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Reasons Why Clients Give Up On Fitness And Ways You Can Keep Them Motivated

A woman looks depressed and stressed in the gym, bowing her head

Have you ever felt defeated, exhausted, and tired mid-workout? Have you had those moments where you’ve just wanted to quit and stop your fitness journey? You’re not alone in your struggle.

It’s only normal for fitness and workout motivation to waiver, and if you, as a fitness professional, find yourself struggling to keep up, imagine how your clients feel.


It’s important for us as trainers and fitness professionals to extend empathy and understand why our clients lose the drive to perform and fall off the wagon and learn how to motivate them. Let’s talk about this here:

They weren’t getting results right away

One of the biggest reasons why fitness clients walk away from their workout programs and services is that they do not see results right away. Many clients, especially those who are new to fitness and exercise, may be expecting to see their bodies transform overnight, dropping dress sizes and losing their belly fat or getting a Hulk-like physique in just a few weeks.

We know that it’s not that simple or quick, and seeing effective, meaningful change takes at least 6-8 weeks of consistent exercise and dietary changes. Many people may be frustrated with how slow the process is and how long it takes to see results, but it’s important for you to apply knowledge from your fitness trainer certifications to guide them.

Counsel them, guide them, educate them on the process and how long it truly takes to see physiological changes, and coach them through the process. This is where your skills and your ability to share information with your clients are truly put to the test.

A woman lays in bed lazily, stretching instead of working out

The workouts are too easy for them

What may come as a surprise to many personal health and fitness coaches is that clients may not find the workouts challenging enough. It’s easy to lose workout motivation when your workouts feel too easy for you, don’t keep you on your toes, or push you to get stronger, better, and more efficient.

It falls on you, the trainer, to keep them challenged and engaged and design workouts that are appropriate for their fitness level. Focus on progressive overload, adding more weights, trying complex movements, and creating workouts that really push them out of their comfort zones. A workout that’s too easy for their liking is never going to be effective in the long run, and they will turn elsewhere for that sense of stimulation and excitement

Be sure to keep the workouts fresh, appropriate for their experience and fitness levels, and keep your clients on their toes. This may be challenging to do when you work with group fitness clients where people have varying fitness levels, but you can always share advanced, intermediate, and beginner-level modifications.

The workouts were too challenging

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have clients losing workout motivation because the workouts you plan for them are too difficult. This can be quite difficult for them to deal with and impacts their confidence, self-esteem, and performance in more ways than one. The difficulty level of a workout is definitely a tricky balance to strike, but it’s easier to get a hold of once you understand where your clients stand.

Perform a detailed evaluation, see how they adapt to the difficulty level, and give them space to modify for ease. Yes, you need to challenge them sufficiently, but if every workout has them feeling miserable, tired, exhausted, and injured, you’re doing something wrong.

Meet your client where they’re at currently, and help them reach their true potential slowly, progressively, and appropriately. Being too hard on them from the get-go can turn them away from working out with you and cause them to quit.

The exercises aren’t aligned with their goals

Another common reason clients lose workout motivation and quit their fitness journeys is that the workout and exercises don’t align with their goals. Trainers and coaches, especially those working one-on-one with their clients, need to create a plan that factors in their goals. What you deem important or necessary for them may not be what they’re looking for.

Instead, what you can do is meet them halfway and create a plan that accounts for their goals, brings them closer to them, and also focuses on what you feel is necessary and important.

You can use this guide to design a workout routine for your clients and create a holistic, goal-oriented program to deliver what they want. Use the expertise you gain from your personal trainer training course to focus on mobility, stabilization, strength-building, and other benefits, but don’t veer off-track from their long-term goals and aims.

A client gets tired and stops mid-run, taking a break

The workouts are no longer affordable

A significant deterrent for many fitness clients is that your workouts and services are no longer affordable and falling outside their budget. While this isn’t necessarily tied to workout motivation, it impacts adherence, commitment, and consistency for many.

Clients don’t want to work with trainers and personal health and fitness coaches who are overly expensive and can’t deliver their money’s worth. You need to understand what it takes to deliver quality services with fair pricing while still knowing how to generate profits. It’s definitely not easy to do, and it’s one of the aspects we cover in our business development courses and certifications. Managing your business as a fitness professional is one of the most challenging things to do, and it definitely has its fair share of challenges.

Trainers need to know how to improve client retention, maintain affordability, and use innovative solutions to help clients, including online services, discounts, and offers, among other strategies. It helps to build a clientele that trusts you, chooses you, and can commit to your services in the long run. This is important for both you and your clients and may require trial and error before you find that pricing sweet spot.

