5 Startup Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Personal Trainers

Here's a look at five business lessons entrepreneurs can pull from the trainer’s playbook.

“Finding the time to stay healthy and in shape can be difficult for anyone,” Forbes contributor and entrepreneur Ilya Pozin admits. “But when you’re an entrepreneur whose work seems to follow you around everywhere, it’s a task that seems nearly impossible. As business owners, it’s easy to forget that you have to take care of yourself too.”

On the other hand, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a focus on good nutrition and a regular physical fitness routine are vital to the life of a personal trainer. It’s this interest in healthy living that often yields a rewarding career helping people overcome psychological and physical barriers leading to a more active lifestyle.

So, here’s a look at five business lessons entrepreneurs can pull from the trainer’s playbook:


  1. You are what you eat.

    What you put into your body (and your business) matters. For example, creating a cheap company website may give you an online presence, but it will not communicate a professional brand image, just as eating low nutritional value foods won’t give your body the adequate energy it needs to make it through the day. World class branding is achieved by investing in the appropriate resources. So, instead of filling your business with junk, nourish it with quality investments.

  2. No pain, no gain.

    A good personal trainer makes sacrifices to obtain a healthy physique, often choosing a 5 am run instead of a blissful extra hour of shut eye in the morning. In the same way, business success requires sacrifice. Being your own boss requires tough decisions that may not have an immediate pay-off, but will definitely yield a long-term reward.

    For example, while it may be tempting to finish the day early and go to the bar with friends, you know you’re work day doesn’t end at 5 pm—especially if you’ve recently started a business. A lack of discipline, which is painful, can result in unmet goals and slower progress. But like a personal trainer, soon you’ll be glad you skipped the “chocolate cake” when you start to see the rewards of your labor and commitment.

  3. Work out together.

    A good personal trainer knows the benefits that working out with other people can bring. Exercising with others transforms it into an enjoyable social activity, rather than something you have to do to keep fit. As USA Today reports, “Exercising with a partner can help keep you motivated, and research shows that you may work out harder. Shared exercise time can also double as social time, making you even more likely to show up for workouts.”

    This same concept works well when applied to business. If you are struggling for business ideas or simply getting cabin fever from long days at the office, consider taking time out of your day or co-working with local entrepreneurs. Sometimes all you need is a fresh pair of eyes to inspire creative solutions.

  4. Become self-motivated.

    Ask any personal trainer and they are likely to tell you that health and wellness requires a measure of internal motivation. On your best day’s you’ll have to motivate yourself to get to the gym. This is why Bodybuilding.com contributor, Neesha Chosky suggests that you should “always think positive thoughts at the gym, and especially at the end of a workout. Tell yourself that you enjoyed it and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Positive reinforcement is a powerful technique of self-motivation.”

    In a similar way, as an entrepreneur you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck and micromanaging your day. This is why it is important to become your own cheerleader and find ways to keep yourself motivated. For example, setting small goals, positive reinforcement, and tracking specific milestones can help you remain on track.

  5. Never give up.

    While it may sound cliché, never give up on your fitness or business goals. There will be times when you are struggling and need an extra dose of motivation. There will also be times when your business is extremely successful—and this is when you will need to work even harder. Like a personal trainer, as you build your team you’ll need to motivate others, while improving upon your personal best. Don’t be afraid to push yourself to go the extra mile–it’s never crowded.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Rachel Hurley is writing on behalf of health and fitness education specialist HFE (www.hfe.co.uk), a leading provider of nationally recognized personal trainer qualifications and fitness instructor courses. Rachel believes entrepreneurs could do far worse than use personal training techniques when setting up a new business. Connect with @HFE1 on Twitter.


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