Personal Training Frustrates Me. Here’s Why

Personal Training Frustrates Me. Here’s Why

My name is Patrick Burns and I am a personal trainer.

I love the career I have chosen, but then again… it sucks. The personal training profession is very negatively stigmatized – and rightfully so.

Let me start by saying this is not meant to deter you from personal training. Whether that be pursuing the career, or pursuing help through one – I encourage you to do it, but read carefully.

I hate to overgeneralize the entire population, because obviously there are tons of fantastic trainers, but unfortunately, the profession is still overly saturated with “bad” trainers.

I feel that I should clarify something. By “bad” trainers, I’m not talking about a trainer’s ability to get their clients’ results. A “bad” trainer could help you lose 50 pounds – that’s awesome, but does not necessarily mean he/she is a good personal trainer…

Growing up, did you ever hear a teacher say something along the lines of “a few people ruined it for everyone”? I know I did.

In the case of Personal Training, I think it’s the opposite. Everyone ruined it for a few people. Let me tell you what I mean.

Here are 7 reasons why Personal Training Frustrates Me:

  1. Just because you love working out, Does NOT mean you should be a trainer!

Sure, you may love working out, but that DOES NOT mean you should take it upon yourself to train others! Before jumping into a personal training course because you gained 10 lbs. of muscle from a program, learn more. Loving exercise is obviously a part of being a personal trainer, but that alone will not make you a good one. Learn to love being a coach, helping others, and most importantly, LISTENING.

  1. It’s Easy

This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the profession – It’s easy to become certified. I absolutely hate it. As a personal trainer, I wish it were harder to become a personal trainer. My mom, who has a minimal understanding of exercise and the body, could study for a period of time and pass an online personal training exam. Obviously, some certifications are more credible and advanced than others, but unfortunately, they all provide the same benefits.

  1. Lack of Knowledge of Anatomy

This is SUPER common – trainers who lack knowledge of human body anatomy. Sure, all trainers know the major muscle groups and probably have a good idea of how to target those muscles, but that’s not enough. It’s like being a mechanic that loves cars, but doesn’t actually understand what goes on under the hood.

Customer: “Hello. I’d like to get my car looked at. It hasn’t been running right and the check engine light came on last week.”

Mechanic: “Sure, I’ll take a look”

Mechanic: “ It looks like you need 2 front tires. I also noticed a dent on your rear bumper. Want me to buff it out for $99?”

  1. Training Based on Generalizations

I guess I’m contradicting myself on this one, since I am generalizing an entire profession… but 1-on-1 training should be INDIVIDUALIZED. We all move differently, and have varying areas that need specific attention. You don’t necessarily have to make specific programs for every single client, but at least modify things appropriately.

  1. Knowing WHY Instead of Simply Knowing HOW

Most personal trainers know how. Yes, doing bicep curls works the bicep – great job! Why do bicep curls work the bicep? “Because” is not a sufficient answer. It’s because the primary function of the bicep is flexion of the elbow and supination of the forearm… that’s why.

Knowing muscular function doesn’t necessarily make you a good or bad trainer – but it definitely helps. Understanding why exercises do what they do, instead of simply knowing how to do them. There is a huge difference.

  1. Lack of Desire to Improve

One of the biggest aspects of being a fitness professional is continued education. The health & exercise field is constantly changing, developing, and growing.

With that being said, the lack of desire to improve as trainers is extremely frustrating. Sure, you got your Personal Training Certificate online. Great. That doesn’t mean you should get comfortable and settle in. Challenge yourself to continue to learn and develop by pursuing additional education. I’m sure your clients wouldn’t mind.

  1. Again, It’s Easy

My frustrations keep bringing me back to this. If the process of becoming a trainer became more strenuous and difficult, then the number of poor trainers would decrease significantly. I truly believe the profession should start implementing apprenticeships – learn, grow, and receive on-the-job experience that will help all trainers become better coaches, people, and fitness professionals.


I genuinely love personal training.

…But, I absolutely hate the negative connotations surrounding it. I want the career path to be more highly respected, and not just looked at as an easy, temporary job. I definitely won’t be doing 1-on-1 training forever, but I plan to be a fitness coach and professional for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, the personal training industry will always be saturated with “bad” trainers. It’s up to you, as a consumer or future trainer, to do your due diligence.

Guiding others to better health is something I am extremely passionate about. I plan to continue to learn and grow as a fitness professional, with hopes of finding unlimited success doing what I love.

I hope this does not deter you from personal training, but rather, encourage you to either:

  1. Be a better trainer
  2. Find a better trainer

Thanks for reading.

Your Fitness Friend,

Patrick Burns



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