Personal training can be a very stressful and time-consuming endeavor when it comes to building your business. As a trainer, we typically affiliate or work with a specific gym in hopes to boost clientele. The worst thing you can encounter during you journey is a business owner that you don’t see eye to eye with. Here are some of the things that trainers wished gym owners would realize.

You Are The Owner, Act Like It

It just looks like a joke from a trainer’s perspective when their boss isn’t professional. An owner shouldn’t be hitting on members, talking bad about people within the gym, spreading rumors or gossip, or bragging about sexual activity. If you are an owner, start holding yourself to a higher standard and setting an example for your employees. You are the face of the gym, and any of your actions reflect onto the trainer’s public image. GROW UP.

It Is NOT My Job To Develop Your Personal Training Program

The worst thing you can do is be the best in the room. Especially when that is the only room you settle in and aren’t exposed to the world outside of those walls. Not only that, but you also have to pick up the slack around you when it comes to performance. It isn’t a trainer’s job to teach you how to construct a simple and effective consultation. It also isn’t a trainer’s job to share the knowledge they have accumulated over the years for you to use as your own.

You Can’t Dictate My Media

9 out of 10 times, a personal trainer has business outside of any given facility he or she works out of. Owner’s always get it wrong, thinking that they have to limit their trainers from promoting or advertising their brand within the gym. This is straight crap. Any trainer knows that in order to be successful, they have to promote and push their name. What confuses me, is why doesn’t a gym push the development of their trainer, the name of the trainer, and utilize that growth to boost the traffic to their gym. I mean, if the trainer’s business is centralized within the gym, and services it, then why limit the growth of the trainer when it simple sends out a red flag to that trainer.

Why Did You Even Hire Trainers If You Act Like The Trainer

Once you get hired to the gym, the first thought is, “I wonder how quickly I can get stacked with clients?” Time goes on and you realize that the owner of the gym has been doing consultations and trains the new sign-ups. You are left with anyone you find. This logic is “OKAY” if you are simply all about self promotion, but the concept of being a W-2 employee versus independent contractor is having a member list support system through the gym. It is the gyms sign-up and consultation crew that is the backbone of the personal training department. So, why in the world is the owner training new sign-ups when the trainer was hired on as a W-2, and is only here when he/she train clients. It is completely pointless to be associated with that concept, and is selfish of the owner. The owner should actually focus on somewhat important ideas, such as marketing, events/workshops, building relations, etc.

I Don’t Share My Clients, Sorry Not Sorry

Who even thought that sharing clients was a good idea…? Good personal trainers are wired to hustle to find new clients. Paychecks are never guaranteed. So what makes you think, after closing the sale, building a relationship, and having a specific training approach for that individual, that you can just sub for the trainer and be there trainer for a day? It might sound like a good idea to you, since you don’t understand what it’s like to be in our shoes. But, you should take the time to leave the trainer’s clients alone… They weren’t even yours to begin with.

Either Teach Me, or Leave Me Alone

We have all seen that gym owner that is Mr. Know It All. He or she brags about everything, has to one up you, and makes excuses on their mistakes no matter what. Trainers hate hearing that they are doing something wrong or not being efficient, when the individual providing criticism is not providing the solution. If you want to run your mouth on how good you can sell, or how personal training sessions should go, then go ahead and prove it. Show me. If not, then let me do what I am hired to do and go back to being the owner.

Quit Stalking My Clients

It is one thing if you are checking on the trainer’s clients through the trainer, but the gym owner shouldn’t be harassing clients on signing up for more sessions. Let the individual that has already built up value and trust be the person to pitch the renewal process. Typically, members don’t want to sit there and be your “Bro” or know everything about your life either. Business owners need to see that they aren’t needed in direct communication with the clients of the trainers. Owners now a days seem to try and make themselves feel needed.

This article is intended to illustrate just a small aspect of issues that frustrate serious personal trainers. Some viewers may never experience all of this, maybe none of it, or even really care. It is time to address issues that we view as personal trainers, and present them on a public platform to be discussed.

Feel free to comment with any experiences you may have encountered, or thoughts on the matter.




Hussien Jabai

BS in Human Performance

MS in Exercise Science Student


ACE Sports Conditioning Specialist

2 thoughts on “Mistakes Made By Fitness Gym Owners: From The Eyes of Their Trainers

  1. As I am knew in this line of work, I am seeing more business owners being more hands on with picking up clients. With “their” clients though, they already have had a network of clientele that they trained on the regular, built up relations, and they usually didn’t pick up anymore unless it was a direct or special request.
    When I travel, I go from town to town and explore new gyms. In the more successful gyms that I have seen tthe owner is literally the background/backbone of the gym. Everyone understand that they are the head honcho, but the trainers are the face of the gym. They are the people who have direct contact with the clients and are very influential on a gyms reputation. With thus being said I believe that if a gym owner were to help his trainer develop financially and mentally they would have more success in running a gym professionally and efficiently.


  2. There is a legal and ethical distinction between an employee (W2) and an independent trainer (1099). It is the norm that business owners hire indys and make them comply to rules they shouldn’t, because it’s convenient for them, such as: wearing a uniform that promotes the facility, using the facilities e-mail address/signature/business cards, promoting GF trainers (it’s illegal to promote any trainer if they’re an indy), relying on trainers to promote the facility (also illegal if they’re an indy), and – the worst offense – setting the pricing on leads/clients that the business owner provides while charging rent! You can’t hire indys to avoid paying taxes and benefits, yet treat them like employees when it’s to your advantage!


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