As a personal trainer, training a client is the easy part. Knowing your anatomy, exercise technique and instruction will become second nature after a while.
The hard part is trying to figure out how to motivate your clients to show up to training, then being able to motivate them throughout their workout. There is no black and white answer here; every person is different and if you want to be successful as a PT; you will need to find alternative ways to keep each and every client motivated.
You need to understand as a trainer that your personality should depend on the client; I am not saying change who you are or what you stand for. I am encouraging you to take time to work out what the client’s needs and wants are and incorporating them into how you motivate and deliver your sessions from start to finish including contact outside your client hours.
- Do they need to be consistently reminded to come to training?
- Do they need encouragement throughout exercise?
- Do they like to be yelled at (commando style)?
- Do they need reassurance they are doing a great job?
Firstly, you need to find what makes your client tick, why did they come to you in the first place? Was it health, physique, needing an extra push, wanting group interaction, getting away from their kids, or a stress release? This is important to understand and know about each client as you can use it to remind them of why they started, and keep them coming back to you for assistance in their fitness journey.
The problem is that a lot of clients will relapse falling back into bad habits and having to find motivation again can seem near impossible for them, and with that clients will find excuses such as ‘I don’t have time’, or ‘I can’t afford it anymore’ and so many other justifications to make them feel better about losing their motivation.
Your goal as a PT is to not let this happen. Implement different ways you can assist them. We are all human and even personal trainers have experienced a lack of motivation at one point or another; how did you get out of your rut? Think about what sparked your motivation again. Talk to your clients about your own personal experiences. Set regular achievable goals, and monitor them throughout their progress. This will give them guidance and encouragement when they feel like they are getting nowhere.
When it comes to motivation we need to assess our client’s intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli. This can be as simple as sitting down and discussing it with them. What are both the positive and negative things that influence their habits? Create a plan that will assist in eliminating the negative stimuli whilst also capitalising on those positive influences. Create positive and achievable goals which will keep them motivated towards achieving. Lastly, never give up on your client; we are here for that additional push, the optimistic result and to give as much encouragement needed to help them on their fitness journey. They want you to motivate them.
Author: Sarah Cantle, a Fitness Lecturer here at AFA, as well as the owner of Metacorr. She’s also an experienced Personal Trainer, and Corrective Exercise Therapist.