How to motivate your clients to achieve more – be SMART!

As a Personal Trainer your job is to get the most out of your clients and maximise results no matter how big or small their goal is. They’ve called on you to help, and it’s down to you to unlock their door that leads to progression.

One of the biggest ‘doors’ that prevent people from achieving what they want is motivation. Or to be more precise: a lack of motivation. Without motivation, will power and downright grit and determination, goals will fall by the way side, results will flounder and progression will come to a standstill.  One of your jobs, as a Personal Trainer, is to ensure this never happens, and it’s all about being SMART.


Goal setting is one of the most effective tools to keep motivation levels high. However, it’s not as easy it seems. Get it wrong, and your client’s motivation will significantly suffer. A popular method to use when setting goals is the SMART formula. Follow this and you shouldn’t go wrong.

Set Specific goals. The more specific goals are, the more motivating they will be. For example, telling your client that you want them to lose one stone in six weeks is a precise statement with a finite outcome. Both you and they know from the start what the end goal is.

Set Measurable goals. It can be easy for you and your client to set goals that are too vague. Wanting to become fitter or weigh less doesn’t work. How much fitter do they want to become? How much weight do they want to lose? Charting and documenting development is clear and measurable and will help you and your client identify your progression.

Set Adjustable goals. Goals that are set in stone can put too much pressure on both you and your client, which may have a detrimental effect on motivation. For example, what happens if your client feels sick or gets injured? Problems like these may require training to be put on hold, which could have a huge effect on goals. On the other hand, if a goal is too easily achievable, it may need to be raised. Targets that aren’t challenging will affect motivation.

Set Realistic goals. Setting an end goal that is unreachable will have absolutely no benefit. Forever striving to reach a target that is unobtainable will exhaust both you and your client and leave you deflated once the goal hasn’t been achieved. Set targets that can be reached, but require hard work. Goals that are too easy – losing 3lbs in six weeks – will leave your client unfilled and bored. Remember, by following the SMART principle, you can always adjust them.

Set Time-based goals. Breaking down goals into shorter goals (stepping stones) will help maintain focus and motivation. For example, let’s say you and your client have identified that you want to lose one stone in six weeks. Now this may seem like a big target, but by breaking it down into shorter weekly goals, i.e. 2.3lbs a week, makes it feel much more achievable and will help keep you both motivated and more likely to stick to it.

Remember, goals and targets help create structure for both you and your client. Without them, training sessions will become less effective, your client may become disinterested, and you too could lose motivation. Be SMART will help you motivate your clients to achieve more.

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