4 Easy Ways Personal Trainers Can Motivate Their Clients
Have you ever seen a Swiss Army Knife?
They’re those red little knives that have all the tools you could ever need on them.
They have miniature scissors, a corkscrew, and like 7 different types of blades.
The reason they’re popular is because they serve so many purposes. They can do so many different jobs.
As personal trainers, you’re kind of like a Swiss Army knife.
You have so many different jobs…
You have to program workouts, schedule gym times, book clients, sell your services, respond to email, stay up-to-date on the most effective training methods, and the list goes on.
But one of your most important tasks is motivating your clients.
Here’s the thing, though:
You’re not just responsible for your client’s short-term motivation during the workout. You’re responsible for their long-term motivation too.
Here’s what I mean:
Odds are, your clients probably aren’t fitness nuts.
They’re probably not working with you because they LOVE to workout or because they absolutely LOVE fitness.
They’re working with you because they want results.
But often, they have a misconception.
They think if they just start “hitting the gym,” they’ll be able to get ripped in no time.
They have unrealistic expectations about the results they can achieve and the timeframe in which they can get those results.
Because of that, it’s easy for them to lose motivation if the results aren’t coming as quickly as they’d like.
That’s where you come in.
You’re not just responsible for motivating clients during a workout, you’re responsible for motivating them THROUGHOUT their fitness journey.
If you fail to do this, you’ll likely end up with a long list of former clients who didn’t achieve the results they wanted as fast as they wanted, so they decided working out was no longer a priority.
The good news is that, with 4 simple tactics, you can help yourself (and your clients) avoid this pitfall.
If you just follow these 4 tips and become more conscious of how you’re engaging with your clients, you can increase the odds they’ll stick around long enough to get that six-pack, run that marathon, or finally smile when they look in the mirror.
Here’s how you do it.
1. Make it a game.
This one is fun.
Take your client’s main goal, then identify the metrics that lead to that goal, and turn those metrics into milestones in the form of a game.
Here’s what I mean:
Let’s say your client, Betty, wants to lose 10 lbs.
To do this, Betty is going to have to eat at a 500-calorie deficit for the next 30 days.
So, once you calculate that number for her — let’s say it’s 1600 calories in this case — turn it into a game.
For each day Betty eats 1600 calories or less, she’s able to pick two of her favorite exercises to do at the end of the workout, or maybe for every 5 days in a row she eats 1600 calories or less, she can bring in a friend to workout with her.
Your goal is to identify the metrics that will help Betty reach her goal, then set up a way to “win” (a reward) when Betty hits those goal metrics.
This is a great way to build rapport with clients and can really help them feel like they’re making progress.
The fact is—
Eating 1600 calories per day for 30 days does not sound fun.
But, if you can make it fun for Betty and help her feel like she is “winning” during the process, she’s much more likely to stick with it (and she’ll feel great about herself too!).
2. Do Vision-Boarding.
And it’s even been reported that brain patterns triggered during an average lifting session are similarly triggered when an individual visualizes lifting weights.
The mind is a powerful thing. And you can use it to help your clients achieve their goals.
Have your client create a vision board with anything that inspires and motivates them.
This is essentially a “motivational collage.”
Make sure they focus on how they want to FEEL.
The external aspect, such as a flat belly, bigger arms, bigger chest, and any other aesthetic attribute, is only a small piece of the picture.
When you have your client create their vision board and place it in a popular place in the house, they will see it often.
And this is exactly what you want.
Because when they notice it, they’ll essentially be doing short visualization exercises throughout the day. (Those same visualization exercises Olympic athletes use to increase their performance.)
3. Change Their Mindset.
You’re about to become an amateur therapist.
Let me explain.
As you’ve likely experienced, your thoughts and feelings can influence your actions.
So, if your client feels hopeless and cynical about fitness, what do you think he’s going to do with his actions?
He’s much more likely to quit. Here’s a simple way to address this:
Anytime you hear your clients recite, “I hope to get my workouts in this week” or “I’ll try to eat healthier”—
Immediately stop them.
Have them change those hopes into an “I will” phrase.
Letting your client “hope and wish” that they lose weight seems fine on the surface.
But it continues to cultivate the mindset that they do not have any control over the situation — which is false.
They can’t control everything, but they can control their thoughts and actions—
And that’s what will lead them to accomplish their goals.
4. Celebrate Small Wins.
A lot of small wins are often needed for one big win.
As in our example with Betty earlier, losing 10 lbs doesn’t happen automatically or magically.
It takes many days of correct eating and training.
Those days are the small wins.
Find ways to celebrate the small wins with your clients. It can be as simple as saying…
“Hey, I see how hard you’ve been working. I’m proud of you.”
Help your clients celebrate their progress — not just their results.
Help them cultivate a positive mindset and experience around their fitness.
Don’t let your clients place their entire self-worth on their big goal.
Instead, help them place an emphasis on the little steps they can take today, right now, to get to that end goal.
The baby steps are important. The small wins are important — because they’re what build up momentum.
If you can build momentum and a positive experience around your client’s fitness mindset, you will help him or her stick with it until they achieve those big goals.
Like a Swiss Army knife, you have many different jobs.
It’s not enough to simply run your client through a workout and they say
“Welp, see ya later.”
You must be invested in their fitness goals, and you must show them that.
Use these 4 simple tips to help keep clients motivated so they stick with you and reach their goals.