You don’t need a drill sergeant, you need a motivator.

Often times, we associate personal trainers as those angry drill sergeant from the movies screaming “DROP DOWN AND GIVE ME 100 PUSHUPS!” That couldn’t be further from the truth. All children are different, and the same goes with personal trainers and their motivation styles.


My time as a youth trainer has taught me one major thing: teaching passion and motivation goes a lot further than being pushy and stern. The love of exercise doesn’t come easy to many, especially children— so finding the right trainer to help you child love what they’re doing is important.


So how do you switch from the drill sergeant to motivator mindset?


  1. Ease into things: A workout program doesn’t need to start off at the top level of difficulty. It’s much more motivating to accomplish fitness goals in small, attainable steps. Once your child realizes their goals are feasible, motivation will kick in.
  2. Form a friendship: Having good conversation and connection with your trainer is a key part in making a workout fun. One of my top priorities at the beginning of a workout program is finding things in common with my client. Not only will this make sessions more fun, but it will help me curate a program that my client is much more likely to enjoy and stick with.
  3. Don’t push beyond limits: My rule of thumb is that a client, even if they are young, knows their body best. There is no benefit in pushing beyond limits, especially children. It’s important for them to feel comfortable telling you when enough is enough.
  4. Take away judgement: “It’s okay! You’re learning and it’s normal to make mistakes.” Fitness is a journey and not a skill. It’s important that children never feel like they need to impress you in order for you to encourage and accept them.


Motivation is more effective than intimidation. Instilling a passion for fitness is something that will only come through connection and motivation— and that’s exactly what your focus should be when finding the right personal trainer.


By Paytra Gessler, Certified Youth Fitness Trainer, Certified ISSA Fitness Professional


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