Motivation changes from day-to-day. Our clients (and we) all experience dips in motivation and there are days we just “don’t feel it”. That’s ok. It’s normal. What is also normal is to expect that a client’s optimal performance and their “best-effort” looks different from day-to-day and week-to-week and session-to-session. Your job, as the exercise professional, is to meet your clients where they are, acknowledge their sentiments surrounding their day-to-day experiences, and deliver a quality coaching experience. Part of delivering a quality experience includes infusing a feeling of excitement into what you do and how you do it, and getting your clients excited, too.
Five Ways to Get Your Clients Excited
Goal reminder. As a client begins their journey towards better health, the goal is at the forefront of their attention (mostly). As the days wear on and things become more “routine”, it’s possible to lose sight of the big goal and let things start to slide. Though a client’s goal is theirs to identify and design, you can engage with that goal by reminding clients of their “why” and their progress. I. like to give clients a tangible item that they can carry with them – maybe it’s a key chain, maybe it’s a magnet, or it’s a mug or water bottle. It’s easy to customize these small tokens to fit your client’s goal using “power words” such as strength, courage, family, etc. During the goal-setting process, have your clients engage in an exercise where they choose their “power words” that align with their values.
Set an intention. Depending on how often you meet with each client, encourage the practice of intention setting. The approach I take is twofold. First, upon their arrival, I congratulate my clients for facing the hardest part – showing up to the session. Second, during the warm-up, we set an intention. As I lead them through a workout-specific movement prep, I ask clients two questions: How do you feel today? and What is your intention for this session? At the conclusion (and during the cooldown), I ask how they feel then versus when they began their session. I wrap up by asking how they met their intention.
Gamify. Games are fun for certain types of clients. Not all clients will want to engage in a game or competition. Once you know your client pool, you’ll have an idea of which individuals this might speak to. Some ideas you could try to get clients excited include an obstacle course with functional movements, a holiday-themed workout, or an 80’s (or other music genre) inspired cardio burn. Challenges also fit into this category but try to avoid “biggest loser”-esque challenges where weight loss is a focus or end-goal.
Diversify. It’s fun to switch up the location of a workout. Instead of inside the gym, take it outside (make sure clients are prepared ahead of time for weather patterns) or to a different venue or area of the studio. Instead of a typical weight session, lead the client through a yoga session or combined yoga and Pilates exercises. The point is to just keep it fun and diverse so clients can experience different modalities designed to challenge them in new ways and get them more excited to participate.
Stay connected. Social support is a significant predictor of success. Look for ways you can stay connected to your clients outside of sessions and how you can connect like-minded clients. Leverage social media and provide members/clients with unique and inspiring content, encourage asynchronous discussions in social media groups, or hold client meet-and-greet event. The strategies in this category are only limited by your creativity.
We can’t control motivation levels, but we can inspire, encourage, guide, and support our clients in their conscious efforts to improve their health. If you have other strategies you use with your clients, we invite you to share them. Part of being connected and staying connected is learning from each other.