Ashley Artese by Ashley Artese

With increased family obligations, traveling, shopping and stress, the holidays can be a difficult time to maintain a consistent workout schedule. As health and exercise professionals, it is our job to help and motivate our clients and class participants to stay consistent and continue to pursue their fitness goals, even during this busy time of year. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your clients and participants motivated throughout the holiday season:

  • Set weekly goals: As it gets closer to the holidays, it may be helpful to set goals on a week-by-week basis to accommodate the time your clients have to dedicate to exercise in the upcoming week. Because some weeks can be busier than others, setting small achievable goals, especially behavioral goals (e.g., working out three days or attending two fitness classes in the upcoming week), can help your clients stay focused with attainable weekly targets.
  • Set reminders: Have your clients and class participants set workout or class reminders on their phones, computers or specific reminder apps. In addition, friendly reminders from you through text messages, emails or social media, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, can help keep them accountable to their set weekly goals and scheduled workouts.
  • Change it up: Lower workout motivation may occur during the holidays due to stress and time constraints. Therefore, keep your clients and participants on their toes by changing up the workouts and adding new exercises or activities to keep your workouts and classes exciting, fresh and fun.
  • Provide options for quick gym workouts: Offer a special holiday schedule or training sessions that include short 20- to 30-minute express workouts. These quick workouts provide options for those who have limited time, but still want to participate in a class or guided workout at the gym.
  • Offer quick home workout options: Not everyone will have time to make it to the gym, so why not bring the gym to them? Create online videos for your clients and participants, develop handouts with short workouts that can be done at home or encourage them to download a fitness app that provides different workout options.
  • Get more out of each session: For those who may miss several training sessions due to travel or other holiday obligations, alter the training sessions they are able to attend to get a little more out of each session. You can do this by slightly increasing intensity, reducing rest breaks, including more challenging exercises, incorporating high-intensity intervals, and alternating between strength and cardiovascular intervals.
  • Create or attend holiday-themed workouts or events: Offer a fun holiday-themed class or event for clients and participants and encourage them to bring their friends. Community events such as a holiday 5K also are great opportunities to get clients and class attendees to participate together.
  • Create a friendly holiday competition: Help your clients and participants stay on top of their health and fitness goals by creating a friendly holiday exercise competition. Encourage participants to keep track of activities through a fitness app, Facebook page, bulletin board, sign-in sheets or member-tracking software at your fitness facility. You can measure activity based on total weekly steps, number of sessions or classes attended, total workout time or through weekly workout challenges that each person must complete.

All clients have different motivational and time struggles throughout the holiday season, so it is important to offer them support and determine the best strategies that will help them stay consistent and continue to work toward reaching their health and fitness goals. Listen to your clients, offer support, find out what strategies will motivate them, and help them create a holiday exercise action plan that will best suit their needs.

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