Burning Out: It’s an all too common story in the personal training industry. I’ve seen some great and very enthusiastic trainers start a career in fitness and 6 months later they’re gone. This life we choose to live can take its toll on our mental and physical health and our relationships if we aren’t careful. Often trainers are working with clients either before or after the clients workday, meaning we are working early mornings and late nights. Over time this type of schedule can wear us down, but we are so intent on taking every session we can in order to be able to pay our bills that we neglect “me” time. This can quickly lead to burning out and making training feel like “work” and take the joy out of the job.

I experienced a brief bout of burn out about a year ago. I was one of the top trainers at my club and doing 8-10 sessions a day most days and in the club 7 days a week.

I was so focused on building my business that I forgot to build a life.

In order to take my life back and make training fun again I had to make some changes. The following tips helped me bring balance back into my life and can help you too. After all, if you’re burnt out its hard to help others and that’s why we got into this field…right?


Block Schedule

Taking sessions at anytime someone wants to train can leave you with big gaps in your day where you’re stuck at the gym and not making any money. If your clients want to train at 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 5pm, and 8pm you are stuck at the gym all day without any block of time to do anything else. A great way to avoid this is to make a block schedule and offer certain blocks of time you are available such as 7-11 and 4-8 and have your clients book within those time windows. You may lose a client or two that are not flexible, but you’ll gain 5 hours in the middle of the day to either relax, work on getting more clients, or generate a 2nd income.

Small Group Training

There is a major shift in the industry towards the small group-training model and for good reason. It is often a better scenario for the trainer and the clients. The trainer typically makes more per hour while it is less expensive for your clients. My 1 on 1 training is $100/hr while my small group training is $30/hr. If I have 6 people in my small group at $30/hr that is a $180/hr, almost double my one on one rate. Group training is also very fun and creates a community of clients to hold each other accountable and makes new friends. It also gives you more people to offer ancillary services and products which we will discuss next.


Multiple Streams of Income

As a trainer there are other ways to generate income aside from just in person training. Some of the top ways trainers can earn additional income are:

  • Supplements – Your clients are most likely taking at least a protein powder and multivitamin. Most likely they are going to GNC or some other store and you’re not making a commission. There are companies that you can create an affiliate account and refer your clients to earn commission. (Check the laws in your state about recommending supplements.)
  • Info Products – Do you specialize in a certain niche? If so you can create an info product (ebook) teaching people about what you specialize in. I love to cook so I came out with a healthy cookbook and dessert book that I offer at a discounted rate to my clients. This not only helps your clients eat healthier, but also puts some cash in your pocket.

Take Some Me Time

Being a trainer we often put others needs in front of our own. It is important to make time for yourself. Make sure you get your workouts in. Take a vacation from time to time. Get out of the gym and recharge your battery. If you keep burning your candle at both ends you will burn out.

It is very important that you are mentally and physically fresh in order to deliver the best results to your clients. If you’re constantly grinding and burn out you will be much less effective at helping your clients reach their goals and it could lead to losing clients. Try some of these strategies to stay motivated, fresh, and energized in your personal training business.

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Mike Kneuer

Mike Kneuer is a professional health and fitness coach and retired pro physique athlete in Boca Raton, FL. He is passionate about health and fitness and helping others make positive life changes. Mike holds numerous advanced training certifications included 2 nutrition certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the International Sports Sciences Association. He has helped thousands of people around the world change the way they think about eating healthy foods and helped them reach their health and fitness goals by posting every meal he’s eaten since 2012 on www.WhatMikeEats.com. (@WhatMikeEats)