Many people know that increased exercise is vital to a wide range of health benefits, but knowledge doesn’t always translate into action. Even with specific goals and plenty of enthusiasm, training can be derailed by busy schedules, other priorities, and, let’s face it, the lure of the couch.
Being able to muster up some motivation is a useful skill to have, and when you can’t do it yourself, your trainer may have some ideas.
Here’s how some fitness pros manage to motivate their clients – and even themselves.
1 Break your fitness routine
Jimmy Minardi, founder of Minardi Training and a certified personal trainer, says one of the biggest mental barriers to fitness is feeling like you don’t have 30 minutes to spare. To combat this feeling, he has his clients break up their workouts into 10-minute segments throughout the day.
For example, climbing the stairs for 10 minutes during lunch and parking as far away from the office as possible – or getting off the bus one stop early counts.” By the end of the day, my clients have completed a complete workout without even realizing it,” he says.
2 Revisit the old best you.
Whenever he starts working with new clients, health and wellness expert Chris Divchio asks them for photos of when they were in the best physical shape they’ve ever been in.
“Interestingly, when we dug deeper into why they chose that photo, we found that they were also at their happiest,” he says.” The conversations began to reveal patterns and habits that they engaged in regularly during that time that were directly related to the results they were getting. This lays that foundation for a strong motivational foundation.”
3 Crowdsourcing Your Playlist
Music can be a huge motivator – as long as you enjoy it. Those who do group workouts with certified personal trainer Justine Mansfield at Anytime Fitness in Red Rock, Nevada, can count on hearing their favorites because they’re the ones who pick the tunes.
“I like to reach out and collect a mix of my clients’ favorite workout songs and create a playlist for a session,” she says.” It makes them feel like they’re a part of creating the session.”
Another Anytime Fitness instructor, Stacy Weaver Maturin of Lafayette, Louisiana, lets her clients do training sessions when they go “live” on social media. She says that even if only a few people are watching, the pressure pushes them to work harder. They’re always more motivated when they’re “on,” just as people are more likely to challenge themselves in a group than when they’re working out alone.
5 Get Creative.
Which would you rather hold up: another kettlebell and a chubby little pumpkin of equal weight? Minnesota-based corporate fitness trainer Rachel Prairie adds seasonal pumpkins to her workouts, mostly because they help people laugh and joke around – while still putting in a lot of effort.
“Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated,” she says.” So, keeping it a little silly once in a while helps people connect with each other and have fun.”
6 Get Stinkin’
Some Orangetheory fitness studios offer “no-shower happy hours” or other community-based events after the last class on Friday night, encouraging people to come even if they’re still sweaty, says Michael Piermarini, Orangetheory’s fitness director.
Another popular tactic of Orangetheory’s is the “primal scream,” says Piermarini. If you’re doing it yourself, some warning to your neighbors or fellow gym-goers might be nice, but in general, it’s worth the effort, he argues.
“We’d say, ‘Let’s do a primal scream in 3, 2, 1,’ and everyone would scream,” he says.” It’s actually really awesome, and it brings energy, just like anything else, even music.”
8 Act like a child.
Results are great motivators, but sometimes the constant focus on performance and metrics can get stressful. Chris Clough, a certified personal trainer in Baltimore, suggests that one way to get rid of that stress for a while is to have more fun. In his clients’ workouts, he includes a “play session” that might include crawling on the floor, jumping rope, balancing in an odd position or anything else that makes you laugh.
While strategies like these are geared toward personal training clients, you can also learn some ideas for achieving your squad’s goals – use some of these strategies when you gather a group of fitness-focused friends together and watch your motivation zoom upward.