7 Ways that Keep My Personal Training Clients Motivated

After 12 years of personal training, I can confidently say that there isn’t a standard method of motivation that works for everyone. To make life more challenging, all tools of motivation are only effective 3-6 weeks even if the strategy is perfectly in-line with the person’s drive, wants, needs, schedule, and personal/professional demands (a lot of factors to consider…always).

So, how can YOU motivate yourself and maintain motivation and sanity while trying to achieve your neverending list of goals? First, understand yourself. Are you the ambitious, self-driven person that is self-employed or self-directed at home or in the office? You’re always focused on something, but you haven’t figured why another important goal is a priority. You don’t always need someone to tell you to show up; you just need her or him to tell you how to do efficiently and effectively.

Or are you more effective and efficient under the direction of someone else? You’d rather focus on what you need to do and allow other people to take on the burden of the big picture (no problem with specializing, though). While doing something effectively and efficiently is important, you need a leader to keep your sights on the target.

Either way, both personalities need to add value to a goal to justify its course. Do you truly value the goal? Why do you want to achieve this goal? Is it your choice to pursue this goal? Do you believe in this goal?

They must also recognize the potential obstacles: The perceived demands, real personal and professional demands, lack of education or guidance, etc.

Your personality and the potential obstacles will definitely steer whatever approach you integrate into life. Keep them in mind while you choose a strategy from the list below:

Tips from my Personal Training Clients

Create a Fitness Calendar

JK keeps a calendar of the current month on her fridge. If she exercises, she describes the activity on that day. If JK can’t workout, then she draws a big X in the box instead. Seeing multiple Xs within a given period is motivation to start moving again!

Set Rules

CK sets two hardline rules to keep herself from overworking. No matter the professional demand, she never touches work-related projects on Saturdays and cuts out all electronic work-related activities in the evening as well. As a self-employed producer, CK could work around-the-clock. These rules help her maintain sanity while allowing ample time for creative thought and other personal focuses.

Align Your Behaviors with Your Ideal Self

MJ routinely does a check-in with himself to see if his current habits are aligned with his ideal self. Common questions he may ask himself: Does this activity help me achieve my overall goals? Am I on the correct path to my goals? Are my habits conflicting with who I am or my most important goals? What new goals do I need to create to achieve or maintain my ideal self again?

Carry a Book

“Always carry a real book that either:

a) is part of research for a current project
b) is part of research for a future project
c) has nothing to do with anything, is just for fun and allowing the mind to make new connections

Instead of looking at your phone while waiting in line or being bored while your date is in the bathroom, look at this book. Even better, from my fave comic writer Keiron Gillen--he recommends to always be reading three books that fall into these different categories at once. Most important! Tablets do not count. These must be actual paper books--your mind doesn't think in the same ways connected to the internet, and you will also be tempted to just look at social media.” - DK

Maintain Close Relationships with Family and Friends

“I find that preventative measures are effective. By staying in touch and involved with family (throughout the country even) and friends, I keep a balanced life and outlook where it becomes more difficult for any one thing which comes up to cloud my perspective on what is truly important. As such, any one thing, which may want to unnecessarily steal time and energy from other goals, becomes much harder to have an affect on me.” - RA

Tips from a Personal Trainer

Create a Routine

Simplify to pursue. Eliminate your decision fatigue by creating a consistent routine on how you wake, how you eat, how you work, and how you prepare for bed. It will free up important mental energy to focus on your new goal.

Plaster Unconscious Cues

I always plaster post-it notes with my goals on a wall that I see every day…like the inside of my closet (we don’t need the world to see my goals!). Every time I grab my clothes I consciously and unconsciously see them, and the more I see them, the more likely I will live consciously and unconsciously in line with these goals. I’ve also posted a picture of an important written goal on the wallpaper of my phone to remind myself every time I open it. Although I won’t consciously take the time to read it every time, my mind will certainly recognize it as a reminder.

Photo Credit:–Will writing down your goals be enough to achieve them?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
7 Ways that Keep My Personal Training Clients Motivated
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"13 Weight Loss Resolutions You Shouldn't Make" Review

Are your New Year’s resolutions already setting you up for failure? Check out these rewrites to set you up for weight loss success (from the MSN article “13 Weight Loss Resolutions You Shouldn't Make.”).

"I want to lose 20 pounds"

"Dropping 20 pounds is a great long-term goal, but dieters tend to fall off track when they have such a lofty resolution," says Amidor.

Revised resolution: Lose 1 pound per week
"Instead of taking on such a big task, focus on losing one pound a week by setting small diet and exercise goals," suggests Amidor. "For example, resolve to pick skim dairy over whole and pledge to work out 30 minutes, three times a week. You'll be surprised how small tweaks can result in major change."

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Big, drastic changes can be overwhelming and tiring. Test the effect of small changes 1 lb at a time. Also, don’t forget that losing 1-2 lbs per week is most sustainable. Not fast enough? It isn’t your biological choice. Time for acceptance. With this trend, do you really have 52-104 lbs to lose anyway? Most likely not. Be patient and do this right.

