Business of FitnessFitness

Fit Favors? How can I handle family and friends seeking free training?

Now that your friends and family know you are a personal trainer, how can you politely and economically respond to requests for free training? Most of us agree that if we could train for free all day and still make a living, we would. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. What we can focus on is how to turn favors into win-win situations for everyone. Here are three ways to do that:

  1. Ask for a testimonial. Agree that your relative or friend will provide a testimonial you can use in advertising. Ensure 100% commitment from her, set a specific goal and time for expected results, and track with measurements and photos.
  2. Rev up referrals. Ask the person to “work off” training fees by bringing in other relatives of friends as clients. He might aim to bring two or more potential clients per month, for example.
  3. Include in small-group training. Taking this approach gives your friend or family member a chance to train without costing you additional expense or time in your schedule. It will work best if your loved one has a good level of energy and enthusiasm to contribute to the group. Best-case scenario: Your loved one may even be able to help fill other paid spots in the group through word-of-mouth.


Thank you Annie Malaythong, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS, MMACS, owner of Atlanta-based Fitness Studio 108, for sharing your insight.

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National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

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