woman on ground stretching in white shirt and orange leggings

By Percy Reynolds

Without a doubt, the discussion of the benefits of regular exercise for health, not only physical but psychological well-being, are a hot topic. Nevertheless, there is still a disconnect in what drives people to begin and sustain active exercise programs. In recent years, several research studies have reviewed the driving factors which help people initiate and sustain a more active lifestyle. The studies have found that enjoyment in training is what drives adherence to a regular training program.

Motivation in Training

Lack of motivation to sustain a health/fitness program may be broadly defined in two groups. The first and larger group of people are uninterested in exercise or value the benefits enough to make it a priority in their life.  Some recent studies show this group to be upwards of 50 percent of the North American population.

The second group may feel that they lack the competence of how to create a regular exercise program. Whether it’s not feeling fit enough to begin, or not skilled enough for it to be effective.

woman helping man do pushups

Designing Enjoyable Training

As coaches, it is important to design effective programming to achieve an individual’s goal, which doesn’t stop at training the human body but must also include coaching the human being. 

Often, exercise is described as a purpose-driven movement with an intentional and predictable outcome or adaptation to the stressed tissue.  As a coach, the onus is on each of us to ensure programming is safe, effective and purposeful.  With these considerations, the human body will adapt within in its genetic window. 

People like to do things they enjoy. Often, driven by being “good” at doing them. This changes the internal perception of exercise. From “Today I have to do X to get Y,” to “I get to do X and it makes me feel Y.”

This mental shift comes from engaging in activities that they enjoy and lead them to their ultimate goal.

Involving Clients in Training Program Design

Meeting a client where they need to be met, means adapting to their feedback and input while retaining professional control over their programming. When involving the client in their own programing, they begin to develop ownership.  The big question is how do we get there? Especially if we are meeting a new client and we are working on building a relationship. Without knowing what the client wants we could waste precious time in trial and error at the jeopardy of creating a great exercise experience. 

Tools to Involve Client Participation

The team at PTA Global has developed a series of tools to help coaches connect better with their clients and create appealing programs. Most importantly, you will discover “HOW” a client likes to train when connecting them to programming they will enjoy.  This is known as their movement or moStyleTM.

In fact, adding this to your initial meeting will help adapt programming to avoid boredom for the client. When you show you can train/coach them “their way” you have created an incredible value in your partnership.

woman using ab roller

Finding a Client’s Training Style

Using the moStyleTM guide you can determine if your client prefers one of three styles: Traditional, Progressive, or Hybrid. 

  • Traditional style means they prefer predictability and known movements. This is where they will feel safe and confident. No weird stuff! Examples: Squat, pushups, deadlift. Nothing overly complicated. 
  • Progressive style prefers freedom and variety. All the weird stuff. Functional equipment, multiple planes of motion, or simultaneous movement patterns and feeling challenged while learning. Examples: Slams, ViPRTM, Kettlebells, BOSUTM Suspension training
  • Hybrid wants the best of both worlds. Clients are open to trying anything. It’s important to ask this group for feedback to continue to improve their experience.

Importance of Client Feedback

Remember, this guide can help you get on the board with your programming. To continue to hone and mold the experience to the client, it’s imperative to always take the opportunity for them to provide feedback about the exercise or session. Observe the client while they are active. What is their non-verbal body language saying? Are they engaged and focused? Or, just doing what they were told to do?

Try asking some of the simple questions from the moStyleTM guide before preparing your client’s next session. Adapt your programming to the human being who you are partnered with and they will engage and relish your time together.

Above all, keeping the client engaged and entertained during training will lead to motivation and success in their fitness lifestyle. Asking questions, including them in program design and training to their personal style is the key to gaining and retaining motivated clients. Stay tuned for more discussion on motivating clients and most importantly, exploring more on the Self-Determination Theory and our role as coaches to help clients create competency, autonomy and social relatedness in health and fitness.

About the Author: Percy Reynolds

Percy Reynolds Percy Reynolds a twenty-six year veteran of the health/fitness industry. Earned Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Oregon in Exercise and Movement Science. He’s a Lifetime athlete in throwing and contact sports including Baseball, Softball, and American-rules Football. He has a passion for health and human performance that drove him to acquire his CSCS and several other strength/condition and athletic performance credentials. He enjoys helping individuals unlock their individual potential and take control of their fitness journey by coaching the human being, not just the human body. Most people he knows describe him as champion for health, fitness and outdoor life. He also enjoys architecture, and just enough to be dangerous about working on old cars, and motors.