What Personal Trainers Absolutely Hate: Top Ten Things

I absolutely loved being a personal trainer, it was without a doubt one of the best jobs I’ve ever had in my life. However, there were some things that I (and nearly every trainer out there) really hated about the job.

So, in today’s article, I’ve put together a list of the top things that really get under every personal trainer’s skin and drive them absolutely mad.

Here’s a sneak peek of just a few of the things that drive personal trainers mad

  • Lateness
  • Last-minute cancellations
  • Missed payments
  • Clients not making any progress
  • Complaining

These are just a few of the things that annoy PTs, there’s a whole lot more, some of them will surprise you, and some of them will gross you out. Keep reading to find out more.

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what personal trainers hate

Personal trainers hate lateness, missed sessions, and not being paid on time more than anything else. There may be additional aspects of the role that bothers them, but these factors greatly impact their business and their client’s potential to make progress and attain the results they expect.

What do personal trainers hate?

  • Lateness
  • Last-minute cancellations
  • Missed payments
  • Clients not making progress
  • Complaining
  • Excuses
  • People wanting things for free
  • Being blamed for a lack of results
  • Over talkative clients
  • Difficult clients


personal trainers hate clients being late

Everyone’s late once in a while, and that’s totally fine, it’s even finer when a client calls or messages ahead of the session to let their trainer know they will be showing up a few minutes later than agreed.

However, clients turning up late to sessions on a regular basis drives PTs absolutely mad. Not only is it rude, but it also completely screws up the session plan they had. Trainers’ businesses are built on getting people results, and if large portions of the workouts they planned for their clients aren’t being completed because there isn’t time, the likelihood of any noticeable progress being made becomes pretty slim.

What’s worse is when a client who was late to a session demands that they still complete the full-hour or half-hour session, because they have paid for it. Trainers are busy people, and more likely than not, they probably have a bunch of clients lined up one after another, if you’re late to a session you lose that time, why should someone else who’s turned up on time be punished for someone else tardiness?

Last-minute cancellations

Worse than running late is canceling sessions only a few minutes before they were due to begin.

Again, a canceled session once in a while is ok, it happens, life gets in the way of even the best intentions sometimes, and the problem begins when it becomes a common occurrence.

Clients are booked into a session time for a good reason, trainers’ businesses rely on them completing and being paid for sessions, and they can’t have people not turning up and expecting not to be charged for the time wasted.

If you have to cancel last minute, you should expect to still pay for the missed session, just like you would usually be charged a fee for last-minute cancelation of reservations in popular restaurants or holiday bookings.

If you cancel within plenty of time, I’m sure a trainer would find little issue with this, as they can move another session to fill in the gap in their diary, but with short notice, they don’t have the opportunity to do so, which means they are left waiting around for an hour until their next session.

This scenario is actually a lot more frustrating than you might initially think.

Missed payments

personal trainers hate not being paid for sessions

Trainers often have to pay the gyms they work in rent to be able to use their facilities, and that rent is not cheap!

Some gyms in London charge upwards of £1,000 a month, just in rent alone, so trainers need to get paid or they will be under considerable stress.

I always found this issue to be strange, because you’d be surprised how many people would turn up to sessions knowing full well that they hadn’t paid for them, sometimes even after several warnings about needing to do so.

If you are going to use a personal trainer, you need to pay them for it, and much as you can’t get in a cab and expect them to be ok with you not paying them, you should not expect any trainer to give in and not charge you, it’s how they make their living and it’s not fair.

Clients not making any progress

You might be surprised to hear this, but clients training for months on end and making next to no progress really bothers trainers.

Whilst you might think “So what, they are getting paid whether their clients get results or not, so what does it matter?”, but it really does.

A big chunk of a trainer’s business comes from referrals and from client testimonials, without these, they are left walking the gym floor for hours each day trying to drum up business, which, as a side note, is also another thing PTs hate doing.

It also frustrates them, because they know how much progress their clients would get if only they put in the effort. A trainer can’t be with someone 24 hours a day, so it’s vitally important that additional workouts are completed and dietary advice is listened to.

From my experience, I can say that most (if not nearly all) of my clients were very good at coming to the gym on their own and following the advice I gave. I always made sure I went and spoke to them if I had a spare second when they did, but there were always a few that seemed to expect to transform their bodies simply by hiring a trainer once a week.

This is not how things work, if you want results, you should hire a trainer, but you’re still accountable for the results you get, and a lot of where this progress comes from is outside of your PT sessions.


personal trainers hate clients complaining

I doubt there’s a PT out there that isn’t fed up with hearing people complaining throughout their sessions.

