It often seems that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s our clients minds totally disconnect from their bodies. This is when they need us the most and yet they show up the least. While it always makes for a profitable January, I would much rather see my clients hold it together through the holidays and start the new year ahead rather than behind on their fitness and health goals.
Here are some of my favorite, proven success strategies that can help your clients maintain their fitness level during this busy time and keep showing up for their appointments:

  • Shorten and intensify their workouts. Cut the chit-chat and the longer rest breaks and do some interval circuit training to take that hour long workout down to 20-30 minutes. Charge for results rather than time.
  • Force reporting. Require your clients to report their daily food journal, workouts on their own (including pedometer steps), sleep and weekly weigh-ins.
  • Goal set for the holidays. Help your clients decide what they want to achieve during this time — do they want to lose weight or just maintain? Note: gaining wasn’t one of the options!
  • Strategize situations in advance. Whether it’s the dreaded holiday buffet, an eggnog and fruitcake party (really, who eats that stuff?) or champagne at midnight as well as the hours leading up to it, strategize the situation in advance with your clients so they know how to navigate the waters and still have a fabulous time (because really, it isn’t about the food anyway!).
  • Double charge for late cancellations. Kidding... well, sort of! I am always tempted to implement this one during the holidays to keep clients on the straight and narrow! But it definitely is the time to enforce that late cancellation policy.

The time to have the holiday chat with your clients is NOW! On January 1, they will be singing your praises, and I am willing to bet you will be one of the few trainers out there implementing these strategies! What a competitive advantage it is to have your clients actually lose weight or at least maintain during the holiday season.
JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFI, is a speaker, author and media personality specializing in overcoming weight loss resistance. She is the president of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, co-star of TLC’s new reality series, Freaky Eaters and runs a busy virtual wellness website,