Most budding coaches in the health industry enter the field for the freedom to live on their own terms without the stress that comes with a traditional nine-to-five job.
While it’s an extremely exciting and lucrative career path to enter, being in business for yourself as a personal trainer can be challenging, especially as a beginner. From marketing, client programming, and business development, the personal training field requires you to wear multiple hats.
As a new personal trainer, it’s your job to not only help clients reach their goals but also your responsibility to find new clients, create and implement effective marketing strategies, continue learning about new personal training methods, and more.
When business pulls your attention in several directions, many coaches can fall victim to burnout.
In this article, we’ll share our best tips for avoiding burnout so you can thrive as a successful personal trainer for your clients and business.
The Most Common Signs of Burnout as a Personal Trainer
In today’s hyper-competitive world, many coaches see burnout as a badge of honor. They see it as a sign of working hard and use fatigue as an indication that they’re trying their best to advance their business and help clients reach their health and fitness goals.
However, working tirelessly day in and day out without prioritizing rest can be a recipe for disaster. Similar to exercise, the mind and body need time to recover so you can make better business decisions and provide better services to your clients.
Against popular opinion, working less can help you become a more effective business owner and personal trainer.
If you don’t carve some time to rest, burnout can deplete your motivation to stay in business. The spark and shiny fantasies of changing lives become a thing of the past.
Working too many hours each day, juggling too many tasks, and not taking time off during the week is a sure-fire way to burn out as a personal trainer.
For this reason, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of burning out. The most common signs of burn out include:
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Upset stomach or digestive issues
- Jaw tension or teeth grinding
- Difficulty concentrating and poor memory
- Feeling resentful
- Feeling disconnected or alone
- Avoiding friends, family, and clients
- Always feeling worried or anxious
- Chronic aches and pains
- Feeling fatigued or dizzy
- Headaches and migraines
- Getting sick more often
- Coping with drugs, alcohol, or other addictive behavior
Taking some time to recharge, reflect, and regroup every week is a great way to help you stay rejuvenated and focused on becoming the best personal trainer you can be.
12 Tips to Avoid Burning Out as a Personal Trainer
Most personal trainers will experience burnout at one point in their career. These twelve tips will help you prevent the dreaded symptoms of fatigue and ill-health that come with overworking:
#1) Practice Being Resilient
Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly from the challenges that you face. It’s a trait that most high-level performers in all aspects of life can attest to their success.
As a personal trainer, you’ll face various difficulties with prospects and clients. And when your income is solely dependent on your business, the ability to withstand challenges is even more important. Being resilient will help you stay motivated and continue taking action toward your revenue goals when things aren’t going your way.
If you want to improve your resiliency, think about what challenges you’re likely to face in business. Prepare for any obstacles you may face so, when the time comes, you’re better equipped to handle them. For example, practice handling objections with a friend or family member so when the time comes, you can approach clients with a confident and stress-free demeanor.
#2) Behaviors Are More Important Than Outcomes
Clients who hire personal trainers typically come with high expectations. They’re paying you to achieve their desired results, and some of them will put the blame on you when they aren’t happy with the progress they’ve made.
Many personal trainers blame themselves for not achieving the goals their clients are after. The problem is, you can’t control the outcome. Instead of worrying constantly about the results, focus on their behavior instead.
For example, if a client wants to lose twenty pounds in two months, you can’t control whether he achieves his goal. But you can help him establish the proper habits to achieve that goal, such as working out four times a week and encouraging a healthy diet regimen.
#3) Know Your Role
Clients will come in with all kinds of questions and problems. In your journey as a personal trainer, it’s not your job to bear the weight of another person’s load.
Instead of trying to “fix” their current problems, offer them your belief and guidance that they can achieve the results they are after. Guide people through their difficulties and walk beside them, giving them the motivation they’re seeking to reach their health and fitness goals.
If you find a client putting a heavy burden on you to fix a problem, calmly remind her that your role as a personal trainer is to provide an effective program and strategy to help her lose weight or build muscle. It’s up to her to take consistent action toward her desired outcome.
#4) Rest and Recover Frequently
Chronic stress activates the sympathetic branch, also known as the fight-or-flight mode of the autonomic nervous system. Without proper rest, stress can accumulate in the body and lead to burnout. To avoid this, the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode) must also be activated regularly.
A few techniques to activate your body’s “rest and digest” mode include:
- Cardiovascular exercise such as running
- Breathing exercises
#5) Schedule Time Off
When you’re in business for yourself, the line between work and rest is often blurred. Unlike a traditional nine-to-five job, running your own personal training business means there’s always work to be done no matter what time it is.
