Motivational Skills: Your Key to Success

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Today, more and more people are turning to personal trainers to help them meet their fitness challenges. The personal trainer provides individualized services to their clients, including exercise prescription for improving their cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength and endurance, weight loss, reduction in stress and preparation for a specific athletic event. Often times however, the personal trainer is used more for motivation than for any other challenge. Today, the personal trainer not only needs to be well-educated and experienced, they must have motivational skills that will help to keep their clients enthusiastic about their workout program.

Clients struggle daily with maintaining their health and fitness goals. What many clients look for is the encouragement that will reaffirm that their efforts will not become another failure. Personal trainers who have the necessary skills to motivate their clients are very successful. Some of the following skills can be used to help keep your client motivated in their fitness program:

    • Effective Listening Skills
      Personal trainers that have good active listening skills can determine their underlying agenda. This will help develop proper goals and objectives, as well as the necessary tools to help keep the client motivated in their fitness program.
    • Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation
      Determining whether your client requires extrinsic motivation is essential in developing their program. Individuals that are more self-motivated (intrinsic) often are easy to motivate and do not require a great deal of external motivational strategies. However, those who are not self-motivators (extrinsic) will require more strategies that will keep them motivated with their program.
    • Flexibility and Creativity
      Many clients become extremely bored with the same routine, therefore, having the ability to change their exercise program regularly will help prevent this boredom. This might require you to spend extra time researching various options plus some creativity on your part to find the program that would be appropriate for your client’s goals and fitness level. This extra time spent will be well worth the effort if your client continues with their program.
    • Empathy and Compassion
      Many clients feel like they are fighting this health and fitness battle alone. The compassion and empathy of a personal trainer can help the client feel that they are not alone in this fight. When a client feels like someone else is pulling for them, there are more motivated to continue with their program.
    • Humor
      Most individuals beginning an exercise program do not like to exercise. The simple act of exercise can be very challenging for them. It has been found that humor can be an extremely helpful motivational tool. Time seems to pass more quickly when personal trainers add humor when working with their clients. Be cautious about adding humor that is not appropriate for your client, such as political, racial or sexist jokes or comments. Rather than being a motivational tool, it can end up having negative consequences.
    • Education
      Many personal trainers do not spend the extra effort researching for appropriate educational materials that can be useful in motivating clients. Many people just embarking on an exercise program have many questions because of the media coverage surrounding fitness these days. Clients who receive explanations to their concerns are more apt to respond positively and continue with their exercise program. Often clients have questions regarding information they heard on television or read in the newspaper or a magazine. This information is often questionable, hence requiring the personal trainer to do some extra investigating to produce valid material covering these particular concerns.
    • Assessments and Progress Charts
      An excellent way for a personal trainer to motivate their clients is to produce a means to show progress in their program. Assessments should be conducted at the start of the program as baseline information. Periodically redoing assessments will indicate any progress that has been made in their program. In addition, daily logs can be kept that can be simple, hand-written exercise forms or complex computerized programs which produce charts and graphs. Additionally, contracts signed between the personal trainer and the client are also effective motivational tools.
    • Positive Reinforcement
      Techniques that help reinforce appropriate behavior have been shown to motivate clients to stick with their exercise program. Many individuals never receive positive reinforcement for the behavioral changes that they have made.
    • Removing Barriers
      There are many barriers to exercise, both mental and physical. Personal trainers should help their clients identify the barriers to exercise. Once identified, then strategies can be used to help remove these barriers. Removing these barriers can increase the motivational level of the client.
    • Empowerment
      Personal trainers who empower their clients regarding their health find that the clients are more motivated to continue with their program. This empowerment gives the client the belief that they can achieve their goals and objectives even facing barriers and challenges.

There are many qualified personal trainers from which clients can choose. Having good motivational skills will clearly distinguish you from other qualified personal trainers. Whether a person is looking for a personal trainer on a short-term interim or long-term basis, most people will be more successful when working with personal trainers that take the initiative to motivate clients in their fitness program. Incorporating motivational strategies could be the secret to your success.