I recently read a blog from Tony Gentilcore that got me thinking about how I should approach training my clients, not like I don’t already do a great job (wink, wink). But jokes asides, being a young trainer in this field, I know that in order to be successful I have to continuously read, study, and put in hours of long work. What caught my eye and made me want to read this specific blog was that it said “If you train people for a living, read this.” So knowing that Tony Gentilcore knows his s***, I began to read. This blog is for the trainer’s point of view, but I think it can apply to both sides of the coin, especially when choosing a personal trainer. These can be good indicators to see if your trainer is doing the best that they can to help you get to where you want to be. Also, gives some perspective on what a good trainer-client relationship should look like. That being said, I am still a baby in the training world, so being able to access knowledge from seasoned trainers through blog posts is a blessing! #blessup.


  1. Results Are Not Guaranteed


This isn’t one of those exercise infomercials who guarantee washboard abs in 6 weeks by using a torture looking device for 3 minutes a day. This is real life and results are not guaranteed. It takes time and effort both in the gym and at home (ON YOUR OWN), in order to see results.

Do not tell clients they will be down thirty pounds within three months. That’s like every girl I went to high school with who said they will be married at 23 and have 3 kids by 30. Fast forward 10 years, they’re divorced and miserable. Promising results or rushing the process will only lead to let down.


  • Moral of the story: You are the only person who will get you where you want to be, trainer or no trainer.


  1. What Does Your Goal Setting Process Look Like?


Are goals specific?

  • When I meet clients for the first time and ask what some of their goals for training are, I usually can take the words right out of their mouth. Nine times out of ten they will say “I want to lose weight” and if you’re lucky they’ll hit you with the classic, “I want to tone and tighten”.
  • Instead of moving on to your next set of questions, dig a little deeper and ask them why. Why haven’t you been successful in the past? What needs to happen in order to achieve this goal? How will you feel once it’s accomplished?


Set performance based goals:

  • Performance goals are great for both client and trainer. Setting two or three performance based goals will give specific things to work towards in training sessions to come.
  • Client and trainer should work together to come up with realistic performance goals specific for that person. (Push up from the floor, 1 unassisted chin up, deadlift bodyweight for 5 repetitions, etc.)
  • This will allow the trainer to program specific exercises to achieve this goal and provide an easy answer to why we are doing what we’re doing.

Set daily goals:

  • Setting two to three daily goals will put the process directly in the clients’ hands and help them take responsibility.
  • Examples of daily goals could be as simple as:
  • Avoiding fast food
  • Getting adequate sleep each night
  • Exercising on days you don’t meet with your trainer
  • Daily goals are stepping stones and help with the realization that “Hey, I can actually do this.”


  1. Build Sense of Independence, Comfort, and Ability


As a trainer, you should not make your client feel completely dependent on you for success. Building a sense of independence in your training sessions will make the client feel a part of the process. I try to incorporate choices in my sessions. For example: I may give them a choice of which single leg variation they want to do or let them pick their finisher. Giving them options allows them to be a part of the workout and not just you telling them what to do. At the end of the day, it’s their workout, not yours.


The comfort aspect is just as important. Being able to relate to all different kinds of people and making them feel right at home is a cornerstone to being a good personal trainer. If your clients dread coming to see you, it won’t be a lasting and fun client-trainer relationship.


  1. Tough Love!


Clients will start to ask questions like… When will I see results? Or why isn’t the weight just falling off? These are usually the people who struggle with taking responsibility for their own success. The “I’m not seeing results” people are quick to project their lack of success on you. They seem to forget that they have changed absolutely nothing about their diet, give a 3/10 of intensity during their sessions, and are not active on the other 4-5 days they are not at the gym.


– “If you kinda sorta workout, you’ll kinda sorta see results” –Tony Gentilcore


This is probably the aspect I struggle with most. I was never babied by either my mom or my dad and realized at a young age that I was responsible for any successes or failures that came my way. As a trainer I am here to help the best I can, so dishing out some tough love is necessary at times.


  • Nip tardiness in the butt because it starts the session off on a bad note.
  • Encourage clients to pick up the intensity.
  • Ask about nutrition and hold clients accountable.
  • And for the love of god, STOP MAKING EXCUSES!



Becca Carley B.S, ACSM EP-C

Forge-Rx Trainer