It is no secret that without motivation, it is hard for any exercise program to survive. Although there are many factors that go into the longevity and success of your personal-training business, one of the main factors that this post will focus on is your ability to motivate your clients. As you are probably familiar with yourself, motivation is not a simple task and requires a great deal of commitment, time, energy, and thought. When you are responsible for motivating another person, you have to still bear in mind yourself. As a personal trainer, there are two people that have to stay on course with the motivation momentum, your client and YOU.
Additionally, each individual is motivated by different factors and you need to discover those. Apart from motivation, there are also other factors like goal-setting, tracking the progress, and recognizing and rewarding the success.
Know What Motivates Your Clients
Most people give up personal training once the initial enthusiasm wanes. This is mainly because the motivation that they receive is simply not strong enough to supersede the usual life circumstances that get in the way. Motivation can be broken down into two main categories – intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from within your clients where they feel the need to look and feel fit for various reasons like self-satisfaction and enjoyment. Extrinsic motivation originates through external influences. This is a behavior that is exhibited to avoid punishment or obtain rewards. People can, most of the time, be motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically.
If you directly ask your clients how you can intrinsically or extrinsically motivate them, chances are that they will look at you as if you are crazy. They only know that they wish to lose a particular amount of weight or fit into their favorite dress. The secret is asking them the right questions to know their motivators. The simplest way of knowing the motivators is asking your clients why they have come to see you and what they want accomplished. Knowing clients’ needs and motivations behind them will help you keep them on track to accomplish their goals and use their own key words to keep their focus.
Set Goals for Your Clients
People come to you because they have an ultimate fitness goal. Goals are the roadmap which both you and your clients have to follow to get the desired outcome. If you do not set intermittent goals for your clients, their commitment to exercise is sure to diminish over time. If you set the goals, they are likely to do all that is necessary to accomplish them and be more committed. Goals increase intensity and focus in both the trainer and the clients. Remember the age old adage, "what gets measured, gets improved."
Consider a client who wants to lose 15 pounds and you set her a goal of consuming 1500 calories a day, performing cardiovascular exercises for an hour at least five times a week, and lifting weights for an hour on alternate days. By doing this, you give her an exact idea as to what her daily goals are. She is more likely to get up at 5 a.m. and come to the gym regularly than a person who just wants to lose 15 pounds but does not have a definitive goal.
Each one of your clients would be interested in knowing the progress and that is the reason why keeping a record of your clients’ progress makes sense. The record not only lets them know their progress but also acts as a great visual motivator. Remember when you were a child and your teacher gave you golden stars stickers for homework that was handed in on time or standing in line quietly? Well, people don’t change even as they get older. People still have the innate desire to visually see that they "did well." Hence, give your client a record with a visual imprint of their success and start from the beginning. So that way they will do their best to keep the record looking good, and not have any missing "golden star stickers."
Mark what the clients do on a daily basis; whether or not they missed a session: the amount of weight they lift, the time they spend on the treadmill, etc. Also keep track of the BMI and vital statistics of your clients when they first come in. When they reflect back and see how many days they are working hard and can see the increase in the amount of weight they are lifting or the time they are spending on the treadmill, it can be a very motivating.
Additionally give them a record that they can take home with them for days that they workout on their own. Have them stay accountable for their “home work-out” and bring it to their training session to compare their home progress with their progress with you.
Recognize and Reward Their Success
Any behavior is hugely motivated through recognition and rewards. It increases your clients’ positive feelings related to exercise. When you set the goal for your clients, back them up with a small reward on accomplishment. This gives them something else to look forward to other than their daily “golden star sticker” and their ultimate long term goal of fitting into that special dress. The rewards can be tangible or intangible. These can just be a T-shirt or movie ticket and do not have to be something big. Rewards are just a way of recognizing your clients’ achievements.