Personal trainers and clients work together to improve the clients’ fitness level. Sometimes they work together for a few sessions and sometimes they work together for years. How does it get started? Why does someone hire a trainer in the first place?

Once someone determines a trainer is the best way to go, this starts the ball starts rolling. Finding out why your clients chose to hire you can help in the way you connect with them and work to meet their needs. This might be as simple as asking at the first session and hoping for an honest answer. Or it might be a revelation that gradually comes out over time.

For example, a client might say they have a goal to lose X number of pounds. You might find out later that the client wants to lose weight because their significant other made a condescending remark about their weight. In addition to a weight loss goal, the client likely has a deflated ego. The client might need some extra encouragement.

I spoke with nearly 40 fitness enthusiasts and asked them why they considered hiring a trainer. Two were actually certified trainers who have hired trainers for themselves. There were five main reasons that stood out with those who responded.


Accountability was the top reason for hiring a trainer! By hiring and paying a personal trainer, the client is more likely to follow through on sessions. There is a vested interest. The sessions get logged on the calendar and become part of a routine. They also get logged in the client’s mind to keep them focused. Accountability.

The client is also more likely to do workouts in between the sessions. Consistency provides groundwork for long term. When the trainer holds the client accountable, the client usually wants to show proof of continued commitment.

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These clients hire a trainer because they want professional guidance and instruction. Clients not only want to know which exercises to do, but the right way to do the exercises. Correct form minimizes the risk of injury, and they probably know that. (If not, well, definitely explain that part)

Learning new routines shakes up monotony when clients find themselves in a rut. Many clients often come back after finishing their training sessions to check back in months down the road. They want to find new ways to exercise.


Most clients want some sort of improvement. Some want to lose weight. Others want to have more energy or to get stronger. They might be recovering from an injury, illness or surgery and want physical help in their recovery.

Improvement can be seen in a client’s fitness level, boosted confidence, increased strength, and better general health. Along with physical changes, there can be mental and emotional benefits.

Learning better ways to work out is another sign of improvement. Implementing an exercise program can be the starting point of a lifestyle change.


Exercise newbies or those who have not been exercising regularly need support and encouragement. Supportive trainers note the subtle, sometimes small successes as well as the big ones. In some ways, it is like being a cheerleader for a team of one or more (depending on the number of participants).

Support includes listening to the clients and answering questions. A strong connection and conversation build rapport.

According to respondents, staying positive is most helpful. No one wants to be berated for falling short.


Trainers have the ability to motivate their clients. It might be a gentle nudge to get the client try a little harder. Or it might be more of a push to help the client reach his or her goals. Either way, motivation eliminates pre-conceived limitations and helps develop discipline.

Accountability, instruction, improvement, support, and motivation are key components in why fitness enthusiasts will hire a trainer and become clients. Maintaining these factors throughout a training program streamlines the way to success and client retention.

Kim Becknell Williams

Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer with more than ten years of personal training experience. Certified through NFPT, she is a Functional Training Specialist and holds a Master Trainer level certificate for resistance, endurance and sports nutrition. Kim has written two books including Gym Etiquette 101. She enjoys writing a variety of lifestyle articles and fitness blogs.