How to create long-term fitness clients

If you think that turning new clients into repeat clients is just a matter of giving them a good workout, think again. There are a million personal trainers out there who can do that. If you want to create repeat business you’ve got to develop the kind of rapport that exists between friends - while still retaining a professional relationship.


Accountability is a two-way street: When you take on a new client, you need him to know that you will hold him accountable for doing what you ask of him but, even more importantly, you will hold yourself accountable for getting the results he is looking for. This will create mutual respect and lay the foundations for a long-term relationship.


Mutual accountability not only develops rapport, it builds trust and – no matter what field of human endeavour you’re in – trust usually underpins long-term relationships. If you develop a high degree of trust among your clients by doing what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it, you will find that, not only will they stay with you, they will recommend their friends. Make your word your bond and watch your business grow.


Here’s a pre-qualifying question I’ve always loved: At the first session ask your client how ready she is to change on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being raring to go). If she says anything less than a 7 advise her that she isn’t quite ready for personal training yet and (in the nicest way) tell her to come back when she’s an 8 or 9. We use this question all the time with weight loss clients and it’s amazing how it both presses their pride button (which jolts them into action) and sets the tone for what’s to come. It’s called getting the right clients in the first place and it will save you and them a lot of heartache down the line.


Time spent uncovering the real reason your client wants to exercise is priceless. Very often it’s not the simple “get fit and feel better” answer he gives you in the first place. Once you have found the real driver (father died young of a heart attack, he feels socially uncomfortable because of his weight etc.) you have a powerful tool to keep him coming back.


Prepare your clients for the fact that there are numerous things that will distract them from achieving their goals. Sports psychologists call this “getting taken off task.” Whenever you sense this is happening remind your clients that staying on task, no matter what else life throws at them, is one of the keys to sustainable success.


In this regard, you might consider using the red-blue model. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side write red and on the other write blue. Then ask your client to tell you how she feels when she’s in the red zone (agitated and unproductive) and how she feels when she’s in the blue zone (energised and focused). It’s then quite easy to ask her which state she’s in on any given day and – if necessary – work on moving her from red to blue. Or you can adjust the workout to suit her mental state, which means she leaves the gym feeling good about what she’s done despite how she feels. BTW: When she starts telling all her friends about the red zone and the blue zone you know you’ve cracked it.

All of these processes are designed to help your clients feel in charge of the change process, which is empowering in its own right and is likely to make them want to come back to you time after time – even when they are in the red zone!

Do you want to build on your own skills and create more value for your clients? Why not take a look at doing one of our CPD courses or exercise specialist coures

Alternatively to qualify as a personal trainer with us click here or call one of our team to have an informal chat on 0870 120 1207.

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