t I quit?

My first six months were significantly harder than I expected, that’s for sure! . So, why didn’t I quit? Honestly, the thought never crossed my mind. As an experienced salesman, I understand all too well that hard times are inevitable when starting a new career.

In fact these kinds of challenges are not only inevitable, they are a crucial part of the journey.

One of my favorite quotes of all time, by Jim Rohn, clarifies the mindset needed to push through these difficult initial stages perfectly!

why do most people quit personal training - jim rohn

“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.”

Jim Rohn 1930-2009

I love that quote!

And it’s one that you need to fully embrace if you want to push through and become the successful personal trainer you want to be. Forget about all the endless noise, videos and c**p pumped out by so called fitness influencers that boost their rich personal trainer lifestyles. I want you to adopt a winning mindset, and the place to start it by saying this to yourself.

I Am Glad it is Difficult.

Adversity and difficulty are among life’s greatest teachers.

Believe me, if it were easy, you’d likely regret your decision even more. The gyms would be filled with mediocre trainers. No one would strive to learn new things; it would all become mundane, boring, and soulless.

So if you’re disappointed, disillusioned and thinking of giving up, it’s time to get over yourself and…

Earn the Right to be a Personal Trainer .

Once you establish a solid base of steady clients who trust and rely on you, suddenly, being a personal trainer becomes a fantastic lifestyle. The life skills you develop along the way not only make you a better trainer but also enrich you as a person.

If you search for “Why do most people quit personal training?” You’ll find countless articles listing all the typical reasons—poor income, uncertainty, long hours, not enough clients, lack of support, etc.

But these are merely symptoms.

The Real Reason Most People Quit

The real reason most people quit personal training is that they don’t know how to sell. Sales is, without a doubt, the most critical skill in personal training. If you truly embrace this and learn how to sell yourself, the value of exercise, and consistency to your clients, these challenges won’t just disappear, but they will become obstacles you can overcome.

A personal trainer who knows how to sell is

  • Resilient and strong enough to handle the ups and downs of being a personal trainer
  • Always finding new clients so losing a few is never a big deal
  • Learning how to be a great trainer through experience
  • Engaging and inspirational
  • Choosing training times that suit them
  • Meeting challenges and aversity head on

A career in Personal training is a career in sales.

Whether you like it or not! There is no getting around this one. If you don’t know how to sell or you think you hate the idea of sales don’t worry check out my article on How to Sell Personal Training read it properly. Invest in yourself and master the skills of selling and you will overcome your problems.

My Silver Lining… Find Yours Too!

While I may have had a rough ride at the start I believed enough myself to push through those times of doubt. I found a silver lining to my burnout. I learned how to train unilaterally, I finally dedicated myself to mastering Bulgarian Split Squats! I found new gains, experience and knowledge that made me a much better trainer.

Embrace the Challenge, Transform Your Approach

As a salesman with years of experience, a computer programmer, and a personal trainer who has weathered tough times, I created a platform to help personal trainers become more effective salespeople.

I designed a buyer journey for your clients that includes health screens, fitness assessments, and training agreements—a system that allows you to manage the process consistently and efficiently. For example, the health screen enables you to gather all necessary information before meeting a potential client. This way, you can research any conditions they may have and come to the session well-prepared, saving time and eliminating the need for cumbersome paper forms.

Great Salespeople Have Great Systems

Great salespeople have great systems in place so give trainerwave a try for yourself. Get Started with a free 14 day trial with full access, no credit card required. If you combine a great system with the mindset and attitude I have described you will be successful! It’s inevitable. I will end my article with another favorite quote of mine

why do most people quick personal training

“If you want it enough you will find a way, if you don’t then you will find an excuse.”

Adam Petford 1975 –

Key takeaways

Why do most people quit personal training

  • The Challenge is Real: Personal training can be a demanding career with unpredictable hours and varying client retention, contributing to why many quit the profession.
  • Adversity Teaches: Embrace the difficulties as they help weed out mediocrity and push you to excel.
  • Importance of Sales Skills: Mastering how to sell is essential. It’s not just about transactions; it’s about communicating the value of fitness and building lasting relationships.
  • Support Systems Matter: Utilising a comprehensive platform like TrainerWave can streamline your administrative tasks and client management, allowing you to focus on what truly matters—training and growing your client base.
  • Persistence Pays Off: The ability to push through tough times, bolstered by a strong sales foundation, is crucial for success in personal training.
  • Mindset is Key: Adopting a positive and resilient mindset, as exemplified by the quote from Jim Rohn, is vital for overcoming the challenges in this field.

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