Newton’s first law of motion, also known as the law of inertia, states that an object at rest stays at rest, while an object in motion stays in motion. This continues unless acted upon by another force. Gravity is an example of a type of force. On Earth, if you jump into the air, gravity forces you back down. In Space, if you jump into the air, you keep going.
When it comes to exercise, the same is true. If you are a coach potato, you will stay a couch potato – unless you use your mind as a force to interrupt it. Once the mind is used to act as an interruptive force and you begin exercising daily, you are likely to continue exercising daily in accordance with Newton’s law of inertia.
Using the mind as an interruptive force means finding the motivation to make a change. External motivation is not nearly as powerful as internal motivation. In fact, a medical research paper, “Motivations for healthful dietary changes”, made a few interesting findings by studying more than 1,000 men and women. When looking at factors of influence to make healthy changes, they found that social pressure from others only mattered for 4% of the participants. On the other hand, the internal factor of a desire to feel better was very important for a staggering 72% of participants.
The science is clear, if you want your clients to make positive and lasting changes; help them self-discover and focus on their reasons to exercise. For some, it might be for the improved looks and for others it might be for the strength and fitness. Alternatively, the reason could stem from a want to change in order to help others: It could be a want to live a longer happier life with their spouse or children, or if they don’t have either, it could be a want to find a spouse and have children. No matter the reason, we need to find a source from within that truly matters to our clients.
Discover What Motivates Them
Start by questioning your client’s reason to exercise, I know this may sound counter intuitive, but for long lasting results your clients need a solid reason to exercise. Start by finding the why behind their decision. Don’t just stop with one answer, really drill down and find the underlining reason behind their motivation.
If their reasons start to flake after a few ‘why’ questions or their answers don’t sound convincing enough then their motivation isn’t going to last. In fact, it’s just a matter of time before they start to question their own motivates, eventually coming to an ultimatum, deciding whether or not it’s still worth their time. This is why it is so important that you and your client know the reason behind their decision to exercise. Not only does this knowledge help establish the client’s motivation but it also opens up the opportunity to maintain that motivation and sustain a successful and lasting business relationship.
Maintaining Their Motivation
There are many ways you can maintain your client’s motivation, and depending on the situation some can work better than others. In saying that, one of the most effective methods I have found, is to indirectly remind clients of their fundamental reasons to exercise. Doing this helps fortify your clients motivation and dedication to reach their fitness goals.
For example, one of my clients was a football athlete back in high school. His goal was to reach the same weight, strength and level of fitness he once had. To strengthen his motivation I had him print out all of his old football photos and place them in commonly seen spots around the house. We found what worked best was photos placed above his computer screen, next to his bed and on the fridge door.
This indirect reminder not only helped with his attendance in PT sessions but also with his dedication to dieting and eating healthy. While this method works well with most of my clients, other clients can respond better to other techniques. Some even need an extra push and reminder, which can easily be achieve through an SMS, Facebook message or inspirational post.
Motivation in Motion
Often clients will come to us already motivated to exercise. According to Newton’s Law of Inertia these clients will continue in motion until they are acted upon by another force. Negative thoughts such as quitting, skipping or postponing a session can be the force that disrupts a client’s motivation to exercise (or to stay in motion), having a solid reason is going to fortify their dedication, requiring a bigger reason (or bigger disruptive force) to stop exercising. The bigger the reason they have to exercise, the more likely they are going to stay active and reach their goals. While it may sound like a challenging task, helping your clients discover and focus on the reasons behind their motivation not only instills and sustains their motivation but also a long term, successful and dedicated client.
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Chris Troach has completed his certificate III & IV in Fitness at the Fitness Academy in Australia. As a personal trainer he has 7 years of experience and enjoys helping clients achieve not only their fitness goals but also their dream bodies as well. Chris is looking to share his experiences and knowledge with the NFPT community, in the hope of helping other personal trainers succeed in their own businesses and with their own clients.