Simone McKennaAfter writing my latest blogpost “Excuses, Excuses”, I received a comment from one of my readers which sparked my motivation to write today’s post. To set the scene, I have attached Cody’s comment below.

Very true! I agree with everything you said. Everyone has time and it’s a matter of making fitness a priority and integrating it into your everyday lifestyle.

Training clients of my own, I’ll hear every excuse in the book. This is the number 1 concern I have for my clients — what excuses they tell themselves that stop them from actually doing the work and building good health habits. When it’s time to retake measurements for instance, and they’re disappointed I ask the same question: “Have you done the work we agreed on?” The answer is always no.

In digging deeper, it is always lack of discipline, in regards to making fitness a PRIORITY in their lives. Without some sort of self-discipline on the part of the individual it is just about impossible to develop the good habits you need to make fitness a repeat activity you do daily, weekly, and yearly. My role of a trainer is supporting that habit and holding them accountable, which is a everyday struggle for me. Everyone is different and responds to input differently, and trying to be in harmony with the client to match their wavelength can be extremely difficult.

I’m learning new things everyday, and would love to know if you have any advice and experience on that?
Good article and keep posting content. I enjoy it!
Best, Cody.

If you are a Personal Trainer who is feeling this way towards your clients or your can relate to this “lack of motivation” on a personal level, be sure to read on as I discuss how I approach this matter both in my personal workouts and with my clients.

Thanks for the feedback Cody. Motivation & discipline are definitely topics that many people have concerns with and topics in which I have become a little obsessed with in regards to trying to find the best fit for myself & my clients. It is important to note that I too, like Cody and others, am still trialling and developing my techniques to being the best PT possible. One that not only offers quality training programs and workouts but one that influencers her client to find a LOVE for a fit and healthy lifestyle so that the motivation becomes intrinsic and moves from “me” to “them”.

Simone McKennaI can totally relate to the part where you mentioned that clients feed themselves excuses and get disappointed when they don’t hit their goals (whether it be a weigh in, time trial, measurements etc) It is so easy to become discouraged also, as we as trainers invest a lot of time and energy into our clients. I offer a few different “add-ons” to my PT sessions depending on the client and what their motivation levels are like. For example, clients who train 3 times or more per week with me, receive a complimentary nutritional guide. With this, I offer to keep watch of their MyFitnessPal account. This allows them to still keep their diary settings private to others but locked with a password that I manage. This is like the “big brother” approach in which I can view everything they are consuming (or at least what they are putting into their app) and I randomly check up on them to make sure they are eating enough, eating the right foods & logging their intake. Many of my “newer” clients like this as it keeps them accountable before they have the strict self-discipline to do so themselves. I also find this most beneficial to be able to accurately manage their macro split and training times.

Another strategy that I have is to provide my clients with a printable “check in/ progress” grid. Although they are weighing in, updating measurements etc with me once a month/fortnight  depending on they preference, I like them to have a personal copy and a visual display of their progress- including photos!

A random inspirational message/picture/quote  or words of personal encouragement are a must as a trainer. Your presence extends beyond the gym walls and you must be prevalent in their lives, to make your impact more great. I like to explain to my clients that they work with me for an hour a week…what they do for the rest of those hours will determine their progress. This puts the work and accountability back on them and expresses the importance of staying on track. A favorite quote of mine is “What you eat in private, you wear in public!” I am always going to know if they have completed additional workouts, eaten well or the opposite based on their check-ins!

Simone McKennaI know a lot of what I am saying is trainer-based and it does add a lot of work to our already busy schedule, but in all honesty- this is what I think works! A few months of outside, strict pressure from their PT usually leads to pretty impressive results which in turn motivates their drive for more progress. Clients will tend to break habits within that time frame and begin to see and feel how good healthy feels.

It’s not uncommon for a client to drop sessions to 1 or 2 times a week after the first few months as they are starting to become more reliable to get their workouts in without paying their trainer. At this point I usually try to check in with my client via text or email more regularly, to ensure they are still en route to their goals. If they are continuing to succeed, this is perfect! They will look forward to training with you for the “extra push” PT sessions provide, but continue to workout (no matter how basic)  on their own.

I hope some of this helps you in regards to motivating and influencing your clients. It is important to remember that everyone is different in what motivates them. In order to be a great trainer, we must ensure that we find out as much as possible (of which they are willing to share) about our clients. What is their schedule? How much time do they have to workout? (This is always a good conversation starter…. oh you work 9-5 and have no time as you then come home to kids, cooking and chores? What happens prior to work? What about setting your alarm an hour earlier!?) What do they LIKE to do? What foods don’t they eat? Do they meal prep? Do they have support at home? Do they have a friend they can recruit to join them? How do they spend their spare time? etc etc

At the end of the day, we as trainers can only do so much for our clients. But the truth is, if you are qualified, energetic, honest, passionate and dedicated… you have  more than enough to help change someones life!

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