How to Avoid Personal Trainer Burnout?


Being a personal trainer can be hard. Even though fitness is a career cultivated from passion. In an industry that focuses on prevention, we even need to prevent the death of our own career.

I love being a personal trainer. Why? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but I really love that I don’t sit at a desk all day. That I don’t have to wear uncomfortable suits or suffocating ties. That I get to wear comfortable clothing that I can move in with sneakers!

Office politics are at a minimum and my schedule is pretty much my own. The best part, when I close my eyes I know that I have done something meaningful with my day. I’m actually changing lives. My job rocks.


The reality though, even with all the perks and the awesomeness of getting to change a life, being a Personal Trainer is very demanding on your mind, body, and soul.

You work long hours. You’re up before the sun comes up and are going to bed long after it goes down. You’re on your feet for most of the day and you’re lucky to get a bathroom break. Meal breaks get squeezed in while you’re crouching in the corner pretending to pick up something, all while you’re listening to your client’s story about what happened the night before.

And your personal workouts have gone from 45 minutes to 15 minutes if you even get them in at all. The reality is for most Personal Trainers we don’t stop until we climb into bed at night with just enough time to get a few minutes in before the alarm clock goes off and it starts again.

At some point you may even ask yourself, why am I doing this? You might even question your sanity. Trust me though, you’re ok. You love your job. You’re probably just burnt out. We can fix this though with a few easy steps!

5 Strategies For Avoiding Burnout

Here are my 5 strategies for avoiding trainer burnout:

1. Set your own schedule. If you know that you can only train for 4-5 hours per day without feeling drained, do not offer more than that. A good rule of thumb is no more than  30 hours per week of training.

More than that and studies have shown you’re more apart to experience burn out. Recognize that your schedule has to fit your lifestyle and what you can honestly commit to.

Training too much will actually do more harm to your clients because you will most likely be “going the through motions” and risking injury to them vs making a difference in their life.

2. Leverage your time better. If you train less, you make less right? No, if you train groups or small groups, you can make more money and plus it’s more enjoyable for you. Figure out a way to help more people with the time you have.

3. Continue to learn. There is always something exciting about going to a conference to learn and applying that knowledge to how you train your clients. I feel like this helps you hit the reset button.

Whenever you show clients something new, there is a coolness factor that creates excitement for the client so they are typically more motivated to do their best. By always being a student, you will constantly evolve and the workouts should feel up to date and fresh.

4. Get back to “YOU” time. Make time for things that you enjoy. Go on a vacation or trip! At the end of the day if you are not making time for yourself then you will not only get burnt out but also make yourself miserable. Every day try to do something for you even if its just 15 minutes.

5. Commit to your own workout program. Obviously, you should practice what you preach, no one wants to train with a trainer who says do this, but not do it themselves. One of the reasons most trainers get started is because of their own passion for exercise.

Like the saying goes, “no one ever regrets the workout after it’s done.” So jump back on or start a new fitness program. The days I workout versus the days I don’t are like night and day; productivity and motivation are always increased when I get a workout in the same day as training clients.

When you consider implementing these 5 strategies notice that none are too difficult to do. Like anything try one step at a time.

Before you know, you will have implemented all five strategies and won’t feel burnt out any longer. The Personal Training industry is a great field to be in and easy to overdo. Pace yourself, train smarter and be your best.

Have you ever been burned out?

[info type=”facebook”]Share your story and tips in the NFPT Facebook Community Group.[/info]


Ian Nimblett, CFSC, CSCS, NFPT-CPT and is a functional strength & conditioning coach, personal trainer, and author. He is the founder and owner of Premier Fitness Group LLC in South Salem, NY, a world-class functional training facility that provides private, semi-private, and group training.