2 things happen after you finish the initial honeymoon phase with a new client:
- You Get bored.
- The client gets bored.
I trained clients for years on end, 2-4 times a week. I loved them and enjoyed spending time with them but the training became routine. They came in, told me how their family was, we made small talk, they smashed their workouts, and they left.
Minor changes in programming provided some short-term interest but it usually wore off. As the phases went on I changed different variables of their programming and introduced new exercises.
But there really wasn't all that much I could do.
Exercise is pretty boring after a while. How many different ways can you teach somebody to lift, push or pull something? Some clients will be interested learning about new tweaks in training that you learned at your weekend seminar and others won't care.
It's much easier to retain and re-sell a pre-existing client than it is to get a new one. Retention gets difficult if the client is bored -- it doesn't matter how good your workout is.
2 Ways to Keep You Clients From Getting Bored
Workouts should have a purpose related to the clients goals. If you read thePTDC regularly you know that we don't talk about goals in the conventional sense, like losing 5lbs or performing a 10km charity run. A client believes that the superficial goal is the best course of action to accomplish what they really set out to do; this could be anything from fitting into a dress to finally getting their in-laws to stop making snide remarks about their weight.
Quantifiable goals are not emotional. Quantifiable goals define a path towards an emotional goal. Emotion drives action, not numbers.
Once you know the emotional reason why your client is standing in front of you every exercise should, in some way, relate back to that goal. For example:
"We're performing a squat today because of all of the big muscles it works. The bigger the muscles at play the more fat burning both during and after your workout. The squat is one of the most important exercises on your way to getting back into that red dress."
But what if the client doesn't have a real defined goal that you can pick out? Or what if they have already achieved their goal?
You have two options. Both are fun. Both will keep you and your clients engaged.
Option 1: Be Creative
Create a theme or purpose for training. Give the client a reason to come into the gym. What matters is how they perceive the goal. So if they think it's important it will keep them engaged. It all starts with you.
My friend and an awesome trainer, Chad Landers, did this with Barbara, one of his older female clients. He had been training her for years and suggested she enter a bench press contest. So, at 69 years old, she competed at 2 bench only contests and one full powerlifting meet. She now holds 10 California state records, 2 American records, and 1 National Meet Record. She will be competing at the World Masters Bench Press Championships in Prague this coming April.
Option 2: Make it Current
Is there a holiday coming up or an event? Create a program leading up to that day and name it appropriately.
I remember handing over a program sheet to a client of mine for 2 years. As I explained the program to him in my office he glanced at the page and saw that I aptly named the program, "the get ripped so you can get laid on the beach in a month blitz".
It's a mouthful but we both laughed and he was hella committed to the program because, well, who doesn't want to get ripped so that they can get laid on the beach? It's a lot more fun than calling it "Fat loss phase". Obviously name your program with your client in mind. A "get ripped so you can get laid on the beach in a month blitz" workout might not be appropriate for your 72 year-old grandfather client -- or maybe it is...
Creatively naming the program for an upcoming event leads to a lot of jokes and heckling throughout the training as well. The minute my client started to slow down in a density circuit all I had to do was yell, "you gonna tire out like that on the beach too brah?" A click...whirr reaction happened in his brain and he remembered why he was working so hard. After the program he kept the templates to complete part of the program on his own -- this was the only program that he never missed a day on his own. I feel the name had something to do with it.
A Perfect Example of the Two Combined
Two of the premier trainers in our industry just released an online product called the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Workout. It is a 12 week program that, after purchasing, you download immediately to your computer and comes complete with video tutorials and custom templates.
I recommend you read over the sales page of this program and invest in the product for two reasons:
1. The programming is good. They did a great job of balancing strength, endurance, and fat loss. It will give you ideas for your own programming and might even be a fun program for you to try out yourself.
2. It is creative and current. Study the way that the program was built and the marketing of the workout itself. The program is composed the same as any other: exercises, sets, reps, rest etc. But it's much much more interesting because:
- The end of the initial launch of the program is Dec 21, 2012. This is the day that the Mayan's predicted the world would end (or it's when they got bored and stopped making their calender).
- Zombies are in vogue. Movies like Zombieland and 28 Days Later are super popular along with shows like The Walking Dead.
- There's also a lot of talk about zombies in the media and on the internet. It's a fun topic and was a perfect choice for promoting a workout.
The most successful trainers aren't those who build the best programs. Their programs have to be adequate and promoted well. A client needs to be engaged in the programming and have fun with it.
In studying the program you will learn how to creatively produce, name, and market programs to:
- Retain your clients for longer
- Get current clients to train more often (try creating a fun program and telling your client they need to train 3x/wk instead of 2 for this month. It'll work.)
- Get ideas of how to keep your focus while having fun with your workout design.
Aside from the workout which you can choose to do, or not to do, this book will teach you how to make your programs more engaging. One extra session you gain from emulating Rog and Roman in their book will pay for this book almost 2x over (or more). Think of it as an investment into your business; a professional development tool.
The best and most important lessons are not learned from text books. They are learned by observing smart people creatively solving problems. Emulate and innovating their methods.
Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/istolethetv/3484457206/