Common Mistakes Personal Trainers Make

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Written by Jade McKee (Clean Health Online Master Coach)

When you first start out in the fitness industry it can be easy to make mistakes. We’ve compiled a few common mistakes that personal trainers make, to help you avoid making them yourself!

Not Defining Your Market
It can be easy to get excited and want to learn EVERYTHING there is to know about working with different clients. In essence, to become a ‘Jack of All Trades’ by knowing a little about a lot of different topics, when it comes to your client’s health, training, and nutrition. 

By narrowing your focus down, and by choosing to concentrate on two to three areas that interest you the MOST – this will allow you to begin working with the clientele you CHOOSE.

Sound enticing? Spend your time, and your hard-earned money, building your skill set in the areas you are passionate about. Find your niche, and work towards becoming an expert in your field. As word begins to spread that you are the go-to source for information on your favourite topics, clients will begin to seek you out for your expert advice.

Not Using Systems
Systems help to keep your business running efficiently, and can help keep YOU organised from day to day. Even when you are having one of THOSE days. Whether it’s a system in place to help track bookings, take payments, or for storing your client’s programs – they are all designed to make your day run smoothly and stress-free. An app such as Trainerize can help to keep track of your client’s contact information, training program, nutrition plan, goals, and more. So instead of swapping between multiple spreadsheets – all the information can be stored in one, easy to find place. 

Over-using Jargon
If you want your beginner client to understand, and remember, what you teach them in your session – keep it simple. There is no need to use complex, technical language if you don’t need to. It would be likely to go straight over their head, and they will be less likely to incorporate your advice into their training sessions going forward. As an example – instead of asking your newbie client to “externally rotate your femur” as they begin to squat, try cueing to “push your knees out” instead. Less technical language which is easier to follow equals greater success – and they will be more likely to remember this cue next session!

Over-cueing Your Clients
While going too technical with your cues is a no-no, so is over-cueing your clients. Too many instructions lead to too much confusion . Only give cues when needed. So instead of rattling off EVERY instruction you know as your client begins their deadlift, you might only need to remind them to “pull your shoulder blades down to your back pockets” and to “tear the floor apart with your feet” as they complete the exercise. Again – keep it simple!

Using Cookie-Cutter Plans
Training and nutrition plans NEED to be individualised, specifically to suit EACH client. Not one of your clients will be the same – they will all have different goals, training history, movement patterns, and physical abilities. The will have different understanding of what ‘healthy’ nutrition is, and exactly what they ‘should’ be eating.  For your clients to get the best results – the plans you write for them will need to reflect this.

Our Performance PT Coach Level 1 online course teaches you how to produce program design for clients from all walks of life to maximize results! Click here to register for the pre-sale!

Not Looking or Acting Professional
Don’t be the trainer sitting on equipment, scrolling through their phone, while your client completes their set. This is not ok, and gives personal trainers a bad name. Your client should have 100% of your focus during their session with you. And while it’s your job to be friendly with your clients, make sure you find the right balance to be able to maintain the professionalism in your relationship with them. Your job is to help your client to reach their goals – not to spend the session chatting about your weekend!

As a PT, while you have the ’luxury’ of wearing activewear every day, it is important that you always present yourself professionally. This means clean, fresh, modest clothing ie. keeping your own training clothes and work clothes separate, no low cut singlets for females or stringer singlets for male trainers, and always maintaining good hygiene. This includes freshly washed hair, clean hands and nails, and don’t forget your deodorant!

By being aware of mistakes you COULD make as a personal trainer, they are less likely to happen, and you will be able to ensure you are providing the best possible service – and experience, to your clients.


  1. Alejo, B. How to Individulaize Training Programs the Right Way. Accessed 16th September 2020 from 
  2. Clothing Etiquette for Personal Trainers. Accessed 16th September 2020 from
  3. Performance PT Coaching Level 1 Live Course. Completed 3rd June 2020. Clean Health Fitness Institute.
  4. What Makes a Good Personal Trainer? 12 Top Traits. Accessed 16th September 2020 from

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