Tips to avoid being a shitty coach/trainer

This field is filled with terrible trainers. I know this, you know it but the problem is the clients don’t always know it.

You know it drives you nuts when you see people praising a trainer you know to be terrible at what they do, but receive praise because they take an obese person and make them lose 20 pounds.

Hint – anyone can lose 20 pounds from being obese, moving their body around is a good start.

Here’s the problem… you CANNOT let that cloud your methods, your judgement and your integrity. It will hurt your reputation.

There are several types of trainers out there, but here is my opinion of what it means to not suck at what you do:

1.  Don’t tell them what they want to hear.

Positive reinforcement goes a long way to keeping people motivated, but you gotta be real about this. If your client is slacking off, tell them. If they are doing a weight loss program with you, and their results aren’t coming, you have to tell them. You can’t be afraid to tell someone to get their ass on track. You can’t be afraid to tell a client, “what are you doing wrong so we can fix this.”

Reality is truth, positive for the sake of being that happy-go-lucky-dope isn’t going to get results.

Now… the flipside is this; you can’t call your clients fat, weak, lazy or terrible. If you want to lose business, the best way to do it is insulting people. Have some damn tact.

2.  Overanalysis

Functional movement screens, corrective exercises, mobility, stretching.

All have their place.

So does progress.

Warmups are essential and so are correcting movement flaws. Often times you can use your head and incorporate basic corrective exercises into the program.



Bulgarian Split Squats. Goblet Squats. Activation exercises, etc.

Not that hard to do.

What is annoying is when a trainer runs them through a 10-15 minute corrective exercise sequence before even getting to the action.

There is a time and a place for that. The average gym member may never need that and would do rather well with a short warm-up and incorporating corrective movements in their program.

3.  Overconditioning

Its easy to see who is bad when they throw the kitchen sink at their clients.

I said it before and I say it again, the vast majority of clients you see will be infinitely better when you prioritize strength and eating better over having them do 30 minutes of circuit training.

Circuit training is easy because you can whip someone’s ass; it makes them feel like they got a workout. They can brag to their uneducated friends about how sore they are, but if you know anything about training, soreness isn’t a sign of progress. Its a sign of soreness.

Circuit training is a finisher, it accompanies a workout, it really doesn’t need to be the bulk of your session.*

*CrossFit exempt

4.  Selling MLM products

If this is you, cease immediately. You are ripping people off. You are selling products that are overpriced, overrated and only serve to increase the value of your network by preying on people who don’t understand how this business works.

I have no respect for you.

5.  Overcharging

You never want to devalue your worth. There are certain people who are worth more because of their expertise, their credentials and the fact that continually produce spectacular results from their clients.

Then there are those who think because they competed in one show, one contest and look good and that gives them the opinion they are worth what a John Meadows would receive in client fees.

When you are a new trainer, you cannot charge established coach fess.

Granted, we all have to start somewhere but you are NOT an expert if you are new to this. You have to pay your dues like everyone else did. Your clients don’t know better in many cases, but their results will.

6.  Online training without in-person training

This is a big one today. Everyone wants to jump on the online training bandwagon because of social networking.

Its easy, its quick… or is it?

I have a good amount of online clients. Those people e-mail me questions, text me often, send me form videos, I have to motivate them, listen to them, keep them progressing month after month, know when to deload, know when to push it and hope it all works for them.

If you haven’t trained anyone in person, you really have no idea how complex it can be to train someone via e-mail. In the gym, you can adjust on the fly, you can’t do that when you send a workout plan to someone. You have to know what questions to ask, know what exercises you can do for someone who has an issue with movement somewhere. You have to be able to look at a video and know right away what they need to work on to bring it up. If you coach physique athletes, you have to be able to analyze what muscle groups need work, bring them up to speed while keeping the others solid.

Its harder than you think and experience is the ultimate determining factor between being a good online coach or an asshole.

You only get that experience by working with people directly.

These are some very simple ideas to keep you away from being a shit trainer. Read them, learn them, pass it on to new trainers and use them to determine who you want to hire.



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