How to motivate clients!

One of the most important aspects of a successful personal trainer is the ability to motivate their clients. The number one reason a client won’t reach their goal is because they simply give up trying. Exercises a lot of hard work especially for somebody that is new to it. Nobody wants to put in work without getting rewarded for it. The first month is very critical for your clients perception of the work to reward balance. A lot of the times people give up because they think they are not making any progress. You need to show them that they are! Here are some tips to keep your clients motivated long enough so that they can clearly see a reward before they throw in the towel and give up.

Give them fitness resources that are informative and inspiring

motivate your clientsYou can point them in the right direction by giving them some of your old fitness magazines that have great articles on working out. I don’t know about you, but I get extremely inspired after learning about a new exercise or hearing about other people’s progress. I almost can’t wait to go try the new exercise I just learned! If you don’t have any old magazines you can give them some great websites URLs to check out. Live, and are great examples. Both of these sites have tons of information on health, fitness and diet. I have read loads of personal success stories that inspired me to take action!

Show them their progress quantitatively

At the beginning stages of working out it might be very hard to tell the progress you’ve made by just looking in the mirror. If your clients feel they are not making any progress in the way they like it will be much easier for them to just give up. You need to show them using numbers how much progress they have actually made. Before you start your very first session with a client you should take initial measurements. You should measure their body fat percentage, weight and circumference measurements. All these should be standard requirements in the trainer job description at most gyms. Circumference measurements should include shoulders, chest, waist, hips, mid thigh and mid arm. Be sure that you measure the same spot every time so you remain consistent. For example: always measure 10 inches up from the kneecap when measuring their thigh. You should do measurements every 4 to 6 weeks. This is enough time to have a noticeable change in numbers if they are being consistent with the workout program and diet. Showing a client that they have lost an inch around their waists and 1% body fat will give them a incredible boost and motivation to keep at it!

Give them complements on a daily basis

Clients take what you say in very high regard. your opinion matters a lot to them and you can use that to keep their desire for working out at its max. I’m not saying that everything coming at your mouth should be praising them. You need to show them what they are doing wrong most of the time because most likely they will have a lots of faults that need to be corrected. But when they do do something right you should point out and say “good job, is looking great!”. If they finally complete a full set of 10 TRX squats give them a high five! Your constructive criticism to complement ratio should be about 4 to 1. If you notice anything about them that stands out on any particular day you should let them know. If you notice a little more definition in their upper arm you should tell them about it and say it looks good. All of these small bumps in the right direction will keep them coming back!

What do you guys think of my three tips to keep your clients motivated? I found these tips extremely helpful especially for teaching multiple people at the same time! There are tons of other motivational tips that can be applied to personal training but I think these three help me the most. Speak up in the comment section so we can get a good discussion going on this topic. If you found this helpful it would be absolutely amazing if you shared socially on the left-hand side! :) And if you are not a personal trainer but would like to become one the first thing you should check out is my article on how to become a personal trainer! Have a good day!

photo credit: SweetOnVeg via photopin cc


  1. Jeff says

    Perform assessments every 2-4 weeks. Circumference, BIA body fat measurements, skinfold measurements, pictures, weigh-ins, etc. Only what the client is comfortable with and allow them as much privacy as needed. Adherence is key to results. They might exercise an hour a day. That’s not usually the problem. It’s the other 23 hours of the day. If they don’t adhere to the program they won’t be successful. You can’t out-train a poor diet. Results are the best motivation. Remain positive and upbeat but don’t overdo it. They need to know up front that it is a slow process and that it’s not easy but I definitely agree that small improvements and changes should be pointed out. Give them behaviors to adhere to while you lead them to their eventual goals. You can read the map and plan the route while they drive. If they try to envision the checkered flag from the starting line it is often overwhelming. Provide obtainable checkpoints. Leave bread crumbs. Whatever works.

    • Tyler Read says

      Another great comment Jeff. I agree it is important to let your clients know that it will be a slow process. The compliments I am talking about are small ones to keep them in a positive mindframe. Giving the motivational articles to read on their own time will help them keep on track for the other 23 hours you are not with them.

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