You know there are many, many reasons to exercise, right? Let’s brainstorm and see how many we can come up with. It makes you feel better, it makes you sharper by increasing brain connections, it makes you fitter, it increases your confidence, it can make you look better, it provides an opportunity to meet new people, it can be FUN, it gets you out of the house, it helps you live longer, it helps you remain strong as you age…..

It’s a long list.

So do you think your personal training clients know all those reasons? Why don’t people exercise, even though they aren’t happy with their current level of health or physical appearance?

What keeps clients on the couch instead of in the gym?

Let’s tackle some of the most common reasons you’ll hear your clients give you for not exercising.

1. I don’t have enough time. We all feel pressed for time. If your clients have filled every single moment of their day with something, they will have to give something up to make space for exercise. If this seems impossible to them, challenge them to think creatively – could they combine things? Could they hire an exercise bike or cross trainer and watch television while they work out? Could they make time for two ten-minute sessions per day? Why not show them some killer moves that would be more than enough if they performed them for 20 minutes per day. But the essential truth is that they have to make space in their life for exercise; no one will find the time for them.

2. I’m afraid of change. Change is scary; our routines are comforting. But isn’t not changing also scary? Do your clients want to be exactly the same (or worse off) in a year, in five years, in ten years or are they looking for some sort of change? Encourage them to take a deep breath and move towards change instead of away from it.

3. I don’t know what to do in the gym. Well that is why they should hire you right? Some clients can be afraid of the hard sell – explain that they would benefit from just a couple of sessions to get used to the equipment and to go through some exercises they can continue on their own. Take the pressure off, they will enjoy the benefits of working with you and will SEEK out more training.

4. I’m afraid I’ll fail again. It’s true, they might. But they might also succeed. They’ll definitely fail if they don’t try at all. I failed many times to change my diet until eventually it stuck (it took years and years). Grab a biography of some of the world’s most successful people and you’ll find stories of many failures before they finally won success.

5. It’s painful. Exercise will often be uncomfortable, but shouldn’t be painful. Comfort is overrated. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘the magic happens outside of your comfort zone’? It’s an irritating phrase….but it’s true. Why do we think we need to be comfortable all the time? Has your client had experiences in their life that are scary at first and ends up being fantastic?

6. I don’t like exercise. As you might have learned in a previous blog – a negative experience with sport or exercise can scar you for life. I wasn’t a natural exerciser and had to grow to love it over time. For example – I was scared of the gym and had no idea what I was doing, but I started to like feeling myself grow stronger as I trained with free weights. I disliked everything about running at the start, so I focused on my love of being outdoors in fresh air and having some peaceful time to myself. Find anything your clients don’t hate about the experience – even if it’s the long shower they allow themselves to have afterwards – and gradually their mindset about exercise will change.

Ultimately – help your clients understand that THEY are in control. Their body and their life are simply the result of all the small choices they have made over time. If they want to be different, encourage them to start making different choices and eventually they WILL reap the rewards.

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