If there’s been an injury or a client feels uncomfortable about performing a certain exercise, or anything similar to this, it’s obviously fine to say something, and their trainer should make them feel as at ease as possible, that’s part of their role. However, the issue arises when seemingly everything is a problem.

If a client complains about one exercise after another and wants to swap it for something they like doing, they really shouldn’t bother hiring a trainer as there’s a good chance the exercises they enjoy doing may not be particularly beneficial to them.

I’ve had a few of these clients in my time, and it’s crazily frustrating when you’ve put in a lot of time and effort into prescribing what you know will get them the results they want in the fastest and most efficient manner, only to have nothing but complaints coming your way.


I wasn’t one of those trainers that would work my clients like a drill sergeant, but I also wasn’t one to accept excuses either.

Every now and then you meet people, not just in fitness, but in life in general that seem to have an excuse for everything. They couldn’t do their workouts this week because they had to take their dog to the vet, they haven’t lost any weight this month because they had business meetings where they just had to eat steak, fries, and dessert because there were no healthy choices. Silly things like this.

These were also more often than not the people that would blame their trainer if they didn’t get the results they were looking for (which we’ll come back to later).

People wanting things for free

personal trainers hate it when people ask for things for free

Trainers spend a lot of money becoming qualified, they also put a lot of their time and effort into becoming experts in their trade. This is why it’s so frustrating when they get a barrage of friends, family, and even gym members who ask for workout programs, diet advice, or even someone to train them for free.

I’ve heard this is the same for professions such as psychology, if someone is introduced as a psychologist at a party, everyone starts wanting to have their dreams and thoughts analyzed for free, and it’s really not fair.

Much as you wouldn’t expect your boss to call you up and come into work on a Saturday and not be paid for it, you shouldn’t expect a trainer to just give you their time and knowledge for free either.

Being blamed for a lack of results

Connected to the excuses paragraph earlier (see, I told you we’d come back to it), a trainer often should not be blamed for a client’s lack of results.

Granted there are some pretty crappy trainers out there, just as there are bad employees in pretty much any industry, but the majority know exactly what they are doing, and have probably prescribed precisely what was needed in order for a client to reach their goals because remember, it’s also in their interest to help people achieve what they want out of going to the gym.

Nine times out of ten, it’ll be the client that is to blame for a lack of results or progress in their training. Maybe a few sessions were missed, maybe there were a few fast-food meals here and there that weren’t spoken about, or maybe they just didn’t put in the effort required and hoped that simply by paying for someone to be with them in the gym, results would magically materialize.

Over talkative clients

personal trainers hate overly chatty clients

I made a real effort to make sure I was building rapport with my clients and making sure I really got to know them as people and not just customers. This meant had to ask a lot of questions and do a lot of listening, which I absolutely loved.

There’s nothing wrong with having discussions during your sessions, in fact, it’s great, but it’s a problem when you have people that don’t know when to stop talking and start exercising.

Some people can talk and talk, and soon enough you find yourself struggling to finish the exercises you wanted to get done in that session, which ties back into our previous paragraph about the lack of results.

I also always knew when my clients were deliberately chatting for a long time because they wanted a longer rest period, that never flew with me, and as soon as I spotted it, I’d get them working on their next set.

Difficult clients

I’ve put this point last because difficult clients encompass some if not all of the previously discussed points.

A single session with a difficult client you don’t enjoy training can literally ruin your whole week. I was lucky that when I was in a position after a few years to be quite picky with who I trained, and If I found out after a few weeks that a client I thought I’d get on with actually wasn’t a good match, I’d be able to pass them onto another trainer.

However, a lot of trainers. (especially those new to the industry) aren’t in this position, and being left with clients that are lazy, late, or worse, rude, really puts a dampener on their career.


This list is by no means exhaustive, I’m sure there are other things that personal trainers out there hate, but I’ve certainly covered the most common and most important.

Being a trainer is a fantastic job, and as I’ve said a bunch of times on this site, I loved every minute of it, but there are certain things that just grind your gears, just like there are things in everybody’s jobs that they don’t exactly love or look forward to.

I hope this article has given you some insight into the minds of trainers and what drives them nuts, so if you’ve hired a trainer, or are thinking of getting one, please remember to be on time for your sessions or let them know if you can’t attend, trust me, they will really appreciate it.

Have a great day!

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Chris Walker

Chris Walker worked in the City of London as a fully qualified REP's level three personal trainer for just under ten years. He built and maintained a client base of 40 individuals and worked with several high profile clients, including actors, actresses, comedians and politicians.

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