I have found that with 5 simple steps you can transform unmotivated clients into successful self-driven clients.
Establish Communication on Day 1
There is a fine line that you must walk on the first day you train a client. Designing an “easy” workout is a surefire way to gain a client that will complain if you challenge them in the future. A workout that is too difficult will have them fleeing the fitness facility before you are done explaining the exercises. The way to solve this problem is to receive constant feedback before, during, and after the workout. This allows the client to understand that at times you may push them but that you are aware of the level that they are working. I always tell my clients that they can cuss, complain, or hate me… as long as they are moving.
Give Them a Road Map
I typically meet with my clients 2-3 times/week for about an hour. This leaves either 165 or 166 hours in the week that they aren’t sure what to “do.” I provide my clients with what I call a “road map,” this is simply a plan for them to execute on days that they do not meet with me. It may be traditional cardiovascular exercises, group exercise classes, or additional workouts written by me. This “road map” approach will help hold them accountable and allow them to build up momentum for a lifestyle change.
Pairing your skills with the skills of other health professionals is a great way to make sure every approach to motivation is covered. Every individual responds differently to who they are working with. For example, If I tell my client that they look like their clothes are fitting better they may assume that I am just saying that to encourage them. But if another trainer, registered dietitian, or gym member tells them that they are looking great it has a different effect. If another health professional comments to you about your clients achievements simply ask that professional to let your client know how well they are doing.
Manage Their Expectations
Do not let clients get discouraged. Remind them that getting out of shape took more than 6-8 weeks and it will take longer than 6-8 weeks to get back into shape. Make sure that they realize that not all health changes are external and weight related. Focus on the way that they feel, the way that their clothes fit, and the new things that they can now accomplish.
Change Their Mindset Through Mini Goals
If you can set mini goals for your client and make sure that they reach these goals on a daily or weekly basis you are setting them up for success. It is amazing the snowball effect that success can have; you can be the catalyst for their success.
If you have carried out these 5 steps with your client then the following is in place:
Open communication between the client and yourself.
A long-term plan or “road map” is established.
A supportive team of health professionals is encouraging your client.
Your client has realistic expectations that you are continually managing.
Your client is accomplishing mini goals on a daily/weekly basis to establish momentum for a lifestyle change.