In today’s log I’ll give you the 2 Biggest Mistakes Personal Training Clients Make based off of my observations after almost 34 years in this business. These mistakes are simple to correct, but not easy for many to implement. So, if you are a personal trainer, a coach, or a client and you are training but not meeting your goals, pay attention.

I’ll list them in order of importance and the effect they have on your clients, or your results:

The 2 Biggest Mistakes Personal Training Clients Make #1

They refuse to change their dietary habits.

Nutrition is THE most important thing to change. Period.

When I say this, I am referring to the 90% or more of the clients we see in personal and group training. If you train elite level athletes, it may apply, but probably doesn’t.

Anyway, here is a typical scenario:

Client A comes in, signs up for a package and you set them up on a plan. Hopefully, you did a reliable body composition scan on them so that you have accurate data to track progress. And, hopefully, you had them do “Before” pictures.

In your consultation, you explain that they must make changes to their eating habits. You review the importance of adequate protein intake and eliminating processed and packaged foods too. I’m guessing that you give them a list of “go to” foods and foods to slowly reduce and eliminate, right?

When you tell them these things, they nod their heads and tell you yes, yes, yes I’ll do all of the things you tell me to. And, off they go.

As the training sessions go on you continually remind them about getting their nutrition off to a great start by increasing protein intake and why that is important. Of course they agree and tell you either that they are doing it or that they can’t.

My head explodes when I hear they can’t.

Can’t means won’t.

It’s easy to add more protein in, they just make excuses because most grossly underestimate it’s importance.

One thing I tell them to do besides increasing portions of protein and reducing carbs/fats to adjust for it is this:

Add a scoop of whey to some water twice a day. They are now up about 50 grams daily of additional protein with almost no effort.

This is met with two different reactions.

1. Wide eyed wonderment and why didn’t I think of that.

2. I don’t like powders, they are yucky.

In scenario 1, things change for the better if they do it.

Scenario 2 is a different story. Most of the time we see no changes and a lack of satisfaction with their progress.


Anyway, if you’ve been around this industry for a while, you have seen that many people get stronger, and add muscle but, they don’t lose fat, or even get fatter.  

Is it your program?

I doubt it.

I’ll say 90% of the time it is that they eat like shit and either will not change it or they think they are eating well. Thinking they are eating well but actually not eating well happens more often than you think. Advertising, the media and the medical community mislead us, often intentionally into believing foods are healthy when they are actually garbage.

They are guilty of convincing the masses that beef, eggs and other whole foods are bad for you; while telling you that made in a factory processed and chemical and seed oil laden "plant based meats" are the way to go. This is just the tip of the lie iceberg.

Just the tip.

We need to step in and attempt to educate them about this if they think they are doing the right thing but aren’t.

I can’t tell you how many of my clients and many others over the years do not take the advice they paid for. I can tell you that the ones who do get the results they want.

Here is an example from this morning.

I had a 39 year old, 125 pound female who came in to our TPS Method program, sat with me in the consultation, listened attentively and took detailed notes. She then took the advice that she paid for and wow, she made incredible progress.

We had her one month follow up today. In 4 weeks she lost 5 pounds of body fat (4%) and gained 3 pounds of skeletal muscle.

Yes this is incredible but it really happened.

Her progress was pretty amazing and the fact that she had zero strength training experience was part of the reason she made so much progress.


The bigger factor that affected her progress is that she changed her diet.  

And she did it slowly.

She followed the tips in my Murphwatchers log and the video below.

And, she left with a Costco sized smile on her face!

The 2 Biggest Mistakes Personal Training Clients Make #2

They only train on days they are with you!

In order to make an effective change we need to build up to 5-6 days of exercise per week. We don’t do this out of the gate, we do it slowly.

Start with 2-3 days and in a few weeks add in a fourth, and repeat until you are up to 6 days of exercise.

Coaches and trainers-ask yourself how many of your clients do this?

And of the ones that do not, how many are satisfied with their progress?

In order to lose weight and fat we need to move our bodies. Motion is lotion. What exercise we do is not terribly important once we get the strength training dialed in. 2-3 days of strength work is reasonable for most people’s lifestyle and another 2-3 days of something else (it could be strength training) will do the trick. As long as they are moving.

And, some cardio is needed. Not for fat loss and weight loss. Rather, it is because it is good for your heart and for your blood profile. Get your cardio done.

Avoid the 2 Biggest Mistakes Personal Training Clients Make and up your protein and get your training in.

You’ll see your results or your clients results start to increase!


If you are in the area, TPS is hosting the RPS Boston's Strongest Full Power meet for Charity Saturday November 12th. Come by and watch some awesome lifting!

Did you miss last week’s log?

Read it here.



Vincere vel mori

C.J. Murphy

November 10, 2022

Total Performance Sports