Life Force Suckers

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As a fresh out of college personal trainer living in NYC, everything was an adjustment… especially the rent! I tried as hard as I could to get advice from any and everyone I could on how to get clients, keep clients, market my services, etc…

One of the first pieces of advice I got was to take any client that I could, regardless of if they were a good fit or not. At the time, this made perfect sense as I was both a newbie and needed to pay my astronomical rent and somehow still find some money for food and other basic necessities – like going out to experience the NYC nightlife 😉

What I found out quickly was that by adopting this client acquisition strategy, I ended up with some “not so ideal” clients. In fact, some of the other trainers joked that there must be a box to check on the new member form for ‘Psycho’ and if they checked the box, I was given the client!

Inevitably, even though I was one of the busier trainers, I was really starting to hate my job!


One evening over perhaps a few too many margaritas, I was venting to a fellow and more seasoned trainer about my growing hatred for my job/clients. After patiently letting me to ramble on for a while, he finally cut me off, “Dude, you gotta get rid of the life force suckers!”

Huh?”, I replied.

“Your clients… they are life force suckers.”

After getting an explanation of what a life force sucker is (yes, its exactly what it sounds like), I realized that I had to make a change. I needed clients that I enjoyed working with, didn’t use up all of my emotional energy and most importantly, I needed to get control back of my schedule and life.

You can find any number of articles on how to select the right coach, but how about from the other end? As a professional coach, you also have to pay attention to your coaching relationship in respect to if it is good or not. If it is not, let it go.

Yes, your client should be happy… but so should you.


How do you know if you’ve got a ‘life force sucker’ on your hands? Below is my personal (and highly non-scientific) checklist:

__ Do you dread the upcoming phone call/meeting/session?

__ After the session, do you feel mentally exhausted?

__ Do you consider cancelling the session(s) solely because you don’t want to deal with the person?

__ Is the actual feel of the session twice as long as it actually is?


If you checked one or more of these, you might have a life sucker on your hands. Now for sure, not every client is going to be your ‘dream client.’ However, the message that I want to get across is that if you give a coaching relationship it’s fair shake and it’s not getting any better, it’s best for both parties to go their separate ways. Remember, if you’re not fully vested into a coaching relationship you’re not going to give the client 100% and that is not fair to them and in the end, it will hurt your coaching practice.

To get more information (not necessarily about Life Force Suckers) about endurance sports coaching, check us out at

Rick Prince

Rick Prince

Founder/Director of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA).

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