For many personal trainers, keeping their clientele motivated to keep exercising can be a struggle.
Many start off with good intentions and a goal to get a bikini body by summer, lose the baby weight or bulk up to look good.
But it’s a well-known fact that people’s motivation tends to lose its shine over time. It’s not that people don’t want to be fit; they just have a hard time following through. In fact, US statistics suggest that 67 per cent of people who have gym memberships don’t go, and on average, most people who make workout resolutions will quit them within two weeks.
Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, and learning to love working out is often the missing element to a successful wellness program.
Whether or not a client will continue with an exercise regime comes down to motivation, and there are two types – extrinsic and intrinsic. Understanding the difference between the two is essential for any fitness professional working with an unmotivated client.
Most people tend to fall under the umbrella of ‘extrinsic’ exercisers – that is, a person who works out in order to achieve the superficial gains – weight loss, strength and muscle tone. These are achievable when a person makes a consistent effort over an extended period – but it’s easy for them to feel discouraged when they don’t see immediate results.
In contrast, when a person has an intrinsic motivation to work out, they have a greater chance of success. Instead of focusing on superficial goals, they focus on the immediate positive benefits of working out, and the great feeling that comes after a session. They take the time to enjoy their workout, creating a positive association, which encourages them to do it again.
Another reason people tend to lose motivation is because they only hit the gym to alleviate feelings of guilt – for example, someone who rushes to the gym to punish themselves for overindulging with food. Many people also fall into the trap of comparing themselves to others, which leads to insecurities and discouragement. It’s important to remind your clients that everyone is on their own workout journey, and as long as they continue to improve, they should be proud of any progress they have made.
Your client may also be struggling to enjoy exercise if they don’t enjoy the type of program they are doing. There’s no point pushing someone to go to an intense cardio class or spin if they hate it, as it will just discourage them from going back.
Experimenting with various types of exercise to find the workout that clicks best with a person is key to unearthing intrinsic motivation. This ensures regularity, which in turn ensures success.
So how do you help your clientele find their intrinsic motivation? Firstly, encourage them to change their mindset. They must not think of
working out as a chore, as this will only encourage their feelings of dread. Instead, inform them to think of it as an hour that they are taking all for themselves.
The kids are at home, or work is left behind, and they are in the gym with no one in mind but themselves. This is their hour to take care of themselves – body, mind and soul.
Secondly, help them find a personal meaning for the reason they want to get moving. For me, a training session after a long day at work makes me feel strong and powerful and puts me in a good mood, which I find incredibly motivating.
If they work in a stressful job, then remind them that this is their time to unwind and clear their heads after a long day in the office.
Article written exclusively by Karina Francois for What’s New in Fitness Magazine & Website.