Monday Mood: Unrealistic Expectations Pt. 1

This post in its entirety is meant for both trainers and clients, and those just starting out in the fitness world (be it as a trainer or a client), but I’ve decided to split it up because there’s a lot. I believe that many of us have unrealistic expectations of a multitude of things in life. Working in this industry, I see a lot of expectations that are too high and won’t be met fast enough or actually will never be met. Through this post, I hope my fellow coaches, future coaches, and clients can learn what expectations they should have of themselves and those they work with.

For the Trainer/Coach

I’ve been working as a certified personal trainer since 2017. In that time, I have learned a lot, I’ve grown personally and as a coach, I’ve developed my own style, etc. In the last 3 years, I have worked alongside a number of other coaches with differing education backgrounds and training styles. All of that has been wonderful, but if there’s one thing that I believe coaches should be the same on across the board, it’s this: 

 Do NOT have expectations of your clients / friends / whoever to be as serious about fitness/health as you are.

Trainers and Coaches…people are coming to YOU for your help and expertise in the field.

These beautiful humans are vulnerable. They’re easily scared off, meaning you have to be cautious and careful with their trust.
Don’t expect to go full throttle day 1 or even within the 1st month…
If you do, you can expect to watch them skittering off with their tail tucked between their legs.
Each person will move at their own pace and within their own comfort level. 

Your Job:
to be there to SUPPORT them and GUIDE them. 

It really jerks me when I read or hear other trainers talking to their clients about doing a crazy amount of training outside of their PT sessions. Majority of clients (especially those just starting out) are NOT ready for this, so please, please do not start throwing this at them.
Yes, ask them if they plan to do anything outside of your sessions together, but if they don’t plan to, don’t push them. When they’re ready to add more, when they feel like they have a good handle on it all and have the motivation, let them come to you about that, let them ask you about adding days together or on their own.


  • Create an expectation for them…they need to create that for themselves
  • Tell them to do 3, 4, 5+ days a week in the gym if they haven’t expressed an interest in it
  • Suggest a specific training split that they know nothing about or are unable to do (for whatever reason)
  • Suggest / encourage them to try new/crazy intense movements or workouts if they aren’t ready for it

Not every style / movement / workout is meant for every client. Not every trainer and client are meant for each other either. Each being is different, they are their own individual, so treat them that way.

As a coach/trainer, someone is throwing a lot of trust into you and your abilities. They are: 
Trusting your knowledge. Trusting your guidance. Trusting that you have their best interest in mind. 

As a coach, you need to learn and understand each of your clients. You need to understand:

  1. Who they are 
  2. Where they are at – mentally and physically
  3. What their goals are – in and outside of the gym
  4. Why they are on this journey
  5. When they want to hit certain goals by 
  6. How they plan to get where they want to be
  7. How they intend to have you help them

The Takeaway

There are so many moving pieces that it’s easy to get lost in it all. It’s easy to treat everyone the same way, but one thing might not work for another. 

This industry is meant to serve others. There should be no egos involved. People come to you because they don’t know how to get where they want to be on their own.
Listen, like really listen to your clients. Hear and understand them. Learn WHO they are, WHERE they’re at and what their WHY is 
Set goals…help them to set realistic goals with achievable milestones and timelines to keep them motivated.
Work together to create a plan that works for them…one that is at the level that they are currently at. It may not be to the level you’d like, but this is about the client and not you.

It’s not always easy being a personal trainer / coach, but its a profession that I absolutely love because of the people that I have the opportunity to work with. I learn so much about my clients and others who reach out with questions about training, as well as learning more about myself. I’m constantly growing as a coach and teacher, and if you as a trainer don’t feel like you are on that path or are motivated to do that, get out of this line of work.

My #1 goal as a trainer is to understand my clients and why they’re doing what they’re doing. By doing so, it helps me to serve them better. And it’s a knowledge for me to gain so I can better help future clients, friends, and family. 

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