How to keep your clients motivated

Motivation is a curious thing. Some days we have it and other days we sure as daylight don’t. Understanding the mystery of motivation, and what motivates us, are the first steps to unlocking ways to keep your clients motivated.

With the right knowledge, you’ll be able to put a motivation system in place to build stronger client relationships, and keep them with you through every season. You might even discover new ways to keep yourself more motivated!

So lets dig in and see what there is to learn about motivation.

Why Motivation Matters

Motivation matters because we simply can’t achieve our goals without it. It can affect how we approach life in general, how we relate to others, how much time and effort we devote to reaching our goals, how much support we seek when we’re struggling, how much we engage with others, and so on.

Researchers who have tried to understand what motivates school students concluded that if a school student believes, for whatever reason, that he or she has a limited capacity for learning or feels unlikely to succeed, that student will not be as academically motivated (Pintrich, 2003).

If we translate that to a fitness studio environment, this means trainers, instructors and teachers all have a responsibility to help their clients feel like they do have capacity, and they can succeed, to keep them motivated.

After all, motivated clients are valuable since they are more likely to attend regular sessions, promote your business and bring in new clients.

Types of Motivation

Knowing how important motivation is for setting goals, building relationships and engagement, lets look at the two major types of motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is the desire to do or achieve something because one truly wants to and takes pleasure or sees value in doing so.

Extrinsic motivation is the desire to do or achieve something not for the enjoyment of the thing itself, but because doing so leads to a certain result (Pintrich, 2003).

Bringing these ideas down to a personal level, ask yourself, what is your motivation for running a fitness studio? Is it for the pure enjoyment of seeing the value it brings your clients (intrinsic)? Or is because you have a goal of selling your brand for a six or seven figure amount (extrinsic)? Neither one is right or wrong, but it’s important to know the ways in which people can be motivated.

It can be difficult to determine if someone truly wants to achieve their goal, or if they are simply going through the motions to gain some reward, or a mixture of both. By using this concept of intrinsic versus extrinsic, you can begin to think about how to design fitness classes which appeal to both motivational types.

When thinking about what motivates your clients, here are four dimensions of motivation to consider.

Four Dimensions Of Motivation

(Am I capable?)
The person believes they have the ability to complete the task.
(Can I control it?)
The person feels in control by seeing a direct link between their actions and a result.
The person retains autonomy by having some choice about whether or how to undertake the task.
(Does it interest me? Is it worth the effort?)
The person has some interest in the task or sees the value of completing it.
(What do others think?)
Completing the task brings social rewards, such as a sense of belonging to a community or other desired social group or approval from a person of social importance to them.

Four dimensions of motivation. Source Bandura, 1996; Dweck, 2021; Murray, 2011; Pintrich, 2003; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Seifert, 2004.

These four questions can help you understand why your clients might not be as motivated as they could. They can also help you build a motivational system to help keep your clients engaged and on track to achieve their goals.

With this in mind, let’s look at some helpful ways we can keep our clients motivated.

Ways To Keep Your Clients Motivated

1. Communication

Good communication with your clients can help build their trust. Trust is the pathway to keeping your clients motivated through every season.

Taking time to listen to your clients and really understand where they are at can help you determine the best way to keep them engaged.

Once you have identified what motivates them, make choices to integrate those things into their classes whether it be choice of music, competitions, or regular catch ups.

Key points

  • Good communication can build increased client motivation
  • Communicate regularly, listen and respond in meaningful ways

2. Choose Your Words wisely

Our words impact our emotions and behaviours.

If fitness trainers or instructors focus on words like ‘calorie burner’ or ‘beach body workout’, they can easily create a negative connotation for clients who may be struggling with negative self talk.

Think about the four dimensions of motivation and the questions, can I control it, and am I capable, etc. Try to tailor your use of words to individual clients. Every individual has different goals and different insecurities. This makes your choice of wording, whether it’s verbal or written, that much more crucial.

Your wording can be rephrased to encourage them to workout because they love their body, not to punish it. See it as you get to workout, and what a privilege that is. Focus on the benefits for all and by teaching this to your clients, you could see a major shift in their motivation as well as their attitude towards working out and showing up.

Change your words

Key points

  • Your choice of words can impact client motivation positively or negatively
  • Think about the phrases you use and refine if necessary

3. Engage With Social Media

Love it or hate it, social media is a tool which can also form part of your motivational system. While not everyone is on social media, your social media accounts can be a great place for you to energize and motivate those clients who are.

Make your social media presence a place where visitors can leave feeling eager to join their next workout. Encourage them by making them feel part of your community or family.

Sharing images of your clients training as a group can be a great way to motivate and help them to perform their best if they are motivated by what others think.

This might even give you some extrinsic motivation as a studio owner, as one share on social media leads to a few hundred or thousand more impressions, providing great advertising your business. Proper use of social media can be a great way to increase your membership base.

