How to Motivate Your Laziest Fitness Clients

The first months of a new year are always the most interesting when it comes to gym and fitness memberships. A lot of people start strong, ready to make good on their promise to get fitter. These numbers start to dwindle by March (sometimes even by the beginning of February) as people start to get lazier, stopping their new habits in order to retreat back to their old way of life. 

As a trainer, there’s nothing more fulfilling to see a motivated client. On the flip side, there’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with a lazy one, especially one who started out strong. This is where some psychological know-how comes in handy. Because in order to motivate lazy clients, you have to understand how they think. 

Change your mindset

Psychologists from Maryville University suggest there is a direct link between the subject’s outlook and how wellthey learn, a finding that can be applied to teaching people how to workout. It goes without saying that your
client probably knows the importance of being physically healthy. To that end, think about your own fitness
journey and where you started out. Were there times when you struggled or maybe even wanted to quit?
This thought exercise can help you approach the situation with more empathy.

Reframe their motivation

People are naturally results-driven, which is why you need to establish reasonable expectations, even if it means raising a few eyebrows. For instance, your client might be adamant about targeting weight loss, but you have to let them know that that just isn't realistic (more on that in a previous post on The Training Notebook!). On the other hand, another client might be determined to get fit at the expense of skipping meals. But again, it's up to us trainers to put them on the path towards holistic, healthy motivation. That way, it's also more sustainable, even long after they've reached their fitness goals.

Add some music

The link between music and exercise has been well established. An article on LiveStrong shows that your body naturally mimics the BPM of a song, which is why many fitness classes, like spinning, build their workouts around a playlist. This is also why weightlifters prefer rap and rock music with hard-hitting beats because slower tempos allow them to time their heavy lifting. If your client doesn’t have a workout playlist now’s a good time to help them make one. And more importantly, explain to them the benefits of listening to music while working out.

Find healthy sources of inspiration

Social media, when used in moderation, can be a powerful inspirational tool. Women's Health Magazine's feature on Instagram fitness influencers shows people across a range of body types who champion different forms of exercise, highlighting how fitness is for everyone. If you’re going to use this tip, find accounts that have uplifting content. If you notice that your client appears to be a fan of someone touting detoxes and fad diets, you should suggest other people who are healthier sources of motivation. 

Switch it up

Maybe one of the reasons why your client has been lazy is because the workout they've been doing simply isn't for them. With so many options these days – from yoga and Pilates to cycling and boxing — you can always encourage them to keep trying until they find one that they truly love. Or, ask your client if there’s any form of exercise they’ve always wanted to try, and see if you can incorporate it into your workouts. You could even suggest that you try a new exercise together, as joining with a familiar face can decrease the intimidation factor. Plus, it’s also a great way to bond with your client.

KC Torres is a health nut, having tried her hand at everything from competitive sports to individual training. She's a firm believer that everybody is a gym body and encourages people to get moving at least a little bit every day. 

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