Home PT Motivational Foundations How To Manage Your Time and Detect When Clients Lie

How To Manage Your Time and Detect When Clients Lie

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
― Albert Einstein

The ‘hidden’ foundations on how to be a successful Personal Trainer lies in proper time management – making your client understand you mean business!  In one simple week – you can totally revolutionise your PT business and truly discover your riches on how to be a successful Personal Trainer…

New year’s resolutions.  Fresh career options.  Managing day to day pressures.  Meeting deadlines.  Dealing with customers.  Answering calls.  Making calls.  Getting on top of things.  Trying to make everything run smoothly…

And that was the first half of the year…

Is it wise to keep at it doing the same thing – without change?

Just like working out.  It’s amusing to a certain extent…but keeping at it and doing the same thing over and over again can become dull.  Not many are capable of or have the discipline to follow-through with what’s necessary.

And it’s not their fault.

Sometimes people are led to believe they must keep doing ‘the thing’ strictly, without change.  Otherwise they’ll stop getting results.

How many people you know who work out and refuse to skip a workout because immediately they think their muscles will shrink?

Or they have to work super-hard at each workout and feel sore, stiff and rigid for 3 days otherwise “it wasn’t hard enough”

After one of our workouts, Seth approaches me… “oh, John I’m not getting sore from our workouts anymore”

“Well, that’s a good thing isn’t it?” I replied.

“No, John.  For the past 2 weeks after each of our workouts, I felt like I could pump out another 20 minutes” He said.

“Isn’t it funny how in the past 2 weeks, Seth, you lost 1.5kg of fat and increased your lean muscle mass by 300gr?”

His eyes boggled and in a blind panic he said… “OMG! yeah… I never realised”

I continued… “And, you’ve hit your all-time 3 rep max on the bench press at 125kg – something you couldn’t achieve in the past – no matter how hard you tried.  In fact, just last month you were struggling to hit 110kg x2.  You remember…?”

August 1st -7th is ‘Simplify Your Life Week’

Its purpose is to basically… make your life easier.  Minimise your life’s loads and stressors – without losing sight of your direction.


We all face it. And in some cases, we trap ourselves inside it – not knowing how to escape its superior forces.  Then in the end doing nothing…letting it defeat us.

Sometimes, by stepping back and looking at our ‘overwhelm’ – is the first step in simplifying our life – and making it more enjoyable.

In my Time Management For Personal Trainers post, I mentioned the importance of putting yourself first…and your clients second.

Now, in untangling your life even further, set your tasks in priorities.  Then work on them one-at-a-time – until they’re finished.  Then move on to the next task.


First, create a to-do list.  And then categorise each task under one of these categories:

-The things needing to be done today – with no exception (these include making urgent phone calls which have direct impact on your near future, completing tasks under strict deadlines, meeting and training your clients, fulfilling appointments, dealing with emergencies, and so on)

-The important things I need to do but are not urgent (setting up appointments, prospecting, responding to leads, researching information, working on projects, and so on…)

-The tasks which are classed as time wasting and are not productive (watching TV when you should be doing more productive work, socialising at unproductive times, reading the newspaper, dealing with interruptions, gossip, attending unnecessary meetings, talking too long on the phone, treating your phone and email as urgent when it’s not, letting interruptions get in the way, dealing with other time wasters and the list goes on)

Once you’ve identifies your tasks and categorised them – get to work.

If it’s an urgent task that must be completed by a strict deadline, do that first.  Focus on that task until it’s finished.  And only then…you move on to the next task.  Let no interruptions hold you back until you finish.

If it’s an important task that needs to be done, but not urgent, you just block out a set time (say 1 hour) and fully concentrate on that mission for the hour.  Again, with no interruptions.

It takes up to 5 times longer to finish a task with interruptions than it does if you were to just focus on it solely.  The secret here is to block out different times during your day and work on your goals one-at-a-time with no interruptions – until you’re ready to move onto your next task.

Get in the spirit of “Simplify Your Life Week.”

From Wednesday 1st August until Tuesday the 7th – by simply blocking out time, categorising your goals and working on them one-at-a-time with no interruptions will rocket your productivity, make your life more organised and best of all… live a simpler, happier life.

People will respect your time more. You’ll weed out all time wasters from your life and you won’t be a push-over anymore.  Start living the life of highly successful people and start approaching your business life a little differently. You’ll instantly notice how your life changes.

Sometimes we have to back off from the intensities of existence and recharge.  Constantly pounding away grinding  workouts eventually leads to emotional and physical burnout.  Not just for you, but your clients also.

Haven’t you ever noticed when people go on vacation, they come back ‘recharged’ – feeling happier, joyful and having a greater perspective on life?

Most amateur PT’s ignore the symptoms of overtraining.  If you’ve been pushing your clients a little too much and you start noticing them trying to cancel more often, you detect loss of motivation, they start complaining of injuries, constant headaches and so on… you know they’re heading towards overtraining.  And once they hit that state… they’ll do anything to avoid you.

In some instances they might just grind it out until your contract is up and quit on demand.  Other times they make up some stupid excuse that they think can fool us.

The key on how to be a successful Personal Trainer is being able to detect lies from your clients.

You can detect a lie easily.  These are the 3 structure of lies I’ve personally picked up throughout my career:

  • The use of vague statements
  • Resorting to ‘It’s beyond my control’
  • Mentioning one reason… then adding a whole bunch of contradicting reasons after it (In 100% of cases, they are NOT aware they’re even doing this or how silly they sound)

An example for each:

The use of vague statements:

“I’ve got family commitments/ I ran into a financial situation so I won’t be able to train anymore”

Remember, if it’s a legitimate excuse, they’ll tell you the EXACT SPECIFIC reason as to why they can’t train…and will try their best to work out another possibility with you… but if they don’t bother, then you know it’s a lie and a poor excuse.

