It’s the most wonderful time of year. Living rooms are filled with trees and menorahs, festive lights blanket neighborhoods, peppermint mochas abound, and your once quiet weekends are now loaded with holiday lunches and parties. 'Tis the season for celebration and joy, but long to-do lists and extra obligations can wreak havoc on your clients’ training programs and their ability to stay consistent and focused.
But guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way.
With a little extra effort, you can prevent your busy gym from turning into a ghost town until the resolutionists return in the next month or so.
Here are a few tips that will help keep your clients - and your reputation as a badass coach - on-track during the hectic holidays.
1. MAKE IT PERSONAL
If some of your regulars have gone MIA in the last few weeks, reach out to them for a quick check-in chat - and if possible, get them to commit to a few sessions between now and January 1. Let’s be real, December may as well be coined the most difficult time of the year when it comes to working out, so going the extra mile can go a long way.
Jonathan Bernath, owner and personal trainer at Full Force Fitness in Van Nuys, California, goes full-on full-court press to keep his clients on the road to success during the holidays. He knows that they need extra attention and support so he does everything within his power to make sure their goals are always top of mind.
He explains, “When I go out for hikes and runs, I invite them to come with me. I feel like the best motivator is staying in contact and being as present as possible. It’s also important for them to know that if they miss a workout to make sure to at least get out and move for 30 minutes.”
Lastly, for those of your clients who are going out of town, you might consider offering training sessions via Google Hangout or Skype. More often than not, your clients just need that extra little nudge in the form of a phone call, hangout, or text to get them back on track. They’ll thank you for it come January.
2. CREATE SOME FRIENDLY COMPETITION
Everyone knows that appealing to someone’s competitive side can be a huge motivator. So why not exploit this trait that many of us have by creating a holiday challenge with fun prizes. You can engage participants by promoting the challenge on social media - maybe even creating your own hashtag (which also doubles as a prospecting tool to market your services). Have participants track their progress on a fitness app like inKin or myfitnesspal so you can monitor their activity and progress based on total workouts or number of sessions attended. You can even encourage them to engage their network of friends on social media. Not only will you keep your clients on track but you’ll likely pick up a handful of new ones along the way - and you’ll have fun doing it.
If you’re not into the social media thing, try something on-site like Ethan Kopsch, owner of San Diego-based, Bird Rock Fit. He facilitates client challenges and awards prizes to participants.
“It could be a sled push challenge in which you receive a raffle ticket each time you cover a certain amount of yardage,” he says. “You might get a prize for each workout you complete or for showing us a picture of a veggie-filled meal you ate.”
Finally, he adds, “you have to make the prize worth it," and that "a cheap t-shirt or water bottle probably won’t cut the mustard.” Kopsch says that they’ve handed out $100 gift cards for those that take the top spot and less expensive prizes for second and third place. He might also offer consolation prizes for other non-physical factors like most spirited or best supporter.
“The challenges work”, says the trainer. “Best of all, each time we host these challenges, we see a big increase in the number of people coming through the doors.”
3. KEEP IT FESTIVE
'Tis the season with a holiday-themed workout or activity - like an outdoor bootcamp or a snowshoeing excursion, followed by hot chocolate of course. Encourage clients to bring their friends and family along too. Not only is this a great way to stay fit while being festive, but it will give you the opportunity to solidify your current client relationships, while laying the foundation for new ones.
Brian Nunez, TRX Qualified Trainer, owner of FNS Training in Santa Clara, California, lets the creative juices overflow during this time of year and offers special workouts, events, and extras to draw as many members and clients as possible. They’re meant to inspire the individual to give to themselves by way of keeping up with their workouts and to foster the holiday spirit by giving back to others.
“This is a heavy event season for us as a way to really help people stay connected and engaged during a time when most people want to take a break and wait to get started in January,” he says. “We also go heavy on our success stories and athlete awards to keep people motivated and engaged. “
Some of the special events he hosts include a toy drive workout, holiday-themed dress-up workouts, food bank volunteer dates, January 1 “Commitment Day” workout, and a holiday wine and yoga social.
Like Kopsch, Nunez also facilitates extra challenges during these busy months. Those include:
December Myzone Calories Challenge in which participants compete to see who burns the most calories
Class attendance challenge
Weigh-in raffle in which participants receive a raffle ticket when submitting measurements
Finally, Nunez says that he and his team send out handwritten cards for clients and members to reward consistency and ramp up social posts that detail FNS success stories.
With a little creativity and some extra motivation, you can help your clients overcome the challenges of a busy season and continue to forge ahead toward their fitness goals.
Start planning for the new year with TRX Education. Learn more about our training philosophy and courses here.