"I'm going to stop eating at restaurants"

“Nixing a night out with friends for the sake of your diet is no way to live,” says Amidor. “You'll only wind up frustrated and will be more likely to fall off the wagon.”

Revised resolution: Order smarter at restaurants
"Before dining out, have 10 almonds or an apple so you don't arrive ravenous, and then start with a small salad," suggests Amidor. In a 2004 study published in the Journal of the American Diet Association, Penn State researchers found that women who started a lunch with a salad consumed up to 12% fewer calories than those who skipped the first course. "Choose a light appetizer as your entree and have the bread basket removed," says Amidor.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I don’t completely agree with this suggestion. I’ve seen many people build a first-course habit at all costs (this time a salad next time fried calamari). To minimize starvation, eat a small balanced meal (10 almonds AND an apple) 1-2 hours before dinner instead and stick to a mindful entrée at the restaurant.

"I'm going to weigh myself every morning"

"Daily weigh-ins are not an accurate gauge of progress," says Tanya Zuckerbrot, a registered dietitian based in New York City and founder of the F-Factor Diet. Water retention and hormones can mean as much as a two-pound swing in as little as a day. Plus, if your weight-loss plan involves strength training (and it should!), you may even gain weight from increased muscle weight while still losing fat and inches.

Revised resolution: Measure weight loss in inches, not pounds
“When you feel your pants getting looser as the weeks go by, you'll know you're slimming down,” says Zuckerbrot.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: While checking the scale may give you an overall indication of your weight loss trend, the minor day-to-day fluctuations may be caused by a number of the aforementioned factors. Don’t sacrifice your sanity and save the scale for a monthly check-in.

"I'm going to eat 900 calories a day until I lose the weight"

Sure, severely restricting your calorie intake will spur weight loss, but you'll gain it all back as soon as you start eating normally again (not to mention that starving yourself is dangerous). "This is often the attitude of yo-yo dieters, who go from a size four to a 12 and back again, seemingly overnight," says Amidor.

Revised resolution: Develop a healthy eating plan with an RD
If you're unsure how to lose weight the healthy way, consider making an appointment with a dietitian. "Many RDs now take insurance, so don't be afraid to ask if yours is accepted," says Amidor. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a registered dietitian referral service that allows you to search a database of practitioners across the nation.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Repeat this mantra: “You don’t need to create a deficit to lose weight, you don’t need to create a deficit to lose weight, ….” Your body is an effective and efficient machine that operates optimally when fueled and repaired properly. Most commonly, the average (sedentary) person only needs 1300-1700 calories per day. Trust your body. When you live in line with your set metabolism for a given point, your body will lose the weight for you.

"I'm going to cut calories by skipping breakfast"

Research shows that foregoing a morning meal will put you on the fast track to weight gain, not a loss. In a study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, for example, participants who skipped breakfast were hungrier and more likely to indulge in fattening foods later in the day.

Revised resolution: Eat a protein-packed breakfast every morning
“Eating a filling breakfast lessens the chances of bingeing on junk later in the day,” says Zuckerbrot. "Pair lean proteins with high fiber, complex carbs….to keep hunger at bay and ward off craving all day long."

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Eat a protein-packed ________ is soooooooo 2005. You’re better than this! My revised resolution: Eat a nutrient-packed breakfast of vitamins, fiber, fat, and protein every morning.

"I'm going to get more exercise"

"This resolution isn't specific enough to be successful," says Jim White, a personal trainer and registered dietitian in Virginia Beach, Va.

Revised resolution: Commit to a set number of weekly workouts
Fitness newbies should start with one weekly workout that combines cardio and weight training, like a body sculpting class or a session with a trainer. After three weeks, build up to two weekly workouts, and over time aim for five workouts a week. Progressing slowly wards off injury and excessive soreness that may prevent or deter you from sticking to your exercise program.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: The more general your approach the more general your results. Create a business plan for your fitness. What is your mission? What results do you expect? What do you need to do? What do you want to do? What progression is realistic for you?

"I'm going to the gym for two hours every day"

“Working out two hours a day is not only boring, but it can also cause injury in newbies who aren't used to being physically active,” warns White.

Revised resolution: Do efficient workouts
“Trade in long sweat sessions for high intensity, 30-minute interval workouts—you won't burn out as quickly and you'll actually torch more calories than doing long, drawn-out workouts," says White. Plus, researchers from the University of Western Australia found that interval training helps suppress post-workout appetite, further accelerating weight loss.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: In our society, we have latched on to the idea that everything should be scheduled for an hour. Have you ever wondered why? You might be surprised by what you achieve in half of the time (especially when you plan and move with intent).

