This may come at a bit of surprise to some, but when I train clients I purposefully don't go out of my way to motivate them. I know your probably thinking "What? Then why do they pay you?". But before you jump to some conclusions let me explain my logic behind this mindset a bit more. I know some people have this concept of personal trainers as these slave-driving creatures who incessantly yell "one more!" And while stereotypes do have some truth to them I couldn't be further from this stereotype. I hardly ever yell at a client and nine times out of ten if I do yell it is in order to celebrate a fantastic performance or accomplishment.
Now I am not saying that the only kind of motivation out there is of the yelling and screaming variety. I do try to motivate clients through my own actions and lifestyle in my attempt to live out the things that I preach, but I do not ever directly try to be a client's only source of motivation.
I do this not because I am a lazy, heartless, or careless trainer. Actually I do this because I am the exact opposite. I want nothing more than for my clients to have success and to take the things they learn from me with them throughout the rest of their lives. And in my opinion and experience these things can only be accomplished through intrinsic motivation.
Sure I can yell and scream, quote motivational speeches, and talk about determination and sacrifice till my lips turn blue, but this only serves to affect the immediate future. It does often times motivate a client to finish a set, increase the load, or even just get to the gym that day, but this motivation is transient and always fast fleeting because the motivation is extrinsic.
This motivation takes a lot of energy from me and gives me little return on my investment. So I choose not to waste much of my time or energy trying to extrinsically motivate my clients. Sure sometimes it is necessary, but I try to limit it to a minimum.
Rather I focus my attention, energy, and time towards cultivating a clients intrinsic motivation. I want to help them find what will make them want to train, eat well, and live well long after I have come and gone. I want them to light the fire inside their souls themselves. I do this because this is the only kind of motivation that will create long lasting changes in behavior.
Yes I do try to help coach them on manipulating their environment and accountability systems to aid them in making better decisions, but these devices can only work to a point. Intrinsic motivation is what these people need to arm themselves against things like break room cupcakes, fast food, and family pressures.
This approach to coaching is not as simple or easy as yelling and screaming till the cows come home, but it is much more rewarding and effective. My goal is help people have long term success and this coaching style is the only way I think my clients will have long lasting healthy lifestyles.
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training