I was doing so great with my exercise routine! But then I went on vacation…
Have any of your clients said this to you? Heck, has this ever happened to you?
It’s a common problem. Travel, whether for business or pleasure, can throw a wrench in our health plans, because it breaks something very important: momentum.
If your clients lose that momentum before fitness becomes a habit, it can halt their progress and throw them off the rails. As their coach, this can reflect poorly on you.
So how do you keep your clients in shape while traveling - and keep your business with them, too?
Here are four steps to make it happen:
Step 1: Set Their Exercise Goals, Track Results
“What gets measured, gets managed.” - Peter Drucker
The key to success in any endeavour (from diet & exercise to business, and everything in between) is to measure your progress.
For your clients, being able to measure progress will keep them motivated to push forward. Whether it's the lower (or higher) weight on the scale, or seeing the ab definition starting to come in, visible progress is a HUGE motivator.
But, of course, simple observations aren’t the best measurements. For example, as you know, a client can lose fat but not lose weight, so just asking them to step on the scale isn't necessarily going to capture their victories, or their maintenance when they are travelling the world.
The BEST way that I’ve found to stick to exercise (and get your clients to stick to exercise) is to track progress. What does this look like when travel is involved?
As their coach, you can help your clients choose one or two measurable exercise goals for them to achieve while they're away. For example, they could aim to run a certain distance or to pound out a certain number of push-ups each day they're gone.
My advice: Keep it simple. Travel is stressful enough with new routines, new food, new sleep patterns, etc. Your clients just need a little target to keep exercise in their mind.
If you're using an app like TotalCoaching, your clients will see their progress plotted over time. Scheduling a time to review their progress once they return from travel is another way to ensure that they exercise while they're away, and that they track their results (to keep them honest!)
I can personally say that it wasn’t until I started tracking my progress and setting clear goals (like gaining 20 lbs of muscle before my wedding) that exercise stopped becoming a grind, and started to stick.
Step 2: Make Mindful Eating Easy
Speaking of tracking, another huge motivator can come from taking notice of what foods they choose to eat while they travel. If you can help your clients eat mindfully, you can help them stay on-track with their fitness goals.
Again, your can use an app like TotalCoaching to have your clients track everything they eat and drink. Help them establish this routine before they leave, so that it's easier for them to maintain while they're gone. You don't want to ask them to build new habits while they're already dealing with so many routine breaks due to travel.
Alternatively to using an app, you can also have your clients send you photos of all the food they’re eating so you can track it for them and adjust their diet as needed. This is a high-value service that you can use as an upsell, or simply as a way to stay connected with your clients while they're away.
Step 3: Stay In Touch
They’re tracking everything, they’re seeing progress (or at least not losing the progress they've made), and they’re feeling motivated…But that extra piña colada and late night buffet is calling their name. After all, willpower is finite and rarely works without some accountability.
Don't let your relationship with your clients be put on hold until they get back home. Not only will that increase their chances of falling off-track, but it will also lessen the perceived value of the service you offer them.
You want to be an on-going part of their life. Hold them accountable.
Encourage your clients to book a 30-minute call with you mid-vacation to assess their progress and see if they’ve stuck to their goals. This is great for two reasons:
- It gives them the extra push to say “no” to skipping their morning workout since they know they’ll have to 'fess up to you if they do.
- If they DO skip that workout, this mid-travel call can help them get back on track.
At the very least, if they can’t schedule a call with you, have them text you whether they managed to stick to their workout and diet plans or not. Even minor accountability like this can be the difference between a momentary lapse and giving up entirely.
Here are a few options for having a video call with them:
- Use Zoom or Skype
- Call them using Facebook Messenger’s video call option.
- Use Facetime on Apple products
- Or try WhatsApp for text, audio, or video calling
Of course, when your clients are on vacation, checking in with a trainer is probably the last thing on their minds. So to help you schedule the call, use a tool like Calendly for free to find a time that works for both of you.
Step 4: Help Them Gear-Up (and Gain Instant Loyalty)
One reason why traveling makes fitness so difficult is that it’s a pain to do. Your clients have to make due with a tiny hotel gym, and if their hotel doesn’t have a gym, they have to find a local gym. It's a pain in the butt!
Even tiny amounts of "friction" like this can stop your clients in their tracks. Humans are naturally wired to do what’s easy.
Help your clients make exercise as easy as possible by encouraging them to gear-up with the essentials.
I'd recommend going one step further and actually purchasing these tools for your clients:
Yes, this will cost you a few bucks, but it will show your clients you really can, plus it will create a sense of "reciprocity" - You did something very nice for your client so she will want to repay the gesture. Oftentimes, this shows up in the way of client loyalty. Small acts of kindness = lifetime clients.Just be sure to show your clients variations of their normal exercises they can do using the equipment they get. If possible, show them how to use it before they go on vacation to help them get used to using it, so they’re not stuck wondering what the heck to do with it once they pull it out in their hotel room.
Now you know the four steps to keep your clients on the fitness train even when they travel. Not only will following these simple steps benefit your clients, but they will also help you grow your personal training business by increasing client satisfaction and loyalty.
I’ve learned a lot about how to keep fitness going on the road from all my time spent in RV rentals where there’s no gym and limited space. You learn to make do! I hope this advice helps your business.