Remember to try and post content which addresses all four dimensions of motivation. If you can target intrinsic and extrinsic motivation types you’ll be covering all bases!

Key points

  • Social media can be a great place to generate motivation
  • Post content which addresses each of the four dimensions of motivation

4. Set Attainable Goals

Setting un-attainable goals, even if well intentioned, can be a sure way to create unmotivated clients! If this has happened to one of your clients who thought they were capable in the beginning, it could be a good time to re-evaluate.

Re-evaluating means helping clients to break up big goals into smaller, more manageable, goals. Instead of aiming for seven workouts a week, start off with three workouts and work their way up.

Help clients to see what works for their schedule and focus on that. You could start by incorporating small things into their routine first to see how they manage, then start adjusting from there.

It’s so important to have that personal interaction with a new client to asses their goals, fitness levels, motivation and schedules. Take the time to write it down and to help them work out a schedule to start off with. See where their interests, strengths and weaknesses lie, and build on that.

While some individuals can execute a plan on their own with little contact, others require weekly or even daily motivation to stay on track. This truly is a great way to keep your clients motivated, keeping them on track, and focuses on all four dimensions of motivation.

Key points

  • Agree on attainable goals
  • Continue to evaluate

Reset Goals

5. Be Consistent

Chopping and changing things around too much can lead to uncertainly and a lack of motivation. Be consistent with your schedules to help your clients create a good routine which they can schedule in advance. Consistency with trainers is also important for your loyal student base, people tend to go to classes also because they enjoy the teacher teaching the class. The trainer gets to know each student, their strengths and weaknesses, and builds a trusting relationship.

It’s perfectly fine to throw in a bit of excitement into your consistent schedule to keep things interesting. For example to incorporate short bursts of 10 minute workouts, whether it’s in studio or online. Adding these short workouts in-between classes might be extra work for you, but the intrinsic motivation it creates in the long run will benefit you both with staying consistent whilst keeping things fun.

For most of us, 10 minutes sounds doable, and when something is doable, you do it repeatedly, confidence grows, habits form, behaviours change, and you get better.

There’s a difference between being consistent and getting monotonous. Stay consistent with your schedule and your trainers, but feel free to add in some fun workouts here for that extra intrinsic motivation and excitement.

Motivation compared to Habit

Key points

  • Motivation needs consistency
  • Too much consistency can be monotonous

6. Establish Accountability

Whether it’s an accountability partner or a check list, having something that makes you feel accountable truly helps especially on those low motivation days.

Encourage your students to bring a friend along for a free class, and through that you motivate your client, as well as a potential new client to hop on board. Starting a new class or joining a new studio will be far more comfortable with having someone you know next to you.

Allowing your students to bring a friend or family member along once in a while will be their accountability. Together they will get to motivate each other, plan out their workout schedule, and perhaps even bring another friend with next time – in return growing your studio organically.

This is a perfect example of extrinsic motivation – you might not immediately see the benefit of allowing students to join your classes for free, but as soon as that free member becomes a paying client, you will see how one affects the other.

Key points

  • Accountability leads to consistency
  • Accountability partners can lead to organic growth of your studio

7. Get Creative

Your creativity is a powerful tool and motivator for all types of people. Everyone has the ability to be creative and there is no limit to the number of ways you can use it to continually motivate your clients week after week.

For example, you could run seasonal challenges throughout each year to break up tiresome routines. You could create a competition based on the most workouts logged or longest streak for days of nutrition tracking. The options are endless!

You can also get creative with rewards, from giving away a free month membership, to allowing a friend to join free for a month, to partnering with other brands for give-aways.

When you get creative, remember to think about how you can design ideas around people who are intrinsically and extrinsically motivated. Also consider how the four dimensions of motivation can apply.

Here are some ideas:

  • Reward clients who complete a set of achievements
  • Introduce music into your classes
  • Try different exercise themes
  • Introduce new equipment

Key points

  • Infuse creativity to generate motivation
  • Variety is the spice of life

Conclusion: Ways to keep your clients motivated

Understanding how people are motivated is the key to designing a motivational system which can keep your studio humming day after day.

Putting these ideas into practice should have a noticeable impact on your day to day classes and clientele. We hope you find these ways to keep your clients motivated useful and they help to take your business to the next level.

Bookamat studio management software also incorporates these ideas to help increase your client motivation. It includes helpful notifications, bookings for friends and family members and much more.

We’re proud to have hundreds of studios (and growing fast) on Bookamat from all over the world and here to help you, as a studio owner, grow your business organically.

Romi has been writing for Bookamat since 2020. She loves adventuring, practicing yoga and writing about the latest fitness trends.


  1. […] are not ideal because clients need routine. If they are prevented from coming into the studio, they tend to struggle with getting back […]

  2. […] Having a team around you means you can continue to run classes if you are sick or can’t teach. Consistency is an important factor when aiming to keep your clients motivated. […]

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