Personal trainers have a lot to deal with, with expanding their revenue being at the forefront of their thoughts. With a lot of personal trainers thinking about growth, a lot of clients on our platform have an issue they never thought too much of – stressful clients.

Undoubtedly one of the most stressful issues a fitness business faces, when starting out in the fitness business is trying to find clients. But some bad news hits once we get stressful clients. The bad clients are hard to spot at times.

 The answer we should seek is not if we will we have bad clients, as the likelihood is pretty high – especially as you client base grows. The questions should be what do I do when I have a  bad client on my client base.

Bad clients exist.

1.Set Expectations

Prevention is always better than a cure. Easier said than done, but over time it is crucial that personal trainers have a strategy and get good at documentation.

By this, I mean you and the client, both have a written document highlighting the end goal and what is required on both sides. Essentially, you need to address what success looks like along with the steps.

If you do face-to-face then try to spend 30 minutes discussing the ‘rules’ and objectives, you can manage your online clients with following up with what was discussed on the Skype / Zoom call. Make sure there is a document that both parties can access, at any time.

2. Choosing Your Clients

This is easier for the more established personal trainers with a healthy client base so some of the newer personal trainers roll their eyes on this advice. But we always say it, not all clients are worth it.

Put it this way, a client should not be consuming more of your time and energy than what they are paying for. Even in a lot of instances, if they are complaining all the time, and you are spending a lot of time chasing them – it is better to have a discussion before proceeding to cut clients that are not worth it.

Refunding clients, for any unused time, is important. This way, you are not only fully transparent, but the clients should not have any reason to leave any negative reviews. You probably are not looking for brand ambassadors from difficult clients, so do not worry about getting good reviews.

Tip: Surround yourself with positive people.

3. Find Out What Clients Really Want

A lot of personal trainers experience that clients turn up and are reluctant to being pushed. They will not do more than a couple of reps, they will make excuses for cardio and will be good at complaining.

You must remember, not all clients are the same. Some clients do not want to be trained, they just want to exercise. These clients may well be boring, but all they are probably looking for is to do something – they are not looking to compete in a marathon.

Also, people are happier doing what they like. So, if a client does not like to do cardio but has a favorite Netflix show, suggest that they do their cardio session with Netflix on their phone.

4. Always be Working on Yourself

Always give out a positive vibe, even with hard clients, how other people perceive you is important. What do you think of when a trainer is in a packed space ignoring their clients when they are working out? Make sure that is not you.

Sometimes, clients become stressful and agitated when they think they are in control. So make sure non-verbal movements and gestures are enough to ensure you are seen as the one in control, with people generally responding to your requests.

Eye Contact: Keep your head up and look at your clients when you are having a conversation or telling them instructions to follow. Pause, to ensure clients are encouraged to look at you.

Taking Notes: Simple, but ever been in a meeting where someone is taking notes? That person is saying ‘Look, I value what you are talking about’

Speed (or lack of): At times, take big deep breaths and communicate with your clients with a pause. Wait a couple of seconds and focus on your speech and body movements, which will make you appear more confident and reflective.

Affirmative movements: You can show a lot of empathy with simple movements like nodding your head or raising eyebrows when your clients are trying to communicate with you. These very clients can easily mold into your way of thinking and begin to give you respect. Often turning themselves into more manageable clients subconsciously.


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