The Great Client Motivator: 4 Ways to Keep Their Spirits High and Coming Back for More

Written by Rebecca Turley

You work hard to build a strong client base, so shouldn’t you be working just as hard to keep them on long-term?

Your job as a personal trainer is multi-faceted. You educate your clients, provide them with training programs designed to help them reach their fitness goals, and ensure their safety and well-being in the process.

But your work doesn’t end there.

Your job is perhaps just as much about motivating your clients as it is about implementing a fitness regimen that’ll help them lose 20 pounds, finish their first 5K, or look great for their wedding. There are a number of ways you can provide your clients with the motivation they need to keep their spirits high and ready to schedule their next personal training session with you. Here are our favorites:

Check-in to Keep Clients Motivated and Focused, Even on their Days Off

One of the first things you likely do at the start of a personal training session is ask your clients how they’re doing. But what about when they’re not with you?

Ask about their preferred method of communication (text, email, Facebook message, etc.) at the start of your training relationship, and then ask permission to contact them. Sometimes simply checking in with a quick, “Hey, how are you doing?” is enough to refocus them and get them thinking about their fitness plan.

But also think more broadly, and consider sending along healthy recipes, a motivational quote, or a few words of motivation. (“Hey, I’m really proud of the progress you’ve made so far! Keep up the great work!”) Let them know they’re not alone on their journey, and that you’re their biggest cheerleader.

Personal Training is personal, So Take the Time to Make a Real Connection with Your Clients

Many dedicated personal trainers find that the key to long-term client relationships is taking the time to connect with their clients on a personal level. Emotional awareness, strong listening skills, and good eye contact are all important considerations.

Ask about your clients’ goals and their struggles, and listen to their questions and concerns. Give them your full attention, stay genuine (most clients don’t respond well to the overly energetic personal trainer), and take the time to develop a strong client-trainer relationship that will help them feel comfortable, relaxed, and motivated to keep working toward their goal. It’ll also make them feel comfortable enough around you to voice their concerns instead of holding them in and dropping their personal training program in frustration.

Set Both Short- and Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals have a place in your clients’ overall fitness goals. But long-term goals are…well…long-term. A long-term goal to lose 50 pounds is fantastic, but it’s a goal that can’t be realistically attained in the short-term. Because of this, client motivation can plummet, particularly when goals are months away.

Give them a reason to celebrate more often by helping them develop short-term goals, as well. Increase their time on the treadmill from 15 to 30 minutes over the next month…lose 5 pounds in two weeks…swim four laps without stopping. All are worthy of celebrating, and all are victories that’ll keep them motivated to stick it out for the long term.

Don’t Exaggerate What Your Clients can Realistically Accomplish

It’s important to ask your clients about their motivation for personal training and what they hope to gain or accomplish. And while your job is certainly to be the catalyst that’ll help them attain their goals, you may also have to be the voice of reason.

For example, if you have a client who wants to be able to run a 10K in a month but has never run anywhere before, it’s your job as their personal trainer to let them know this type of goal is just not realistic. But you can also jump in and help them establish a realistic goal that you can help make happen. So, while running a 10K in a month isn’t realistic, running a 5K in two months probably is.

Chances are, they’ll be disappointed but will come to appreciate your honesty, which beats the heck out of promising them the moon and then not delivering. So, instead of being disappointed at their lack of progress three weeks into training because they aren’t anywhere near the 10K mark (and then likely abandoning their training program as a result), you’ll be celebrating their gains as they inch closer toward the 5K mark in week six.

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