Jan. 14 2011 12:00 AM

One cold dayin Omaha, Nebraska, a very dedicated gym member told me, "Procrastination isthe assassination of motivation." Wow! That statement not only is lyrical butalso fitting for the beginning of 2011. Simply put, after the dust settles andthe excitement is gone, motivation is all that is left to clients coming backto achieve their fitness goals.

Ninety-sevenpercent of Americans that make a New Year's resolution will not attain theirtarget goal. Why? Is it lack of knowledge? Is it lack of accountability? Is itlack of motivation? The number-one reason why people fail is lack of support. Who isthe biggest support system in a gym setting...YOU, the trainer! Gym usage and newmemberships statistically increases 20-25% from December to January. That meansmore gym members and more personal training clients. But what happens when theJanuary "new car smell" wears off?

A personaltrainer is many different things to many people. However, above everythingelse, a trainer is a motivator. We motivate people to make changes, changesthat will impact every aspect of their life. The following are the keys tomotivating anyone:

Establishbelief. Every January thousands of people decide to join a gym, in hopes oflosing body fat and inches. However, many do not fully believe that losing 50 poundsis possible. A trainer must establish that the clients goals are not onlyachievable but will also be accomplished. Themind will always over power the body. Client testimonials work well herebecause it shows your new client that you have done it before and someone elsehas had the experience they desire.

Vision.Painting a picture of how our goals will be accomplished. Establishwhat is expected from both parties and also develop a three-month plan to trackprogress. This will show the client you are confident in your abilities and will help them get past the expectation of immediate results.

Goalsetting. Often the reason why people fail is they never write their goals down orhave too many. As a trainer, concentrate on one habit at a time. Trying tocompletely rehaul their nutrition program will create frustration and lead tonon-compliance. Set one to three goals that can be started immediately. Forexample, taking the month of January and committing to 12 workouts or reducingthe number of sodas by two. Something easy and measurable but builds confidenceas well.

Establish asupport system. To be a top personal trainer you must establish relationshipswith your clients. They must like you, love you and respect you. They must alsonot want to disappoint you. You are their support system. They should feel likethey can approach you with an problem at any time, just in case they need you.You should also introduce your clients to each other. Having trained with youwill be something they all have in common and your big success stories andestablish belief with your newest clients.

Overcomingobstacles. As a trainer, you must realize there will be obstacles in everyone'slife. Sickness, loss of job, family issues etc. They are going to happen. Theimportant part is you are ready for them. Help your clients overcome theirissues outside of the gym by bettering their bodies and mind inside it. Keepingpeople interested and motivated is the key to keeping coming back, regardlessof their circumstance. They must work out with you!All of these veryimportant aspects of motivating clients. Here are some tips to keep yourclients coming back all year round:


  • After the first session call or text them to congratulate them on their first workout and welcoming them to your team. This will establish a relationship and make them feel a part of something.
  • Send a motivational email. Email all your clients collectively once a week. Keep it fresh and interesting. Motivation YouTube videos, quotes etc work well. Anything to keep you in their minds and remind them not to miss a work out.
  • Make routine calls. At random call your clients just to ask how they are doing. This shows general interest in the client and will make them feel special.
  • Run client contests. Body fat and overall fitness challenges keeps the workouts fresh and increases the competition between clients.

January canbe an exciting time for a personal trainer and their new clients. However, the excitementwill wear off and the trainer must perform at a high level to keep the clientmotivated and interested. The best trainers can motivate anyone to achieveanything. As the old saying goes, "It's not how much you know, it how much youcare." Maintaining clients is all about how much you care and how much you canmotivate. Train, motivate and inspire.

Josh Bowen, BA,CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D is the Quality Control Director ofPersonal Training for Urban Active. He manages400 plus personal trainers in six states. To learn moreabout Urban Active, please visit www.urbanactive.com.