10 Mistakes Tallahassee Personal Trainers Make

Personal Training 6 min Read

Written by

Keith Hansen
Tallahassee has a lot of Personal Trainers, and many qualify as newbies.
I was one myself just a few years ago and I am writing this list based off of some of my own embarrassing moments. Some of it anyway. The rest of the list is based off of what I’ve witnessed other new personal trainers do.

New Personal Trainers are being certified in Tallahassee all the time (check out the article we wrote about hiring a personal trainer in Tallahassee); there are even some local programs handing out certifications.

If you are one of these brand-new, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Tallahassee Personal Trainers be sure to avoid the following 10 mistakes.

1. Writing Meal Plans

So you learned about macros, and how to calculate someone’s maintenance calories. You learned that someone looking to gain mass should eat 500 calories over their maintenance, and someone looking to lose fat should eat 500 calories less than maintenance. Writing a meal plan for someone should be easy then. Well, it is. What you didn’t learn is that getting someone to stick to a meal plan is hard. You also forgot you aren’t a Registered Dietician, and writing meal plans are out of your scope-of-practice. Stick to general recommendations my friend.

2. Writing Workout Programs

You can spend 2 hours writing a workout program tailored to your client’s needs, goals, and schedule. You’ve made it periodized, balanced, and interesting. In exactly 12 weeks they will finish the program and achieve greatness. You’ve created a masterpiece. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t matter, because your client’s life doesn’t revolve around the gym. That’s why they hired you. Your client likely has a family, social gatherings to attend, late nights at work, impending illnesses…Life. Life is going to happen to your client, and your masterpiece is going to be forgotten.

3. Placing Judgement on Your Client’s Old Personal Trainer

This is never a good idea. It’s simply unprofessional. You don’t know anything about their relationship with the previous personal trainer or the reason their relationship ended. You might think the previous trainer didn’t do a good job teaching your client how to squat or about the science of the phosphagen system. What you don’t know is that maybe your client is just a poor listener and their old trainer told them those things 100 times. You’re about to find out.

4. Training People for Optimal Efficiency Instead of Optimal Adherence

Your book said 30-90 seconds is the optimal amount of rest in hypertrophy training. You know that squats are the king of all exercises to build heaps of muscle. Studies have shown that HIIT training burns the most fat. But sometimes people need more rest than that. Some people just aren’t ready to squat. Most people will throw up if you put them through a HIIT workout. Sometimes you have to sacrifice whats optimal for what’s enjoyable because a client that sticks with you and your program long term is going to get the best results, not the person that fizzles out from boredom and exhaustion 2 months in. I’ve heard it said like this, “Training is 90% what your client wants, and 10% what your client needs”. I don’t necessarily agree with those percentages, but there is wisdom in that saying.

5. Not Leading

Clients pay you a lot of money to be the expert. They pay you to guide them for that hour-long session. Many clients have stressful jobs full of decision-making and your session is the single hour of the day where they get to hand over the reins of power and just do as their told. Their session with you should be an hour where they get to just turn their brain off, and turn their body on. Don’t rob them of that release by asking them to make the decisions as to what exercises are being done that day, or if more weight should be added. For that hour you are in charge. You are the expert. You are the boss.

6. Giving Too Many Options When Scheduling

You should do your best to schedule clients into neat, back-to-back blocks. Just because you *can* train any time that day doesn’t mean you should. It makes no sense to train a client at 3pm, 5pm, and 7 pm if you could just block them together at 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm. This opens up your schedule to be productive instead of waiting at the gym between sessions because there isn’t quite enough time to leave. Say this when scheduling a client, “I have an opening at 4pm. Will that work?” Instead of, “I can train you any time between 12 and 7”. The second one gives the impression that you have nothing going on, and that your time isn’t very valuable. It can lead to clients rescheduling last minute because they know you aren’t doing anything that day.

7. Taking Any Client

This is the toughest item on the list for a new trainer to avoid. When you are first starting out you need the money, and you tell yourself you can train anyone. This is a mistake. A lot of people won’t be a good fit for you, and you won’t give their sessions your all. Their lack of results from your lack of effort reflects poorly on you. The lack of energy in your sessions will turn other gym-goers (potential good-fit clients) away from you.

8. Coddling Your Client

While most people don’t want a drill instructor they certainly don’t want someone to baby them and ask if each set was okay. They need to be pushed to grow, and this isn’t going to happen if you’re afraid of giving them anything over a 15lb dumbbell. You need to learn to recognize the complainers and stop giving in to it. Your client will thank you for this later when they actually have results because you learned to be firm.

9. Forgetting Their Client’s Goals

You need to separate your goals from your clients goals. Just because you love powerlifting doesn’t mean your client needs to have a perfectly parallel, low-bar squat. They can build quads just fine with a goblet squat. You also need to know which exercises provide which results. Box jumps might make you client’s legs burn, but they aren’t going to build tree trunks. This exercise is irrelevant for hypertrophy goals. Keep your clients exercises in the forefront of your mind when you plan the workout.

10. Don’t Confuse your Clients with Industry Jargon

Susan is a soccer mom, not an anatomist. She doesn’t know what scapular depression is. However, if you tell her to pull her shoulders down and show off her chest, you will get the same result. Speak your client’s language, not your colleague’s.

Remember, these are mistakes that new or inexperienced personal trainers are likely to make. When you’re health and money are on the line, be sure to hire the best Personal Trainer Tallahassee


If you’re reading this article then you’re probably interested in working with a personal trainer.

Lucky for you, you can book free personal training sessions with us.

Keith Hansen

Keith was an All-State wrestler in high school and in 2007 hung up his singlet to attend Florida State University to pursue a B.S. in business management. He wasn't sure what industry he wanted to be involved in at the time, but soon realized after graduating in 2011 that fitness was the ever-constant activity in his life. Keith began studying to become a personal trainer and in 2013 earned the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Personal Trainer certification. After a short stint as a big box gym trainer he realized he wanted to bring something different to Tallahassee. Keith competes in Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and Crossfit.