Are you plus size and struggling to keep working out, now that your personal training sessions have ended? Have you been avoiding the gym? Here’s how to get back into the workout groove!

It’s nowhere near unheard of among the personal training community that when a plus size woman’s training package ends, she stops working out.

Suddenly, she’s no longer seen at the gym. She’s disappeared into oblivion.

How could this happen, after all those fired-up training sessions in which she kicked butt and seemed quite motivated?

This phenomenon is also no stranger to overweight men. When the training package is completed, many stop coming to the gym.

Though many cannot afford to pay for another round of personal training, this doesn’t explain why these former clients stop coming to the gym, when they’ve either already paid for a membership that’s still active, or, they’ve signed a commitment to pay a monthly fee, and there are still months left on that commitment.

Why Plus Size Women and Men Often Stop Working Out when There Are no More Personal Training Sessions

Many overweight people quit exercising after their package with a personal trainer is used up.

It’s one thing to continue coming to the gym and doing some exercise – be it a scaled down version of what they’d been doing during the training sessions, or something quite different.

But it’s another issue when they’ve quit coming to the gym altogether.

Many overweight people who hire a personal trainer have not done much exercising prior.

And if they have, it usually doesn’t include any weight workouts. With my experience, I’ve found that pre-existing exercise among overweight clients was almost always limited to group aerobics classes and/or sessions on cardio equipment.

If they were doing weights, it was with light resistance – nothing too challenging.

Clients put all their trust in the personal trainer, and whatever exercise program that the trainer brings to their new inexperienced client, is often the client’s first experience with strength training. And sometimes a first impression becomes the only impression.

So if a plus size person ends up with a personal trainer who’s jumped on the bandwagon of strange, oddball exercise routines in the name of appearing progressive or fancy, that client is apt to think that this is what exercise is all about.

One day I witnessed a very obese, middle aged woman holding light dumbbells, but struggling to step up onto a rather high stool. Once standing on the stool, she raised the weights over her head and then struggled to step down.

Once back on the floor, she regrouped to step back onto the stool, legs always appearing unstable, as though any moment a knee would give out.

She was visibly in poor shape, not some athlete who happened to be overweight. Yet here she was, performing a precarious task at the direction of a personal trainer.

What the Trainer Has You Do

Many overweight people, desperate and eager for results, will completely submit to whatever their personal trainer says, figuring that the instructor knows what he or she is doing.

If plus size, nonathletic clients are instructed to do any of the following, it’s no wonder they may lose motivation and quit working out once the personal training is over:

• Pushups (more reasonable alternative: seated chest press)

• High stepping — which can damage knees in poorly conditioned heavy clients (safer option: using a step-class stepper with one set of risers)

• Jumping (better option: horizontal leg press or bodyweight squat)

• Walking lunges (better option: bodyweight squat – then add resistance once form is mastered)

• Various moves involving balancing on one leg (alternative: standard basic strength training exercises – the client wants to lose weight and get in shape, not enter a tightrope walking contest).

It’s no wonder that when the training sessions are completed, the plus size woman or man is left thinking that in order to lose weight, get fitter and stronger, and look better, they must engage in all sorts of one-legged stunts, hopping, high stepping and demoralizing attempts at pushups.

Yes, I’ve witnessed this – and the poor client is completely discouraged.

So when the training relationship ends, guess what: The client lacks any motivation to keep going to the gym.

Find Your Motivation and Stick to the Basics

Here’s what you must do: Simply get back in the gym. You don’t have to struggle with pushups. Get on the chest press machine and/or the bench press station!

And you NEVER have to do ANYTHING on one leg! Focus on your immediate goals.

One-leg routines, bear walks and other moves that made you feel exceedingly self-conscious or unstable are absolutely NOT necessary for weight loss, toning, sculpting, reshaping, feeling more energetic, improving cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure, reducing knee and back pain or strengthening the muscles.

Below are images of some basic exercises that any plus size woman or man can do with minimal, if any, feelings of self-consciousness, embarrassment or instability.

Kettlebell swing. Shutterstock/gpointstudio


Chest press — seated. Shutterstock/Travelerpix


Dumbbell chest press. Shutterstock/Catalin Petolea




Bench press. Shutterstock/LightField Studios


Overhead dumbbell press.


Side dumbbell raise. GeorgeStepanek /CC


Weighted squat


Back squat


Leg press


Leg curl. GeorgeStepanek/CC


Leg extension. GeorgeStepanek/CC




Treadmill. Shutterstock/gpointstudio

If you’re overweight and frustrated, do not quit exercising based on past experience with a personal trainer who failed to make you feel empowered.

Stick to the basics to avoid any confusion.

Observe a particular trainer in action before hiring that person.

No matter what happens…do not give up working out!

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: