How to Motivate a Client as a Personal Trainer | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

How to Motivate a Client as a Personal Trainer

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Keep your clients motivated by focusing on their short-term victories as opposed to long-term goals.
  • Never make hyperinflated promises that will end in disappointment.
  • When engaging with clients, always be yourself.

When you start training with a new client, their motivation is always high. They share their long-term fitness goals they want to achieve and eagerly attend the first couple of sessions. But over the long term, it can be challenging to keep the magic alive every time you have a training session.

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Do More Than Count Reps

Yes, it’s your job to count reps and observe your client’s form when they work out. But if that’s all you’re doing during their training session, you need to rethink your strategy.

While counting reps may make you appear focused, you need to communicate beyond the technical aspects of your workout sessions. Interaction with your clients is the key to keeping their motivation levels high.

Focus on the Process Over the Results

When clients set fitness goals, they tend to become overly fixated only on the results. And if their workouts don’t go as planned, it’s not uncommon for them to feel as if their goals are totally out of reach.

By helping your clients focus more on the process as opposed to the final outcome, they are able to see their progress in stages.

And since nobody wants to feel like they are just another paycheck for you, addressing your clients’ concerns while understanding how they are feeling at each session is crucial.

Ask your clients how they feel, what they think they need to focus on during the session and work that into their long-term goals. Personalizing your clients’ workout sessions will do wonders for client retention.

Don’t Make False Claims

Many clients are discouraged when they don’t reach their goals quickly. As their biggest cheerleader, it’s your job to remind them to stay consistent and work towards their long-term goals. Avoid placing too much emphasis on having instantaneous results.

Explaining the purpose behind the program you’ve created and why each exercise is important will go a long way in helping your clients understand the benefits of focusing on the quality of their sessions. Making overinflated promises will only leave clients discouraged and ultimately heading for the door.

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Be Yourself

Every personal trainer has a unique style, so don’t try to be someone you aren’t. If acting like an overzealous cheerleader isn’t your true personality, it will be evident right away.

Your clients will respond better when you are yourself versus you acting the way you think a personal trainer should behave. That doesn’t mean that you should act the same way you do with family and friends, but you should let your true personality shine. Clients will appreciate you more when you are genuine.

Engage with Your Clients

Clients know when you’re not mentally present during their training sessions, so make sure you’re engaging with your clients. If you aren’t showing interest in what they’re doing, how can you expect your clients to stay motivated?

They are looking to you for guidance and words of encouragement, so focus on them while they’re exercising. Show them that they are the only thing you are thinking about.

Keep it Simple

Have you ever needed to make a choice when there were too many options to choose from? You probably felt overwhelmed and not sure what to do. The same holds true when it comes to your clients.

Bombarding them with 25 different goals will overwhelm and leave them feeling frazzled. Keep things simple by asking them to focus on one to three easy tasks during their training sessions. Not only does this remove the feeling of being overwhelmed, but it also increases their motivation levels when they successfully complete each task.

Build a Network

In addition to teaching your clients the proper way to lift, plank and squat, you need to foster a feeling of community. When like-minded people meet, it creates a feeling of unity. It’s this feeling of not being in it alone that motivates people to push themselves a little harder.

Introduce clients to others who have similar fitness goals so they can encourage each other when you aren’t available. Organize a group hike or even a rousing game of kickball to show your clients you care.

As a personal trainer, you wear many different hats. It’s your job to teach your clients that no matter how hard it may seem, it’s possible to succeed if they believe in themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I find clients?

Most personal trainers initially find their clients by working for a gym.

How much money do personal trainers make?

This varies depending on location, experience, and how many clients you are training.

Where can I train my personal training clients?

There are a number of places where you could train your clients like a gym, a park, your home, their home, or your own studio.

Manage your clients better with our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software. Request a demo today.

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