Setting a hard start and stop time during the week is a great way to ensure you don’t overwork yourself and burn out. A great part of working for yourself is you can set your own schedule. If you feel that you can’t take a full day off, consider taking two half days instead.
#6) Establish a Growth Mindset
Similar to developing resiliency, establishing a growth mindset is a key success factor to help you become an effective business owner and personal trainer.
A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence is developed. It’s a shift in your way of thinking about the inevitable challenges and difficulties that arise from being your own boss. Instead of getting bogged down about your mistakes, having a growth mindset views failure as feedback and a way to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
When you face an obstacle or receive criticism from a client, treat it as a learning tool.
Continue finding ways to solve problems that your business or clients have. Having a growth mindset will create more abundance in every aspect of your personal training business and in life.
#7) Outsource and Delegate When Possible
One of the quickest ways to burn out is by trying to do everything yourself. If you’re just starting out on your personal training journey, you might try wearing all of the entrepreneurial hats to save money and keep your business from flopping.
While it makes sense when you’re just starting out and you don’t have many clients, you may find it increasingly difficult to go at it alone when your workload increases.
Once you have a few clients under your belt, consider hiring a virtual assistant for tasks that you can delegate. For example, you can hire someone on freelance job boards, such as Upwork.com, to handle your content creation or social media posts. This will free up time to allow your mind and body to recharge.
#8) Put Yourself First
If you are showing signs of burnout, there’s a good chance that self-care was put on the backburner. Take a step back and assess your sleep, diet, exercise frequency, and general “me time.”
Figure out what activities bring you joy and carve some time out each week to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Even if it’s just for thirty minutes in the morning before you start working with clients, committing to a self-care routine will help you stay rejuvenated and helps keep the motivation to grow your business alive.
#9) Check in With Your Body
Chronic aches, pains, or headaches are your body’s way of communicating with you. It’s important to tune into these physical signals and adjust your workload or current lifestyle accordingly.
For example, if you find yourself struggling to stay present and energetic for your clients toward the tail end of your week, scheduling a two-hour break from work on Wednesday may benefit you greatly. Or perhaps a regular power nap after lunch could help you finish the day off strong.
#10) Be in Charge of Your Schedule
Don’t let your business or difficult clients be in charge of you. Take some time at the beginning of every week to schedule your workload and try your best to stick to it.
Carve out specific blocks of time for client sessions, personal recovery time, prospecting, and any other urgent business tasks that must be completed. This will help you gain clarity on the week ahead and allows you to prioritize the action steps that move your personal training business forward.
If a task or client is taking up more time than you allotted, you can refer back to your schedule and determine whether or not your time is better spent elsewhere.
#11) Connect With Other Personal Trainers
It’s easy to feel lonely in the personal training field. Only a small percentage of our population work for themselves, so your friends and family might not understand the difficulties you face on a daily basis.
Having a mentor, peer group, or business coach who you can talk to and bounce ideas off of is a great way to relieve the stress you face on your journey as a personal trainer. This gives you peace of mind that the seemingly impossible obstacle you may be currently facing happens to everyone in the industry. Joining Facebook groups of personal trainers is a great way to start networking with entrepreneurs in the space.
#12) Know Your Priorities
If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and progress has halted with your personal training business, it may be that you haven’t prioritized a plan of action. Mapping out the exact steps and timeline for tasks to be completed for the next ninety days is a great way to help you stay on track and continue growing your business.
A great way to craft an effective plan of action is by reverse engineering your quarterly business goals.
For example, let’s assume you’re a new personal trainer, and your goal is to land five more clients by the end of ninety days. If you had success with client acquisition through social media, make it a priority to spend one or two hours every day solely on posting valuable content online.
Conversely, if you’re a widely successful personal trainer and your ninety-day goal is to create a templated workout program for your past clients, you may find more value in outsourcing your social media efforts so you can spend more time creating and launching your product.
Avoiding Burnout as a Personal Trainer Will Help You Take Your Business to the Next Level
Burning out is a common mistake many beginner coaches make in the health industry. Aspiring personal trainers will overwork themselves to get ahead of the competition, but it only ends up hurting them in the long run.
The most successful business owners in the field value the importance of proper rest and recovery. It’s crucial to spend some time each week to recharge. This helps you make better business decisions, keeps your motivation high, and allows you to show up as your best self in front of your clients!