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The Who Behind Your Client’s Why

– A Fresh Approach to Sustaining Fitness Motivation

A lady reflecting on her fitness journey

Recently, I've been reflecting on personal training and how often we emphasise understanding the reasons (the "why") that drive a client to begin their fitness journey.

Looking better, feeling healthier, and boosting confidence are often listed as driving factors. However, exceptional trainers go beyond the surface and dig down into the essence of the individual (the “Who”) that defines their identity and beliefs.

Let me explain why uncovering the “Who” behind the fitness goals proves to be so powerful and how it can be the cornerstone to lasting change.


Starting with The Why

Understanding the reasons behind fitness aspirations is the first step, as these motivations serve as the initial spark, but as many trainers know, the flame can flicker and fade over time. The key is to remember that motivation often dwindles, and that's where the journey to the "Who" needs to start.


The Missing Link - Exposing the Who

Exceptional trainers take the conversation to a deeper level. They help clients explore their core identity and values.

Q. Who are they at their core?

Q. What do they truly believe about themselves?

These questions are the gateway to opening a more sincere and profound source of motivation. The "Who" is the anchor that prevents clients from reverting to old habits and self-perceptions.


The Tony Robbins' Approach

I think it was Tony Robbins (correct me if I’m wrong), a renowned motivational speaker, who illustrated the power of identity in breaking habits.

I heard a powerful example about people struggling to quit smoking. The common thread was that despite their attempts, they consistently stumbled because, deep down, they perceived themselves as smokers. It didn't matter how many techniques or resolutions they tried; their fundamental belief in being a smoker held more sway than any effort they exerted. We generally revert to type when faced with pressure or when the initial enthusiasm wears off, we invariably drop back to our perceived identity, convinced it is an undeniable truth about who we are.

The path to changing your external circumstances becomes easier only once you change the internal narrative. So, it seems, that to truly break free, we must first redefine our identity.


The Battle Within - Changing the Belief System

A lady meditating on the beach

Clients may have strong reasons for change, they may even be facing health issues and be worried about not being there for their children in the way they want. However, if these reasons clash with their internal identity, the battle is brutal and always uphill.

The journey to sustainable transformation involves chipping away at the layers of accumulated self-perception, allowing individuals to see themselves without the negative constraints they’ve picked up throughout their lives.

Below are some common fitness goals, with common reasons (the “why”) behind seeking change. Included are ways to derive a positive identity by personalising these goals and exploring the underlying core values, and self-perceptions that can lead to lasting change:


Fitness Goal: Body Transformation

The Why: Look good and feel great at a friend’s wedding.

The Who: A positive identity can be linked to someone who radiates confidence and health. Clients can envision themselves walking into the wedding with poise while feeling great in their own skin.

The Task: Non-fitness tasks can be introduced, such as positive self-talk and moments of visualisation. Cultivating a habit of positive affirmations serves as a daily reminder of one's inherent worth and capabilities. By consciously substituting negative thoughts with empowering statements and consistently visualising the confidence that already resides within them, individuals can reinforce this triumphant identity.

Fitness Goal: Improve energy levels

The Why: The motivation behind this goal could be to become an energetic presence within their family. It's about more than just personal health; it's about creating lasting, positive memories and connections with their children.

The Who: The positive identity associated with this goal is that of an energetic and engaged parent. One that not only takes care of their personal well-being but actively participates in the vitality of their family’s life. This identity embodies the role of a Family Energiser.

The Task: As a fitness trainer, encourage your clients to make physical activities a family affair. Whether it's a weekend hike, a bike ride, or simple games in the garden, proactively involve the kids. This not only ensures the family stays physically active but also reinforces the positive identity of a Family Energiser—a person whose enthusiasm is contagious and motivating. Initiate conversations that inspire the client to visualise themselves in this role, emphasising the joy and benefits of being an active parent.


Fitness Goal: To Be Stronger Physically and Mentally

The Why: The motivation could stem from a desire to triumph over personal issues where courage, resilience and determination are needed to conquer life’s challenges which may include pain, addiction, stress, anxiety, or depression.

The Who: The positive identity associated with this goal is that of a Resilient Warrior. When clients envision themselves as an individual who confronts challenges head-on with strength and spirit, they emerge from the experience even stronger.

The Task: Speaking with clients and helping them understand that success over adversities proves power and determination. It may be possible for your client to confront and conquer their challenges, whether they be physical pain, mental health struggles, or other obstacles by using fitness as a tool to reshape a negative into a positive. Encourage clients to engage in exercises that not only challenge their body but also strengthen their minds, but always make sure they seek professional support when needed. This holistic approach to overcoming personal challenges through their fitness journey will help them achieve consistent wins and show them how mighty they truly are.

Fitness Goal: Improving General Wellness

The Why: A possible reason could be a desire to lead a life that prioritises health and well-being and even set an example for others.

The Who: The positive identity associated with this goal is that of a Lifestyle Leader and clients should be encouraged to see themselves as someone whose healthier choices influence and inspire friends, family, and colleagues to make some positive changes too.

The Task: Clients could be encouraged to turn their fitness journey into a beacon for positive changes and spread the vibes in their local communities or circles. By finding ways to promote such habits and share their experiences they can produce a ripple effect of well-being and solidify their identity as one who advocates for healthy living.

I hope you found these concepts useful and will apply some to dig past the "why" and uncover the "Who"!

If you're passionate about making a bigger impact with your fitness services, consider scheduling a time to speak with me. Book a discovery call to learn more about how I work and why my clients generate more business online. Let's explore how we can grow your fitness venture, expand your reach and serve more people.







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