Business ManagementClient RetentionClients and Members Unlock Client Motivation in 3 Easy Steps

Unlock Client Motivation in 3 Easy Steps

Motivation: we all need a bit of it in our lives—especially when you’re trying to achieve a goal. Whether it’s losing weight, bulking up, or improving mobility, the key factor in achieving these goals is having the motivation to do so. This is where client motivation comes in.

As fitness professionals, we act as that motivating factor in our client’s lives to lead them in being the best version of themselves. With that being said, which method of motivation should you utilize to achieve the results your clients want and deserve?

Whether you provide in-person personal training, or online personal training, follow these steps to unlock your clients’ motivation, and maximize their fitness performance.

1. Identify How Your Client is Motivated: Intrinsically or Extrinsically

Get to know your clients and how they are motivated. The words sound very scientific. But intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are rather two simple motivating systems.


An intrinsic motivator is someone who is geared toward internal rewards and reinforcements. For example, this personality flourishes when their personal motivation is strong. This type of client has to have positive motivation around them and does best with short-term goals to keep them moving towards their overall aspirations.


An extrinsic motivator is someone who is motivated by rewards or praise. You can give rewards/praise in-person, as well as online. This personality, who is by the books and loves to follow policy and protocol, has the drive to complete long-term goals. They are focused and in it for the long haul.

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2. Discover What Motivates Your Client

Have you ever asked your clients what their motivation is? Try it! The reply you most likely will get is, “Hmm… good question. No one has asked me that before!”

Asking this simple question can open up the floodgates to broaden your trainer-client relationship. It gives you an opportunity to:

  1. Have a more meaningful dialogue.
  2. Help identify their fears and goals.
  3. Think of incentives that are more likely to boost performance.
  4. Understand them more as a person and not just as a client.

Identifying your client’s motivations enables you to figure out what really matters to them, and it’ll make your training relationship more enjoyable for both of you.

3. Remind Them Where They Started

I find this very motivating and encouraging no matter where your client is at in their fitness program. I use this technique when working with all types of clients, but it’s most effective with my rehab clients. When your client’s progress slows or words of praise aren’t getting through, try calling them back to the beginning of their fitness journey. The act of reminding the client how they were when they walked through your doors will help to get them back on track.

When your client is working towards a big goal, they may lose sight of where it all started and how far they’ve come. It’s easy to dwell on the negatives instead of the positives. Rather than being excited about losing 20 pounds, they may feel intimidated by the 50 more they want to lose. Or rather than focusing on how their back isn’t hurting as much, they think about how they still can’t go for a jog.

I’ve had to have sit-downs with my clients and say, “Remember when we first started working together. You couldn’t even touch your toes and you were popping Advil like crazy to deal with the pain? But now you’re not taking any pain medications and you go days without any pain!”

Even the smallest pieces of motivation along the way can keep them on track and moving in the right direction.

Motivation is the key to fitness success. It is amazing to watch what happens when you tell a client how great they are doing. As they listen to the words that come out of your mouth, you can see their eyes come alive and hear the energetic tone in their voice.

Listen to your client’s goals and identify the personal characteristics that show how they are motivated. Follow this up by explaining how those are the same characteristics it takes to be great at and successful with fitness goals.

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