Resorting to ‘It’s beyond my control’

“I just got rostered on 80 hours a week and I won’t be able to train anymore”

Again, if they WANT to train and it’s a legitimate excuse, they’ll try and work something out with you.  But if they don’t bother, then…it’s just an excuse to leave you.

Mentioning one reason… then adding a whole bunch of contradicting reasons after it:

“My husband doesn’t want me to train anymore…but don’t worry…I’ll still be coming into the gym but I just can’t commit to a fixed time”

If the husband doesn’t want her to train anymore, then why is she still going to be coming in and training?  And then she adds “I just can’t commit to a fixed time”… Uummm… make up your mind.  What is it? (And isn’t it funny how they try and ‘soften’ it by saying “oh but don’t worry, I’ll be still training”…)  Yeah I’m thinking what you’re thinking.

Most… if not all excuses fall into the above formulas.  But It doesn’t just apply to your clients.  Listen closely to ALL excuses people come up with in regular conversation.  You’ll be amazed!

And remember this golden rule for motivation… If anyone wants to do ANYTHING in life, they’ll always look for a way.  They’ll research, seek out an expert, ask for guidance in resolving it and so on.  But sadly 99% of people will come up with a ‘logical’ excuse that makes sense and hide behind it…and sometimes become comfortably trapped inside it forever.

Be different.

Dedicated In Accelerating Your PT Success Every Step Of The Way…
John Toumpakke

How to Be A Successful Personal Trainer Time Management

P.S. In celebration of ‘Simplify Your Week’, attempt the do one-at-a-time principle for just one day and comment on your findings and observations in the comments below.  It’ll be interesting to see how you go 🙂

P.P.S. In regular conversation, pay closer attention to what people are saying.  And for every excuse you hear, post below which category they fit into. (The use of vague statements, Resorting to ‘It’s beyond my control’ or Mentioning one reason… then adding a whole bunch of contradicting reasons after it)

P.P.P.S Even if you have your own excuses as to why you ‘can’t’ do any of the exercises mentioned… I’ll still accept if you post your own excuses below and the categories they fit into (don’t worry, you’re still learning 🙂

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John Toumpakke for years has been helping Personal Trainers build marketing systems and business positioning strategies - turning regular PT's into gurus of their industry. His brand PT Power Club is known as the provider for advanced Niche marketing solutions for Personal Trainers and has developed new and unique systems helping trainers find and develop their own fitness niche. He coaches and trains a tightly, successful bound community of trainers teaching them how to stand out and dominate their competition through his powerful positioning strategies. PT Power Club’s goal is to teach and coach Personal Trainers across Australia on how to truly find their unique status within their community and eliminate all competition.


  1. Cheers John.
    That’s interesting how you have categorized the reasons that people tent to make excuses and B.S. their ways around things. I really benefitted by reading that ‘ if people really want something they’ll shoot for it 100%’ just goes to show how stupid and illegitimate these excuses are!
    I really liked this post cheers!

    • Congratulations Jai for being the FIRST ONE in taking initiative and thinking of NO excuses for posting 🙂

      It’s an excellent tool in understanding when your clients give you excuses or objections. You know that if what they say falls into one of those 3 categories – simply, they’re not telling the truth. Keep at it and don’t let them leave until they say “yes I want it. Where do I sign”

      I remember when I first discovered this, a prospect of mine was giving me all these excuses as to why “Personal Training wasn’t for me”. Back then I didn’t know how to overcome objections as efficiently as I do now…but I knew one thing… that he wasn’t telling me the full story. So I didn’t let him leave.

      We were having verbal battles for 1 hour and 13 minutes. (it was such an epic battle – I had to time it 🙂

      My brain was at a near meltdown. My voice was searching every ounce of energy to keep going. You could tell he wanted to bolt out of there in a blind panic. I refused in letting him go. I probably lost 3 kg of resources. I’ll never forget it.

      In the end he finally said “YES” and signed up. All this for 1 session per week!

      All this because I followed the principles mentioned in this post. (In fact, his responses fell in all 3 categories constantly)

      The Lesson: You don’t have to be good at selling. You just gotta be a little stupid and ignorant 🙂

      Thanks for your “taking me back to good ol’ times” comment Jai!

      P.S. He was one of my best, long term clients who indirectly taught me so much about selling…principles I still use today that I’ll never forget.

    • Thanks for your comment Shivali 🙂

      It’s great to see how you’re at least starting to see the benefits of how clients and people in general respond and the strength of their willingness to “just go ahead” and stop giving excuses.

      And when you learn to do this, we would all love to hear what you have to say.

      Thanks Shivali,

  2. I can’t beleive I read this post 2 weeks too late.
    Great content though!

    Too bad I missed out on ‘simplify your life week’ – however, taking your principles John I’m creating my own ‘simple’ week from now.
    I love how you basically broke down the ‘excuse’ bit. It’s funny how predictable people really are.

    This article alone gave me so much more confidence now. To all my future prospects and clients out there Watch out! There’s no hiding.

    This post is easily in your top 10 until now 🙂 Great Post!

  3. Keeping things simple, aye John! Very useful time management tips. Sometimes we need time for ourselves so we can perform better. Too much thinking about our clients just burns us out.

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