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Are your clients lacking time and motivation? Here’s how you can help.

Posted by Casey Stenehjem on Jan 28th 2021

As a coach, you play a vital role in helping your clients achieve their goals.

Are your clients lacking time and motivation? Here’s how you can help.

As the new year unfolds, many clients lack time and motivation to work out while adjusting to new routines. Add in the uncertainty of gym memberships due to COVID-19 and the fact that most retail stores have no inventory left for fitness equipment, and you’ve got an easy recipe for clients to want to take a break. Clients often want to cancel or put their fitness on hold until life becomes less busy or less stressful.

As trainers and coaches, we all understand wanting to just take a break at times. You might even fantasize about having extra free time in your schedule, but let’s face it, your health isn’t going to take a vacation. It is always with you.

So how do you coach your clients on the necessity of maintaining their health and fitness with these limitations? Here are some tips to consider.

Keep a coaching mindset when talking to clients

Help your clients remember why they put their health first. Dig deep, 5 whys deep.

Example: a client wants to start an exercise routine. Ask them, “Why do you want to start an exercise routine?” Perhaps their response is, “I know it would be good for me.” Again, ask why. “Why do you care that it’s good for you?” Keep asking.

  • Often clients have a deeper reason as to why they want to start working out. Help them discover it, so they have the motivation to fuel them on the hard days. When they want to cancel or put their sessions on hold, remind them why they started taking time out of their schedules to put their health forward.  
  • Ask how exercise makes them feel. Often, clients say, "When I'm done, I feel amazing." As trainers, we may need to remind clients why they ever liked exercising in the first place.
  • Remind them that any workout is better than none at all. If your client is used to doing 60-minute workouts but is feeling crunched on time, can they do 30-minute sessions instead? Help them understand that they can still maintain their current fitness gains with less time, as long as they're willing to continue committing to the goals.

Is 30-minutes still feeling too challenging to schedule? Consider trying 15-minute “movement snacks” a few times a day. Movement snacks are short bouts of movement to break up their day. This can be done with very little time, and with your help in getting the right exercises planned out, even 10 minutes of intense movement a day can assist in maintaining their current fitness level.

Don’t let equipment or space shortages side track goals

Whether you’re training clients outdoors, in their home gym, or helping them choose the proper equipment to buy, consider the following:

  • Bodyweight is weight. Bodyweight exercises can be a great addition to their current routine. For even more challenge, focus on proper form and then start testing your client's range of motion. From there, increase the tempo, time, and repetitions, or add functional exercises, compound/complex movements, and isometrics.
  • Budget wisely when choosing equipment. When discussing which pieces of equipment to buy, keep in mind how much use one tool gives you for the least amount of money, while also considering the quality. If you or your client want dumbbells but would also love a kettlebell, consider a tool with multiple purposes to meet your clients' wants and needs. The YBell is a phenomenal tool for just that — it's a kettlebell, dumbbell, double-grip med ball, and even a push-up stand all in one piece of equipment. Buying a multi-use free weight like the YBell would allow more room in the budget for something like an adjustable step, a plyometric box, or a pullup bar.
  • Consider convenient storage. Do you or your client have the storage space for the equipment you’re buying? Will it be stored in the garage, the closet, or can it fit under the bed? Is it easy to move from storage to the space where the workout will be performed? Or will dragging it from the garage to the basement be one more hurdle blocking your client from a quick at-home workout?

Schedule workouts to help clients succeed

A workout should be scheduled and slotted into their day, just like an extra shift at work or video conference call. And now, with online coaching sessions becoming a norm, you can help your clients make those scheduled workouts a priority by sending the calendar invite to hold them accountable.

  • Work with your client to understand their weekly schedule. Start with the basics: What times don’t work to train? What time of the day are they the most energized and motivated? What day(s) do they want off to rest and recharge? Figure that out, and then fill in the gaps for their training.
  • Help your client choose a successful schedule. They might feel overwhelmed initially. But after you map out their schedule and they learn how much time they have available, discuss how much time they’re willing to commit toward their goal. You can “Murphy proof” their goal to ensure success.

Start Murphy Proofing your client's goals

We all know Murphy’s law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Life happens. This is why it's vital to ensure your client's goal is Murphy proofed. After discovering your client's goals, work with them to create daily and weekly goals to help them reach their ultimate health goal.

  1. Within their daily and weekly goals, ask your client this question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how successful do you feel you'll be at achieving your daily or weekly goals?”  Ask them to answer without any other comments. If the client responds 7 or lower, help them adjust their goals until they feel confident in their ability to achieve them. Your goal is to get their confidence level to 8 or higher.
  2. Once you’ve found the goals they’re confident in, ask them, “Why did you choose that number?”  Their answer will establish a positive reason for why they can achieve their goal, rather than focusing on why they can’t. More importantly, it’s positive reinforcement that they created toward a successful health goal.
  3. As a coach, it's also important to remember that your job is to help your clients adjust their goals to fit what's realistic. If someone "fails" at the goals set, that just means it's time to modify the game plan. It may need to be a smaller goal. They may need less frequency or workouts at different times of the day. There are multiple ways to adjust to keep your client motivated.
  4. Lastly, address your client’s fears, potential challenges, and other concerns that may get in the way of their goals. Look at the history of failed goals to help understand any possible roadblocks. Once you know what you need to work around, tell your client, “It’s time to Murphy proof your goal.”

Murphy proofing will help solidify your client’s short- and long-term goals while working with the challenges of life, especially in busy seasons.

With the transition 2020 has brought all of us, life will be different for you and your clients.

Training will likely be much different for both parties, but our clients need us now more than ever to help improve their physical health and mental wellbeing. Use these steps to ensure forward progression for you and your clients in the future, no matter what life has to offer.

Casey Stenehjem

Casey has been a health and fitness professional since 2009, after graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. She has helped hundreds of people achieve their fitness goals. From working with beginners, youth, older adults, and almost everyone in between, Casey loves to blend her diverse knowledge and experience to help guide her clients to where they want to be. Her philosophy is simple: meet people where they are today in order to help them learn, grow, and excel through education in nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes unique to them.

Casey’s certifications include:

  • Z-health R-phase, Z-health I-phase, Z-health S-phase, Z-health T-phase, Z-Health Strength and Suppleness  
  • Functional Range Conditioning Level 1
  • NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist
  • ACE Certified Personal Trainer  
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1  
  • USA Weightlifting Certified