Why You Don’t Want Dependent Clients

Why You Don’t Want Dependent Clients

From One Coach to Another: Why You Don’t Want Dependent Clients

What do you mean, I don’t want dependent clients? 

Don’t I want my clients to need me? To depend on me? If they don’t need me, they’ll just go off and do their own thing, won’t they?

While that thinking is understandable, the absolute opposite is true.

Clients will stick around, not when they’re dependent on their coach, but when they’re receiving a high value. And they will perceive the value they’re receiving to be high when they’re getting results—be it fitness results, body composition results, mental health results, lifestyle results, etc.

And as OPEX CCP coach Tyler Villarreal explained: More educated, independent and self-sufficient clients will experience better results than dependent ones who need their coach to hold their hand every time they come to the gym.

“When it comes to being self-sufficient, it really allows the client to drive the experience, rather than me constantly choosing the direction,” Villarreal said. “It’s up to me to guide the client to where it is they want to go, and with them taking ownership and initiative in their own program, it makes it easier for me to better do my job.” Learn how to get your clients to take initiative in their fitness here.

Not only are independent clients in the best interest of the client, they’re also what’s best for the coach, Villarreal explained.

3 reasons independent clients are what’s best for the coach

Higher-level coaching

If you have done much personal training, or have coached fundamentals to new CrossFit athletes, you will agree it gets old pretty fast coaching people who retain little to no information from their previous session. Sometimes it feels like you’re reteaching the squat to the same person every time they show up to the gym. Ad nauseam.

Creating educated clients via individual program design, on the other hand, frees the coach up to pursue higher-level coaching, both during on-floor coaching sessions and during monthly lifestyle consults. 


Being able to focus on higher-level coaching and watching your clients make real lifestyle changes, reap significant results, and actually reach their goals is much more fulfilling for the coach than changing weights for personal training clients, putting a group of clients through a hard workout, or teaching the same person the basics of the deadlift session after session.

This was exactly the experience for CCP coach Brandon Burchfield when he was a personal trainer and group class coach.

“It didn’t seem necessary for me to be there every second to hold my client’s hand along the way…It got to the point that I was so unfulfilled. I felt like a clock starter. You know, ‘3, 2, 1 Go.’ I wasn’t really making a difference in people’s lives,” he said.

This is no longer the case for Burchfield now that his clients follow the OPEX model. Learn the basics of the OPEX model for yourself in this free course.

“It creates the most sustainable fitness in people’s lives. I also like that it helps create an independence in their fitness, so there isn’t this reliance, almost co-dependency, on a coach being there every moment,” he said. 

Effective use of time

As Burchfield pointed out, if you’re a personal trainer or group class coach, you have to spend a ton of hours on the floor coaching, as your clients depend on you to be there to pursue their fitness.

However, an individual program design model means you can work a sustainable number of hours (20 on-floor hours a week or less), or even work from elsewhere, be it a coffee shop or on vacation, and still know your clients’ needs are being met. (Of course, the same is true from the client end: Clients can also continue to pursue effective fitness while on the road.)  

As a result, coaches with independent clients following an individual program design model are able to not just help their clients see better results, but they’re also able to pursue a sustainable and fulfilling living working as a professional coach.

…Rather than a babysitter of adults. 

Imagine actually being able to coach clients instead of babysitting adults. Get an introduction to the education that will get your their for free, today.



CrossFit® is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. OPEX Fitness’s uses of the CrossFit® mark are not endorsed by nor approved by CrossFit, Inc., and OPEX Fitness is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by CrossFit, Inc.

Fitness Assessments for New Clients