5 Things I've Learned from Clients - Erin's Inside Job

5 Things I’ve Learned from Clients

I’ve written many posts about becoming a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, but a lot of them had to do with the process of becoming one or what I had learned through that process.

I had the idea for this post while struggling to stay awake after being up since 4 am. I’m normally up pretty early, but Tuesdays are my SUPER early day of teaching. Some days I’m able to stay up the rest of the day and others I have to take a nap or I won’t be of any use to anyone.

While I debated doing blog work or taking a quick nap, I thought about all of the people who show up to my class at 5 am. They come so early because they have to get their workouts in before heading to work. They’re not able to take a nap at 11 am because they’ve been up for so long. That’s hardcore.

So, while I inevitably took a nap 🙂 , I also took some time to reflect on some of the things I’ve learned from my time training clients and teaching classes.

As a personal trainer, I'm often the one teaching others. This post is about the things I've learned from clients that help me in my own fitness journey and life.

1. Motivation

I think this one is pretty obvious. As in the example above, I’m always inspired by people who choose to wake up and show up when it’s hard. Granted, it’s totally ok to sleep in from time to time (#balance), but those clients who choose to work out at early hours in order to fit that workout in always amaze me.

I’m also motivated by clients who push themselves in their one on one workouts. Oftentimes I will write a workout and think “oh man, this is going to suck.” Knowing that I wouldn’t want to do it but seeing someone else push themselves motivates me to always try a little harder.

2. Perfection isn’t the goal

I think we all know how I feel about perfection. I don’t think I’ve had one client come to me with unrealistic expectations or hyperawareness on one specific body part. No, I take that back, and that relationship didn’t last very long.

It’s so refreshing when I ask someone what their goals are to hear them say “I just want to be healthier.” Many of them do wish to lose weight, but it’s an overall weight loss on the road to overall health. They understand that it’s a process and that there’s no overnight fix. I also love many of them emphasizing their desire to be stronger, which, to me, is a good break from trying to become as skinny as possible.

3. It’s ok to listen to your body

I’ve never been very sick while having to train clients *knock on wood.* Several of mine, however, have had to cancel appointments because they were either feeling under the weather or simply needed a day to rest. It got me thinking about what I would do if was ever sick, yet needing to still work and make money.

It’s easy for me to take it easy on the fitness front when I feel myself coming down with something, but I know I would have a harder time if it impacted my work. Having clients listen to their bodies and adjust their schedules appropriately is a good reminder for me to take down time if the situation ever arises.

4. Challenge yourself

I’m generally pretty good about pushing myself when I work out. When I go, I find ways to challenge myself, whether it’s through a heavier weight, a faster pace, or a harder modification. I’ve been impressed with the number of clients who have told me they could use a heavier weight or take the speed up themselves while doing things like treadmill sprints. I will often give them harder and easier versions of the same exercise and more often than not, they’ll do the harder one for as long as they can.

I definitely believe that you have to push yourself outside your comfort zone to get results and seeing others make that decision for themselves helps reinforce my own.

5. Friendship

As many amazing people as I have met through this blog and social media, training clients and teaching classes has brought just as many into my life. My very early days of training were a little rough and I didn’t have a great connection to some of my clients. I would show up, make polite conversation, and leave. Since then, I have had several long term clients that I’ve done things with outside of training, traveled to see, and texted with throughout the day (usually with pictures of dogs or food).

I love being able to connect with everyone, learn new things, and really just establish relationships that go beyond just helping them exercise. It’s far more rewarding than pushing papers around or dispensing drugs to the masses and I can definitely say that I think I’m in the right place.


  • What’s something surprising you didn’t expect to learn from your job?

13 comments on “5 Things I’ve Learned from Clients

    1. I know! Today mine inspired me to do a workout this evening that I kept waffling back and forth on haha

  1. yayyy i loved this! i would love to train with you, you’re so thoughtful and insightful haha. i feel like every session would be like finding yourself ahahah.
    and i fully agree with the motivation part – i thought i was motivated cause i got up at 7 am and went to work each day (lol, go Cheng). But when i used to do muay thai, there would be people with who would train every day at 6 am and then go to work. Who has the energy to kick someone at 6 am??
    Beverley @ Born to Sweat recently posted…7 Simple Kitchen Hacks To Make Your Life EasierMy Profile

  2. I love this because your clients sound so balanced; they know when to push themselves and when to take a day off; sometimes I really stink at taking a day off because I’m too proud to admit my body needs rest. LOVE learning from the people you are helping and teaching. I think you would be an amazing coach.

  3. In a world of millennials all wanting to have OMG SO FULILLING JOBS I’ve learned that it’s okay for a job to just be a job.
    If you can find a unicorn job, that’s awesome, but for me, my job affords me the opportunity to do cool shit, and that’s more than okay with me.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Link Love 12/7My Profile

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