...oh what a party we could have! Creating a motivating momentum that will squash the 'ifs' and 'buts' can be very effective in client retention when you tackle it from two fronts simultaneously. How? By cementing the long term and short term goals clearly identified in their minds with benefits vividly painted AND providing the spice and variety of challenges, achievements and recognition in their sessions with you.

As trainers, we've heard just about all the excuses in the book and then some. Unfortunately, it's human nature to find the path of least resistance and to fall back into our comfort ruts.

Once a client has stopped coming to class and we look back over the conversations of the past months, we can see a progression of subtle hints disguised as jokes, overflowing responsibility and even doubts. If we haven't helped address those statements and cement the client's commitment to exercise, it will be no surprise that they don't follow through.

The balance of mind/body/spirit will all come into play in our actions, thoughts and words. When we listen to a client telling us the reason they will miss the next session, we can assess how they have balanced the importance of that event with the importance and value of their regular exercise sessions.

We can hear how their priorities are coming into focus. Each communication is an opportunity to help them align their goals, both long term and short term with their priorities.

We all have unavoidable events that crop up in our lives and unexpected visits or surprises that we want to take advantage of, causing us to rework our schedules. These are generally the exceptions that will not prevent our clients from staying focused on their goals. They are the spice and variety of life that helps us to renew and invigorate our commitment and focus.

Change up both personal training sessions and boot camps regularly to keep the variety alive. Challenge your clients and recognize their accomplishments to help create a motivating momentum. When you reinforce and cement the goals, they drop into the background as a fact of their life and they turn their focus to the enjoyment and work of the session at hand.

Listen to the 'ifs' and 'buts' your clients express. Are their goals cemented? Can they see, taste and feel them? Are you providing your clients with enough spice and variety, challenge and recognition that they need to offset the importance and value of their 'ifs' and 'buts'? You didn't just say 'but,' did you?

Greg Justice, MA, CPT, is the founder of AYC Health & Fitness (www.aycfit.com) and the Corporate Boot Camp System (www.corporatebootcampsystem.com). He has been actively involved in the fitness industry for more than a quarter of a century as a club manager, owner, personal trainer and corporate wellness supervisor.