Helping a Client Who’s Struggling


From Fitness Trainer March/April

Clients who walk through our doors with a goal and a date for completion are like gold: They’ll always have high motivation and get fantastic results by training with us.

Reality check: Most trainers know that humans are much more complicated than that.

Even people who excitedly begin training for an event, competition, or other specific goal can lose sight of their goals when they hit a roadblock.

In fact, clients who expect a lot from themselves often fall the hardest when there’s an unexpected setback or perceived failure. How can we help them stay on track when there’s an injury, life event, or other bump in the road that threatens their motivation?

Signs That Your Client May Be Struggling

Clients may be disappointed in themselves when they struggle. They may also be self conscious or embarrassed to talk to you about it, especially if they were particularly gung ho in the beginning.

Before you pry, look for these warning signs.

  • Suddenly starts missing sessions
  • Considers quick-fix solutions, such as fad diets
  • Complains about being tired or too busy
  • Acts disinterested during their session
  • Stops tracking food or following their nutrition plan
  • If usually friendly, becomes sarcastic or Irritable


Suzanne Digre

Is National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer and online coach in Denver, Colorado. Suzanne also has a Bachelor’s in Journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver. Her 20-year passion for weightlifting led her to found her blog,, where she’s written more than 300 fitness and nutrition articles. Suzanne founded her online coaching business, Workout Nirvana Fitness, LLC, in 2011 to help women eat clean unapologetically, sculpt lean muscle, and own a fierce mindset both in and out of the weight room. In addition to weightlifting, Suzanne loves hiking in the Rocky Mountains, cycling, and most recently, cross-country skiing. She approaches personal training with a compassionate yet determined attitude that allows clients to feel successful with small, consistent lifestyle and mindset changes.