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What defines success as a personal trainer?

School Of Personal Training Posted Sep 18, 2013 Future Fit Training

This is a question I often ask fitness professionals and the answers are both varied and insightful. On the face if it, it may seem like an easy question; but it will very much depend on your own perception of what success is, and that in turn is closely tied to your personal goals.

What defines success as a personal trainer?

Which of these markers would you use to measure your success?:

Number of sessions

Being fully booked may be your aim. 25 sessions a week seems to be a common target for a lot of gym-based trainers, although many do far more.

The usual model for most one-to-one trainers is to have perhaps 15-20 clients at any one time who have 1-3 sessions per week. However I once worked with a trainer who had around 60 clients and saw each once a month. Either option can deliver the same level of income but the point is that enough people value your services to keep you busy, which indicates you are doing something right.

Digging a little deeper, we could ask how you become fully booked in the first place. Is a successful personal trainer one who is exceptional at marketing and sales? Undoubtedly this is an important set of skills to have – it’s the entrepreneur mindset that allows many self-employed trainers to build their business, but is this enough?


You may be doing 30 sessions a week, but if you’re charging £20 a session, a PT charging £45 would earn more doing half as many sessions, so the number of appointments you have may not be the key statistic. So if you’re making a small fortune from your PT business, does that mean success?


Many trainers will tell stories of clients that have worked with them for 10 years or more. Having loyal clients that clearly demonstrates success in terms of repeat business and suggests clients believe your product is valuable and beneficial. Whether or not this defines you as a successful personal trainer though, could be dependant on what your target market and product is. There are some schools of thought that say your role as a trainer is to enable clients to become self-motivated to achieve their goals and the faster you can do that the better. Whilst there will certainly be some exceptions (many clients simply enjoy exercising with a trainer) if you work with a weight loss client who hasn’t achieved their goal in 10 years some questions should be asked by one of you!


Ultimately then, there needs to be substance behind good marketing, packed diaries and a healthy bank account. Ask a client what makes a successful personal trainer and their answer should be ‘results’. We are paid to help people achieve long-lasting change in their lifestyles in order to transform bodies and minds.

Surely success should be measured by our ability to empower clients to reach their goals? What if you could genuinely state that 100% of your clients achieved the goals you had agreed with them? Would that make you successful?

What are your markers for success?
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