How to Help Personal Training Clients with Accountability

Personal training clients come to you looking for guidance, education, and support for achieving their health and fitness goals. But they need more than a cheerleader; they need someone who will help them with their workout accountability, which Merriam-Webster defines as “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.”

As a personal trainer, you’re in a unique position to help your clients take responsibility for their health and fitness goals. According to one study, participants who told someone about their goal had a 65% chance of achieving it and a 95% chance of achieving a goal if they committed to meeting up with that person!

That said, you can’t assume that your clients are always ready to share how and what they’re doing with you. In this article, you’ll find strategies for helping you keep your clients accountable and on track to achieving their goals.

Get to Know Your Personal Training Clients

Woman and man talking in a gym

Whether you’re just starting out with a new client or rethinking how you work with long-term personal training clients, it’s vital to understand as much as you can about who they are and how they think. Whether as part of your onboarding questionnaire or organically during a training session, ask them questions to find out what fuels them.

  • What is their “why” for doing personal training?
  • What are their passions or favorite hobbies?
  • What does success look like in other areas of their lives?
  • How do they like to be rewarded or celebrated?

When you understand what motivates your clients, you can start holding them accountable by calling them out on excuses or rewarding them when they reach milestones.

Set Reminders and Check In Regularly

You don’t have to check in with your personal training clients every day, but the more insight you have into how your clients are doing, the better you can help them. It’s easy enough to go from week to week assuming they’re on track, but if you invest more time into ensuring they’re moving forward, they’re more likely to stick with their plan and goals.

If you have an app where your clients can track habits, you can easily send an in-app message to check-in and track progress. If you don’t use an app (and you totally should!), a simple text or email will do.

Also, schedule a monthly or quarterly appointment to go over progress with your clients. You don’t want to talk about how your client is doing too frequently (i.e., weekly), because progress doesn’t happen overnight and you don’t want your clients to feel demoralized. During these meetings, make sure you focus on wins and create a plan for overcoming any roadblocks or hurdles. With a detailed plan in place, your clients are more likely to stick with you and achieve their goals.

Celebrate Their Successes and Progress

Although not all of your clients will be on board with you sharing their progress with social media, some may be happy for you to celebrate them in a public space. In fact, some of your clients may already be sharing photos to social media, and all you’ll need to do is ask to repost on your business’s social channels.

You can also celebrate progress with swag. This is where getting to know your clients really well comes into play. Think things like gift cards to a local coffee shop, t-shirts, a discount on PT sessions, books, a gift card to Headspace, or something else.

Use Tech to Gain Greater Insight

According to a study by Drexel University, the trick to achieving health and wellness goals is not to go it alone, but rather for people to share their progress and health data with a coach or trainer. This way, coaches can share what they observed and provide direct, helpful feedback based on real trends, habits, or data.

For example, you might ask your clients to use a Fitbit or Apple Watch to track workouts, monitor weight and body composition using a smart scale, or log nutrition in an app. Then, they can share this information with you so you can hold them accountable based on the goals they’ve set.

Call Them Out When Excuses Come Up

Sometimes, your clients will need “tough love” when they’re oozing excuses, but you have to layer in wins to drive home their progress and keep them moving forward. This is when the “compliment sandwich” comes in handy:

  • The bread: Give a compliment or celebrate progress.
  • The fillings: Offer advice or suggestions on how they could improve.
  • The bread: Give another compliment or piece of action-oriented advice.

Here’s an example:

Hey Tom! You’re lifting more than you were when we started last month, which is great. I want you to be able to keep increasing that number, so you need to really focus on your form so you don’t get hurt. Don’t rush it! Your squats are great, too, but let’s keep working on proper squat form so you can get the most out of your workout.

Remember: Your personal training clients are literally paying you to be honest and upfront with them as they try to gain muscle mass, build stamina, or achieve another fitness goal. Don’t hold back when holding them accountable, but don’t overdo it.

Hold a Competition or Pair Clients Up

Team high five in a gym.

If you have a bunch of personal training clients who are struggling to hit similar fitness or nutrition goals, you can up the accountability ante by creating a friendly competition or challenge. Alternatively, you could pair up or introduce two or more of your clients and encourage them to keep each other accountable and on track between workouts.

You could also create a private Facebook or WhatsApp group for your clients, which gives them a place to keep each other updated and keep each other accountable. Just check in on the group often to make sure everyone stays on task and on plan. If you see conversations getting heated or the competition getting ugly, shut it down before your clients start feeling demoralized.

Help Your Clients with Workout Accountability with My PT Hub

People come to you for help, and workout accountability is a big piece of that. The more you can do to keep your clients on track, the more likely they are to achieve their health and fitness goals. If you leverage software that helps you streamline operations and offers insight into how your clients are doing, you and your clients can accomplish even more.

Luckily, there’s My PT Hub, personal training software that lets you create customized workout and nutrition plans, schedule your availability, help clients with habit tracking, deliver live workouts, and more. Learn more about what My PT Hub can do for your fitness business by signing up for a free, 30-day trial!