How to Avoid Burn Out as a Personal Trainer

How to Avoid Burn Out as a Personal Trainer

By Rachel Cosgrove

Personal Trainers are some of the most passionate, giving people I know. They want to help everyone to change their lives, which is no small feat. By giving energy all day everyday to their clients usually working split shifts starting very early in the morning and finishing after dinner, wanting their clients to succeed so badly, sometimes more than their clients want to succeed, it is easy to get drained and burnt out.

Every year new personal trainers get certified and are excited about their career changing lives only to burn out within a year to two years on average. Personal Trainers have an extremely high turn over rate.

I have been a personal trainer now for 20 years and have made a career of it. Have I had moments of feeling burnt out? Absolutely. Below are three strategies I recommend you follow to prolong your career as a personal trainer to be able to help more people to change their lives.

1. Set boundaries. When you first get started as a personal trainer you may have left a stable career to do something you love and it is easy to become a “Yes Man” or Woman. “I want to train at 5am.” “Yes” “I want to train at 9pm.” “Yes” “I want to workout on Saturday and Sunday.” “Yes.” Pretty soon your schedule is nuts working 14 hour days, with no days off because you “love what you do.” Vacation? What’s a vacation? This is a very fast road to burn out.Don’t be a “Yes” man or woman. Start by figuring out what your set schedule will be and stick to it. At Results Fitness we have a morning crew and an evening crew for this very reason. Our full time morning team work 5am – 1pm with an hour break. Our full time evening team work 1pm – 8:30pm. We have trainers who have been with us for over ten years making a career for themselves doing what they love without getting burnt out.

  • Set your schedule and stick to it. Say no to anyone who wants to train outside of your set schedule. If they really want to train with you they’ll work their schedule around you and you’ll keep your sanity while prolonging your career.
  • Take a tleast one day completely off a week to reboot. We are closed on Sundays for this reason. Our entire team reboots on Sundays to be ready for the week.
  • Plan a vacation! You need time away and every year you should have at least a week to get away, clear your head and reboot. This is so important! Cross off a week on your calendar right now and start to tell your clients – I’ll be gone the week of…

2. Make yourself a priority on your schedule. When do you workout? It is very common for a person trainer to start their career, fill up their schedule and lose motivation to workout yourself. You have to put your self on your schedule like a client. Hire yourself a coach to design your program and keep you accountable. If you don’t take time to fill up your gas tank (by working out, eating right, getting sleep) you’ll run out of steam…

3. Realize the energy exchange that happens with your clients and manage accordingly.

When you spend an hour coaching one of your clients you are giving them energy that entire hour. They walk in feeling drained from their day, low energy…they walk out feeling pumped up. Guess where some of the energy they got came from? You!

When you coach a large group this happens on a larger scale.Be aware that some clients need more energy than others. Some clients will actually pump you up with their contagious energy – love them! Consider this when you are designing your schedule. Think through your clients and the roller coaster of energy exchange you’ll be on that day and make sure you don’t have too many low energy clients in a row. Otherwise you’ll become the energy vampire for your high-energy client who comes in after them.

Also manage your breaks and making sure you refuel and take care of you. Keep your tank full by eating healthy throughout your day, fitting in your workout and getting your sleep so you are able to bring as much energy as possible every hour.

Lastly as I was brainstorming for this article Alwyn & I were discussing our careers and the points we felt the most burnt out. It was usually connected to not having a bigger picture in mind of where we were going and what we were creating. Starting to think bigger and focusing on your future, setting goals and having a vision and a mission is what gives you fire that will never burn out. Figuring out what your “Why” is will give you a passion that will lead to a long lasting career helping hundreds of people change their lives.

Check out Simon Sinek’s book – Start With Why.