It happens to the best of all trainers at some point in their career: the training ruts. When you get up at 4:00 AM, check your schedule, drag into work, thinking about everything you have to do today, errands to get done, bills to pay, etc., it can set you off track from the start.

I know personally that not every day is filled with positive successful energy from the start. You know, the kind of energy that says you are the best trainer in the club and you are going to prove it with every client and every workout that day.

We're all human, and sometimes the daily grind can slowly sidetrack you and drag you into ruts that will compromise your success and the results that you promised to deliver to your clients.
Rather than give you 20 ways to be positive and successful, let's step back and identify a few ruts that could potentially cost you clients or even your job.

Rut #1: Not Treating Clients Like They Are Your Business
Clients are your business - don't forget this. Without them, you don't have a job. Too obvious? Not to everyone. Just look at the dropout or turnover rate of personal trainers. Why is that? Aside from this being a tough business, I've seen trainers in gyms and even people who own their own fitness business who forget the basics of who pays their bills. They act bothered by clients or even prospects with extra questions or who may need some extra attention. If you act uninterested, it won't take long until your clients aren't either.

Treat them like they matter, even if the person is not your personal client. It's easy to quickly walk by and give someone a short answer with little interest if they aren't your clients. After all, why should you? They don't do anything for your income. Wrong! Fall into this rut of disinterest toward people who are not your clients, and word-of-mouth will spread. Soon you won't have any clients just because of your attitude. Every person in your club matters; treat them like it.

Rut #2: Lack of Energy from You
We all have personal lives that affect every aspect of our day, be it emotional, physical or mental, but there is no place during a client's session for the woes of your life, which could drain your energy and affect your performance.

You were out late, your last client stayed and talked until 10:00 or 11:00 PM, you have work to do when you get home, and you started your day at 4:00 AM. Regardless, you signed on to give that person - at that time - everything you have, and they expect it. They expect you to bring a great workout with energy to keep them motivated, and they expect it every time. That's why they hired you. If your energy is flat, they will walk away from their session unmotivated, not worked hard and possibly looking for someone else.

Suck it up, dig deep for that energy, and take care of yourself on your time after the session.

Rut #3: Getting Too Personal
Your relationship with your client is one of the most important elements of your success. However, many trainers fall into the trap of becoming too close to clients and forgetting that they are paying clients not social acquaintances.

After a few sessions training with a person, a relationship begins to develop. It's natural for conversations to stray a bit from workout form and technique to how little Johnnie is doing at school to how upset your client is with their spouse.

This is a huge problem. People let their guards down when they are comfortable, and this is where we as trainers need to put our guard up. Don't fall into the trap of responding and giving opinions on their situation. You are not the therapist or best friend. Your job is to deliver results. Acknowledge that they made a comment, and quickly steer the conversation back to their workout.

Rut #4: Too Much about You
So there you are, looking ripped, having dropped five pounds of fat and gained five pounds of muscle and having recently passed another certification test. You are feeling good.

However, clients are there for themselves, and they don't necessarily want to talk about you. They want to talk about their goals, their struggles and their achievements. Common bonds are one of the strongest ways to build a relationship with a client. But don't fall into the rut of always pulling the conversation to you. It's easy when you get excited and want to share your story too, but put your own feelings away.

If you are frequently starting sentences with "Well, I,€VbCrLf you are in the rut. When someone pays you for a session, it's their session, and they want it to be about them. Acknowledge that you share something similar, but keep the focus on your client and particularly the workout at hand.

Rut #5: Too Much Chatter
We all have that special client that comes in and wants to tell us everything about their day, their week, their kids, etc. Don't fall into the role of the therapist by fully engaging and continuing the conversation. Be polite and courteous by acknowledging what your client is sharing, and then subtly redirect their attention to their workout. Ask how they felt after the last session; point out some progress you see they are making with the sessions.

If you engage, you will become the sounding board, not the results maker, which is why they supposedly hired you in the first place. Don't be afraid to stop them from talking too much. Be creative and use cardio drills or core work to refocus their energy. Often that's all it takes to get the session back on track.

Rut #6: Same Old Routine
We all have systems and workouts that get results. Don't get so locked in to your program that you lose the interest of your client. Develop alternative exercises that will produce similar results but have a different feel to the client. If you show them the same squat over and over, they will get bored and quit. Show them variety (not every time), but be sure you are maintaining the effectiveness and integrity of your program. Don't get so clever that you are doing the circus moves for entertainment value and jeopardize the safety and results of your client.

Rut #7: Forgetting about Your Client until the Next Session
This is one of the most common and easiest ruts to get into, mostly because when your client is out of sight, they are out of mind - but so are you! It's too easy to train someone today, check the box, collect the session fee and forget about them until a few days later when you see them again. Don't forget they have choices of how and where to train, too. Be proactive and send them emails, cards or a quick phone call as a reminder to stretch in between sessions or to remember to keep the water intake up. Basically, let them know you are thinking about them and appreciate their business - in between sessions.

Often, when someone is in a rut, they don't even know it. Start thinking about it daily, and ask yourself if any of these ruts apply to you. Avoiding them will keep you on the road to success.

Coach Greg LeFever, NASM-CPT, NASM-PES, conducts Wellness Boot Camps in Newport and Irvine, California, and combines total wellness and results fitness with inspirational life-changing mental disciplines to help his students transform their thoughts, attitudes and bodies. Visit for more information.