Failure is a state of mind – bold words to be sure, but they’re true enough. Whether or not someone meets their goals depends on many things. They could be injured, they could be following the wrong tactics, they could even just be thinking about the whole thing wrong. By knowing exactly where the biggest pitfalls lie, along with how to sidestep them, you can help your clients meet their training and exercise goals quicker and more efficiently than ever before. With that in mind, here are the top 5 reasons people fail to meet their exercise goals, and what you can do to help them.

  1. Setting unrealistic goals

    This is the biggest mistake that your clients can make as by setting themselves an unobtainable goal they’re destined to fail before they get off the starting blocks. “I want to lose 100lbs in 2 weeks”, “I want to get ripped without any work”, “I want to bench press 100kg in no time at all” – these are all entirely unrealistic, and while that may be obvious to you and me, it may not be immediately obvious to your clients. They may genuinely think that they can lose the lbs as quickly as they lose sweat, and if they hit the gym with that kind of mentality, they’re setting themselves up for disappointment.

    Before your first session with a new client sit down with them and ask them 2 things. First, what are their goals; second, why are they their goals? In many cases the numbers they choose are arbitrary – try to help them figure out what they really want, and a time frame that they can realistically achieve them in.

  2. Trying to meet other people’s goals

    “I want to run as fast as Usain Bolt”, “I want to look like Arnie did in the 70’s”, “I want to lift whatever he’s lifting” – these goals are not the ones your clients should have in mind. Usain Bolt and Arnie trained extremely hard to get to where they are/were; that guy over there lifting the weight is already training, and by the time you get up to that weight, he will still be lifting heavier weights than you. Go back to step one, and help your clients figure out what they really want, and they can avoid a whole heap of disappointment as a result.

  3. Running out of motivation

    Everyone runs out of steam at one point or another. Sometimes your clients will have an off-day where their mind isn’t in the game. They won’t perform to their usual level, they will start to plateau and they will start to lose motivation and interest in their goals. It’s up to you as their personal trainer to walk them through these tough times – there are plenty of ways you can help your clients boost their motivation and get them back on track. If you see your client starting to plateau, start working out how to change their workout routine to keep them on track.

  4. Negative thinking

    The brain is one of the most powerful organs you have. If you convince yourself that you can’t lift something, the chances of you being able to lift it are incredibly slim. Conversely, if you convince someone that a placebo will cure them of an ailment, there is a chance that the power of the human mind will help them get better. This incredible power of positive thinking has been used by athletes for generations and there is enough science supporting the fact that this improves performance that there is no reason you should overlook this. If your clients are doubting themselves, make them a believer of their own abilities.


  6. Not following all the right tactics

    Abs are made in the kitchen. If your client works out 7 days a week and follows each session up with a large deep dish pizza and a milkshake, they won’t get the results they’re looking for. There are many things which go into getting the results that your clients crave, including everything from the most advanced personal training techniques to following the right nutrition for physical activity. If your clients follow the wrong tactics, cheat on their diet or simply just put in 50 per cent of the effort, they can’t realistically expect 100 per cent of the results. If you’re not seeing the results you expect, try to get to the bottom of why this is, and use that as fuel to aim them at their goals once more.