Top Ten Fitness Trainer Failures

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Top Ten Reason (or Signs You’re Headed) For Fitness Business Failure

1. Delivering a terrible product or service.

In the last month alone, not one, not two but three customers – that’s an average of one every 10 days – have told me their trainer told them “…not open to changing his approach” (when the customer was not enjoying the results she was getting and what made sense was changing the sets and reps because based on science she was doing a bulking routine and was…well, bulking). He got defensive at first pass and argued against science and a dissatisfied customer.

Another said, “The trainer told me I was getting older, that was to be expected,” when training not only failed to help her lose weight but while working with him she gained 20#.

Finally, the last defended her trainer, “he’s a good trainer.” All the while she was sharing random exercises he gave her session to session. Sometimes it was this, sometimes it was that. Never directing her progress outside their once a week sessions. She gained 40# back while working with him after having lost 60 from dieting.

2. Delivering a great product or service but being terrible at marketing it and selling it.

3. Not getting enough marketing and sales help in time. Falling numbers, dwindling profit margins, increasing expenditures without ROI all indicate blinders about the real problem.

4. Lack of a business plan. So many trainers just “see what they can do.” They don’t have a goal today for how many new prospects, or prior clients they will call. No goal of how many consultations you’re going to book for yourself today so you’re in front of people you can sell tomorrow is…a failure destiny. You have a nice hobby. This is not your blog.

5. Marketing programs that are not original. Copying programs and services seen advertised (successfully or not!) elsewhere.

6. Marketing programs that are based on what you want to do, equipment you want to use, ever really thinking about what your customer needs or the biggest and best way to determine success in selling to them!

7. Failing the Black Marker test. There’s no difference in a flyer at your house compared to a flyer at the next trainers’ gym. If I cover your phone number and name there is absolutely nothing that would tell me you have a unique and distinct program for your customer.

8. Failing twice. Hiring people like you or asking people who will give you the answers you want instead of investing in someone who will give you the actions you need to turn the ship around.

9. A lack of leadership due to wanting everyone to like you. No solid stand for anything. No opinion or professional knowledge deep enough to have a standard of service.

10. Underestimating time, energy, and experience it takes to grow a business. Training hours a day as first priority and leaving running the business to last is the #1 biggest mistake trainers make. Immediate gratification of being loved and admired by clients and the $50 in your pocket after each of those sessions makes a trainer feel good. Staring at marketing and redesigning a website or training a trainer to sell…. is a no-guarantee uncertainty that a truly successful entrepreneur will gamble on based on ROI First every time. You do one single session or you reach 5 or 10 or 100 with trainers who do one session or clients who use one product. Starve now to thrive later instead of getting by now to ….potentially need to scrap later.

Whatever your “now” is that allows you to find one of these steps acceptable, know that in a rapidly changing landscape in a career and industry that is in infancy, you won’t be able to get by with more knowledgable competition, more savvy marketing. Assess and plan. You don’t have to be good at everything, just be wiling to find the support that is good at what you’re not so you can do what you are good at.


A. Don’t want to change and learn what you’re not good at because it makes you feel dumb or look bad.

B. Are willing to learn and take the challenge of rearranging with a sense of urgency in order to get better. You welcome advice and seek it out.

Guess which mindset…A or B.. usually survives in business best?

Mindset is fluid. You can change it.


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