In celebration of this UN-holiday, I thought it appropriate to share a top 10 list of how to best UNmotivate personal training clients!

The goal of this list is to make it so your clients will drop out of your successful fitness and wellness programs as quickly as possible, at best. At worst, you will upset them and get in the way of reaching their goals.

You can even do a 30-day challenge with other fitness professionals around you to see who can get the most disgruntled clients the fastest, or better yet, who can get the most to quit!

The goals are to demotivate, unmotivate, decrease retention rates, get poor reviews, and be the talk of the town about where NOT to go for effective fitness coaching. Good luck!

Demotivated Sports Man With Dumbbells And A Too Tight Shirt

Here are the Top 10 Ways to UNmotivate a Client:
(in no particular order)

1) Create a highly structured atmosphere and have no room for spontaneity. Never let clients choose activities or an exercise! Show them you are in charge and “the boss”. If the client asks you for a modification, take the lead and say, “NO” with authority.

2) Have unrealistic expectations. Use constant reminders to let your clients know that if they miss even one session or don’t follow their training program perfectly, they won’t see or enjoy any positive fitness results.

3) Eliminate incentives. If you hold contests for your clients and offer rewards and prizes, get rid of them! Make announcements letting your clients know you are taking the incentives away because your clients don’t deserve them.

4) Isolate your clients. If you focus on group activities or group training sessions, stop right away!  This is especially important if clients enjoyed the class and came with friends, family, and loved ones.

5) Implement one-size-fits-all programming. Create a cookie-cutter, generic approach to training your clients. Do not take into consideration their age, gender, athletic ability, and personality, and preferences when creating their program.

6) Be completely unavailable. In between sessions, make yourself as obsolete as possible, to show you lack customer service skills or the desire to listen to feedback from your clients.

7) Be as unpleasant as possible. Make sure you appear over-committed and under-rested. Show signs of being tired, grumpy, snappy, overworked, and rather unpersonable. Remember, you are their role-model. You must let them see how effective your approach is! Don’t be scared to show them your true personality and how well it works for UNmotivation.

8) Expect perfection. Be overly critical of your client’s poor posture. Stay away from using positive queuing techniques, and only point out flaws or any movement they do incorrectly.

9) Be consistently late.  This will keep clients on their toes, never knowing what time you’ll be there. You will also create some variety and a healthy level of anxiety for your clients right from the start of their sessions by your lack of professionalism.

10) Be unprepared for sessions. It’s ok to look up exercises and routines at the expense of your client’s dime on your electronic devices. While you’re looking up exercises, you can also post “selfies” on social media, check your calendar app to track how many clients haven’t renewed with you, and surf the web scouting for new clients you can repeat this process with.

In summary, getting fit should be really hard and your client should hate every minute of it! In order to best UNmotivate your client, you can be stoic, undynamic, lack empathy, and demonstrate your belief that exercise is just a necessary evil for them to obtain the fitness results they want. You are also in the unique position to teach them that exercise is the best way to punish the body for poor lifestyle choices.

With this list, I am confident that any personal trainer can very effectively UNmotivate  their clients!


Here’s your disclaimer, I neither support nor endorse any of the methods listed above. I do support and endorse a healthy sense of humor and joy!  I hope this was a fun read and you’ll share this with other fitness professionals for a good laugh on this day.


Shay Vasudeva

Shaweta “Shay” Vasudeva, MA (Psychology), MS (Kinesiology), NFPT-CPT, NASM-CPT-CES, THSA-CNT, and Tai Chi & Black Belt Karate Instructor is a teaching professional, speaker, author, coach, and cat lover! Her passion is to help people become the best version of themselves by using an interdisciplinary and holistic approach, bringing 10+ years of experience in Psychology, Personal Fitness Training, Corrective Exercise, Nutritional Coaching, Cranial Sacral Work, and teaching Karate & Tai Chi classes to her business, ShayTheCoach. Shay teaches classes at Maricopa Community College District as an Adjunct Professor. For more information visit her personal webpage: