10 Tips for Avoiding Personal Trainer Burnout

Personal training is a busy, people-oriented business. A tremendous amount of time and effort (and money) is invested in building and maintaining a successful business – particularly if you own and operate your own online business and/or employ other professionals as part of that business. It is not uncommon for professionals to experience burnout early on in their journey.

Personal trainers experience burnout for a variety of reasons including poor self-care, allowing little transition time between sessions, lack of sleep, too many clients, and not carving out time for personal needs.

If you are feeling the beginning stages of burnout (lack of motivation, waning interest in your work, etc.), evaluate how you are spending your time and what items you can remove from your plate.

  1. Automate Services. Examine your business structure and the processes you use to manage your client load. If there are processes that can be automated such as billing, client reminders, etc., it might be worth investing additional dollars to automate those processes that are taking most of your administrative time.
  2. Schedule You Time. If you’re like most successful trainers, you’re verging on being overbooked. This is a good problem to have, but it can be overwhelming. Schedule anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour each day that is reserved for just you and allows you to choose how you spend that time. You can read, write, get a massage, or just take a quiet break somewhere away from work.
  3. Minimize. Doing your best doesn’t mean doing it all, all at once. Take some time to assess the value of your time and if you have too many things you committed yourself to, try to remove a couple of things from your lengthy to-do list. Cultivate the ability to say, “thank you, but my plate is as full as I would like it to be right now, but please approach me again in a few months.”
  4. Meditate and Self-reflect. Meditating has enormous mental benefits. It can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve cognitive focus and attention. Even 5 minutes is enough to find your center during chaos. Find some place quiet to close your eyes and focus inhaling and exhaling. Inhale and think “let”; exhale and think “go”.
  5. Prioritize self-care. We implore our clients to practice self-care; we need to do the same. This means making sure you are getting adequate sleep, proper macro and micronutrient nourishment, moving your body, managing stress, and engaging with things that bring you joy. Are you consistent with caring for yourself?
  6. Seek social connections. Engaging in social activities is beneficial for fostering connections with others – professional and personal. A 30-minute coffee walk with a friend or trusted individual can provide a much-needed outlet and avenue to “vent” about the challenges you are experiencing.
  7. Check-in with yourself. We check-in with our clients on a regular basis, but how often do we check-in with ourselves? Each week, reflect on your sleep, energy levels, and motivation. Identify what areas are falling short and make changes where you need to.
  8. Get a Hobby. Do you have something you’ve always wanted to try or something you’re passionate about outside of the day to day responsibilities of training clients? Then, do that. Explore a new hobby or reconnect with an old one. Kick back with a good book, take an art class, or try a new sport.
  9. Learn. If you feel like you’re in a rut and want to add an edge to your training capabilities, explore obtaining another credential or taking a Personal Training CEU Course that allows you to spread your wings and enhances your existing skill set.
  10. Take a Vacation. Clients take vacations. You should, too! Plan a yearly vacation with friends or solo – whatever your preference. You can set your clients up for success while you’re away by having another trustworthy trainer step in for you for a week or give your clients on-their-own workouts and activities do perform in your absence (depending on their level of skill, motivation, and experience).

A large part of finding success in a career is making sure there is harmony in our personal lives. For the health of your career, the experience you strive to give your clients, and your mental sanity, make yourself a priority right along with your clients.

About the Author

Dr. Erin Nitschke is a certified Personal Trainer, Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise Specialist, college professor, fitness blogger, mother, and passionate fitness professional with over 20 yrs experience in fitness industry 

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PS: At Fitness Education Online, we have a CEU course for Personal Trainers all around this topic “Online Essentials: Start Training Clients Online”. Feel free to check it out!

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