There’s no accountability for them

It’s easy to lose workout motivation if there’s no sense of accountability for your clients. People won’t perform well or do their best if they don’t feel like they’re being held to a certain standard or being monitored.

Many fitness trainers make the mistake of shaming their clients, screaming or yelling at them, and berating them for not performing or being consistent–without ever holding them accountable.

One of the primary reasons people choose to work with personal trainers is that they’re looking for somebody to hold them accountable and responsible for their goals, whether it’s being more consistent with exercise, eating healthy, or sticking to their health goals. A personal trainer’s job involves getting invested in their client’s success, ensuring that they stay on track, and motivating them to do better and show up for themselves every single day.

A client workouts at home on her yoga mat

They don’t feel seen or heard by you

Alongside holding them accountable, however, you also need to hear them out and truly listen to what they’re saying.

One of the biggest reasons fitness clients choose to walk away from gyms and workouts is that they don’t feel seen or heard by their trainers. It’s not realistic to do exactly what the client asks of you all the time, and your professional judgment is key, but you do need to be a good listener.

To see real commitment and progress from your clients and keep their workout motivation running high, you need to hear them out, listen to their concerns, and understand them when they express their worries. A good trainer will allow them to express themselves, share how they feel, what their feedback is, and take criticism too. Your job isn’t just to impart your knowledge and expertise; it’s also to improve your practice and skills as a fitness professional based on what your clients have to say.

They’re undergoing major life changes

One of the most significant reasons that clients stop working out and give up on their fitness journeys is that they’re undergoing major life changes. Some of them may have health complications like surgeries, they might be postpartum, or they may be suffering from diseases and conditions that hinder or affect the way they work out.

Other life changes could include moving, breakups or divorces, raising children, or work stress, which are valid reasons and factors in causing changes to their workout schedules. It’s important to be considerate and sensitive to these changes and learn how to work around them. Being flexible, adaptive, and open to change are all important qualities of a good trainer.

If you’re planning on getting certified as a personal trainer, you will need to be flexible in your approach to training and working with clients to give them a personalized experience.

A trainer motivates his client offering her his hand

They don’t feel like it’s the right fit

Many clients may not feel like they’re the right fit for you, and vice versa. It’s a tough pill to swallow and isn’t ideal, but sometimes it is what it is. Clients may not feel like your workouts suit their needs, lifestyle, and preferences, and there may not be an obvious solution to this issue.

You can take requests and recommendations on what you can do to help them feel like it’s a good fit, such as adapting the workout style, pace, or program to be more flexible and relevant. Other times you might just need to take the high road and refer them to someone else.

However, if your clients’ requirements are something you’re interested in and want to explore further, you can always get specialized health and fitness certifications online. These include youth fitness, senior fitness, and medical fitness certifications.

They are bored with the workouts you do

An issue you can address, however, is boredom.

It’s easy to lose steam and workout motivation if you’re not interested in or enjoying what you do in the gym, and that’s a concern that many clients present.

Trainers and fitness professionals know that consistency is key, and you will need to do the same workouts to see steady results and payoffs. However, giving your clients some form of variation, engagement, and excitement can be incredibly helpful in keeping them hooked.

Spice things up with some changes, such as throwing tabata in your regular cardio class or incorporating yoga into your cool-down routines. Some amount of variation goes a long way in beating boredom.

A client looks frustrated and upset as he holds a dumbbell in one hand

Learn Effective Client Management Strategies Through Our Health and Fitness Certifications Online

With client demands changing so rapidly and the need for smarter, more efficient trainers, it’s important that you upgrade your skill sets to continue growing as a professional and helping your clients find workout motivation.

Explore the various courses available online on W.I.T.S. Education’s website. We have excellent health and fitness certifications online that not only equip you with basic training, education, and knowledge but also teach you more advanced strategies and skills like client management.

Browse through our selection of the most comprehensive personal training courses or specialized continuing education courses in fields like senior fitness training, youth fitness training, and more. Once complete, you can work as a personal health and fitness coach in your desired niche.

For more recommendations, updates, and information, head to our blog for the latest, most updates from the industry, advice on workout motivation, and much more content.

To learn more about our certifications and courses, reach out to us, and our team can help you with your queries and concerns and guide you through the registration process.

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1 thought on “Reasons Why Clients Give Up On Fitness And Ways You Can Keep Them Motivated

  1. Want more options with solutions that work in helping your struggling clients? Try the NEW W.I.T.S. Health Coach Certification Course! 12 CEC’s too.

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