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How to motivate your members to stay on track with their fitness goals!


How to motivate your members to stay on track with their goals!

Coaching clients on best way to use equipment 

There is No Wagon

On the wagon, off the wagon…What if there is no wagon? 

People may need your help to recognize that their new resolution to eat right and exercise didn’t fail just because they missed a workout or ate a cookie.  People miss workouts.  People eat cookies. What are some things you can do to help people realize that fitness is a process and not an all-or-nothing proposition? 

Remind people that this time is not last time. 

People come to you with all sorts of past experiences regarding exercise.  Many people come to you with negative experiences.  Some people have felt judged in the past for not being as good, as in-shape, as coordinated, or as strong as some ridiculous standard of comparison. Others may feel that they have failed at some movement activity (a gym class, a dance class, a weight training program) or that they have not managed to meet some level of commitment they felt was expected.  Failure leaves a mark. 

Remind people that whatever they are experiencing this time does not mean they have to repeat past behaviors.

Identify areas that can be managed differently and ask questions that help a person find his or her own solution.

Your client may have to miss another workout.  Your client may eat another cookie.  Work with your client to identify situations that may benefit from some pre-planning.  This is step one.  You are not offering solutions.  You may have the best solutions in the world, but they are your solutions, not your client’s. 

Questions allow your client to have control over his or her choices.  Control is important.  What strategy could work for you if your co-worker brings in treats?  What could you do in your day to make sure your health and activity is a priority?  What strategies can you use to cope with unexpected challenges?  Having a coping plan may help manage situations that have presented challenges in the past.

Focus on the Process

Identifying the task that needs to be done, with a focus on personal progress, has been linked to increased exercise adherence.  What kind of comments promote a process focus? Feedback regarding improvements in form, in effort, in amount of weight lifted, in the increased number of repetitions, in the increase in time all focus on individual progress.  Offering a person feedback based on individual improvements builds competence and competence builds confidence.

Have you ever fallen off the wagon? Were you able to get back on? What did you do that was successful? Email us to let us know. Or send out a Tweet about your experience.

Susan Sotir Ph.D. Education Specialist, Cybex Research Institute

Arc Programs That WillKeep Your Members on Track

 Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. For medical advice please consult a doctor.


Thanks Susan for the nice and informative blog. 
I would add that research by Amnesi et al details the importance of establishing reasonable goals (meaning that they can be 
achieved) within a specific time frame (research shows 8-10 weeks...?)  
is also essential for members. I would look forward to your thoughts around these two areas as  
they remain no doubt critical to member's retention to exercise  
Posted @ Tuesday, January 14, 2014 9:43 PM by John Young
Thank you for taking the time to read and for the kind words, John! I'm also going to say thank you for a great idea for what to write next. Well defined goals, as well as a progression of short-term process goals, have consistently been associated with higher levels of achievement. I'm on it for next time! 
Also, just as a note, I live in the research literature and, if you ever want a copy of the reference list consulted for a post, please feel free to ask. 
Thank you again! 
Posted @ Wednesday, January 15, 2014 7:30 AM by Susan Sotir
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