If you’ve a personal trainer who works with clients on a one-to-one basis, it’s important that you have your client boundaries in place.

If you’ve ever been in a personal training situation where a client has annoyed or drained you in some way, please know that I too have had my fair share of these!

In this blog, I’m featuring 3 toxic personal training clients of mine that I wish I’d got rid of sooner.

Read on to find out how these clients left my services, and why:



Client 1 was a female coming to see me for personal training with diastasis recti following the birth of her third boy.

female personal trainer with pregnant client lying on their back with feet on swiss ball

Setting firm but fair boundaries are important for all client / personal trainer relationships

I worked my magic with her in her first session, sent her notes and the homework I’d like her to focus on in between sessions, and the clencher for knowing that this relationship was never meant to be was all to do with payment.

This client was a busy mum of 3 boys.

Now, to set up our first appointment together it took what felt like a thousand emails back and forth (email tennis, anyone?!), AND it also required a visit to MY bank for HER to deposit cash into my account as payment.

The same thing occurred with our second appointment, which never happened in the end because she replied too late for me to book a room at my clinic rooms that I hired, and therefore too late for her to deposit monies into my bank account.

An email was sent from my Virtual Assistant to say our next scheduled appointment had been cancelled and that was that as far as the client boundaries went.

No further action required.


If someone requests to pay you outside your payment terms, it’s probably a sign that it’s going to be taxing, time-consuming and a terrible idea.

Don’t have any payment terms and conditions?

Create them now, one which includes a cancellation policy/fee if the appointment is cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice given.



Can you relate to this scenario below?

You have that one client who’s still on your old pricing system, and recently you’ve found yourself starting to feel resentful that they’re still paying a lot less than your current/new clients?

Well, this happened to me with client number 2 here.

That, and the fact she talked incessantly throughout our sessions together about stuff I wasn’t that comfortable listening to: #Gossip

She wasn’t difficult to teach, she did her homework in between appointments, but because I wasn’t charging her a lot for my time and expertise…

…in the end she wasn’t valuing it either.

What happened?

Well, there was a mix up with a booking, she hadn’t paid me on time, and I had my Virtual Assistant cancel her appointment, and my client sent us a snooty email back (nice!).


If you have some clients paying you a lower price than other clients, set a date in your diary now where you will bring ALL of your PT clients inline – it’s basic client boundaries.

And, as above – stop doing pay as you go for one-on-one clients.

Oh, and do I have to mention setting your cancellation policies in place again here, or is this starting to sink in now…?



Client 3 was a busy mum of 1 toddler, twin boys, and an excitable Labrador, and to give her some credit here, she enjoyed the personal training appointments with me for abdominal separation rehab, but it was obvious that she wasn’t committed to the cause and the client boundaries were getting strained here.

I understand she was a very busy person and I really really tried to do as much as I could to get her aligned and breathing better and get her core firing reflexively etc, but there really is a limit to what I can do if someone’s not going to spend time doing the exercises in between sessions, or make some changes to their lifestyle etc.

personal trainer with pen lying on floor writing client homework in notebook

Setting homework for your personal training clients forms an integral part of the client/trainer relationship

When someone comes to me for diastasis recti rehab, I follow a simple 7-step method which involves a full-body approach, and aspects such as: breathing, alignment, core activation, lifestyle factors, nutrition and you guessed it – homework!

After our third appointment together; more excuses on her part; and relatively no change in her symptoms or progress, I decided that it was best to NOT send any homework notes through to her after that session, and guess what happened?

She never followed me up, and she just organically left my services, leaving the slate clean for the next client who valued my time and my expertise.


Mindset is huge, and money mindset goes alongside this, so when someone pays you a worthwhile figure, your work is seen as more valuable and not just cast aside.

Since working with these 3 toxic clients who tested my client boundaries, I’ve made a lot of changes in my personal training business.

I no longer offer pay as you go; my terms and conditions are succinctly laid out before any monetary transaction takes place, my clients get relief quickly from abdominal separation and/or pelvic floor dysfunction, and they get such good results because they do their homework.


If, you’re raising your hand today to say you need help setting firm but fair terms and conditions in your personal training business because you’ve had clients walk all over you in the past, then click here.

I created the Boundaries For Business program for health and fitness professionals who want to go from people-pleaser to boundary believer!

Boundaries For Business is a private podcast feed designed for you, the FitPro to set boundaries to ensure your business runs as smoothly, stress-freely and financially-securely as possible.

logo for boundaries for business program

For FitPros who want to go from people-pleaser to boundary-believer!


Access the Boundaries For Business program here, and I wish you all the best for some happy boundary setting – you’ve got this!