Photo Credit:–Should adding this breakfast to your daily routine be part of your daily routine?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "13 Weight Loss Resolutions You Shouldn't Make" on
"13 Weight Loss Resolutions You Shouldn't Make" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

You Should Master These 6 Exercises Before the New Year (And Here's How)

The new year is almost upon you, and it's time to refine your foundational movements. Here are 6 exercises you need to perfect (and how) before you reinvent your routine on January 1st:

Personal Trainer Exercise: Squat Over Bench or Chair

Prompt: Feet straight and hip width, screw in the feet, draw in the belly button, hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine)
Progression (15-20 reps):
-Knees in line with hips
-Knees in line with hips while holding 5 lb dumbbells
-Knees in line with hips while holding 10 lb dumbbells
-Knees in line with hips...away from the seat
-Knees in line with hips...away from the seat while holding 5 lb dumbbells
-Knees in line with hips...away from the seat while holding 10 lb dumbbells

Personal Trainer Exercise: Walking Lunge

Prompt: Feet straight and hip width, draw in the belly button, plant the front foot, screw in the foot, slight hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine), feet together
Progression (15-20 reps):
-Drop 1 inch
-Drop 2 inches
-Drop 3 inches

Personal Trainer Exercise: Step Up

Prompt: Screw in one foot on the step (heel under the knee), draw in the belly button, slight hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine), bring opposite knee forward
Progression (15-20 reps):
-6-inch step
-9-inch step
-12-inch step
-15-inch step
-18-inch step

Personal Trainer Exercise: Stairclimber

Prompt: Draw in the belly button, slight hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine)
Progression (time):
-Increase your time by 30 seconds each week/1 minute higher level and then 1 minute lower level....alternate

Personal Trainer Exercise: Pulldown

Prompt: Feet straight with heels under knees, screw in the feet, shoulders above your hips, draw in the belly button, keep the bar straight across
Progression (15-20 reps):
-45 lbs
-52 lbs
-60 lbs

Personal Trainer Exercise: Dumbbell Curl (1 Arm at a Time)

Prompt: Feet straight and hip width, screw in the feet, draw in the belly button, hips under your shoulders, elbow tucked to your side
Progression (15-20 reps):
-8 lbs
-10 lbs
-12 lbs
-15 lbs

Photo Credit:–Are they properly performing a squat?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
You Should Master These 6 Exercises Before the New Year (And Here's How)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Don't Make These 10 Breakfast Mistakes" Review

My head often spins when I hear what my personal training clients are choosing for breakfast. There’s no doubt about it: Your weight loss is affected by every little choice you make after rolling out of bed. I’ve highlighted the biggest mistakes that you’re making from the MSN article "If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Don't Make These 10 Breakfast Mistakes.”


While toast or a bowl of granola is quick and easy, it's not offering you nearly as much protein as you need to have energy all morning long. You'll just feel blah and end up reaching for a sugary pick-me up. No need to go overboard and slurp down a 30-grams-of-protein shake - 13 to 20 grams is perfect.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Translation: You probably need more protein because there is a protein deficiency as a result of your cereal-donut-cinnamon roll ways. It isn’t permission to overload your diet on protein, though. 13-20 grams of protein is more than enough for the normal human (that’s you…and me!) despite what you hear. Skip the refined carbs (aka Cookie Crunch) and make an organic veggie skillet with onions, green peppers, jalapenos, cubed butternut squash, almonds, hemp seeds, and salsa. Add it to an organic corn tortilla for another twist.


Whether you're pouring a bowl of cereal with fruit, nuts, and coconut, crafting a jar of overnight oats, or whipping up a smoothie, just because you're using all healthy ingredients, doesn't mean it'll help you lose weight. It all boils down to portion sizes, and measuring ingredients (instead of eyeballing) to ensure you stay within your limit.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: If you’ve never measured what you’re eating, you’re most likely pretty far off from what you think. I’d think to think we can rely on our wonderful minds for everything but let’s be honest: It has skewed things in the past, and it might be skewing your breakfast perspective now (maybe your relationship too :) ). Determine the proper intake for you by measuring each of your favorite meals. If you plan to eat those dishes “on repeat” anyway, you might as well be certain you’re getting what you expect.


Sometimes a baked good for breakfast is a necessity, but if you load up on refined carbs and sugar (even if those blueberry muffins are made with flax meal!), you're going to end up feeling super hungry within a few hours after that last bite. If you crave these foods, go for small portions and pair it with a protein smoothie, or bake your own with protein powder, whole grains like rolled oats, and less sugar.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Normally I would overlook this type of paragraph and pretend it never existed. I know that you’ll see it anyway, though. What starts off with the right message—Too Many Refined Carbs (i.e., most cereals, donuts, sugary sweet goodness, etc.)—ends with unconscious permissions and another push for a protein focus. First, a baked good is never a necessity (don’t kid yourself). You can easily keep a jar of organic applesauce or fresh fruits around the house. Nothing in the house? I’m sure you can steer your vehicle towards a quick shop to find them too. If you choose a baked good, call it what it is-An indulgence. Accept the consequences, dance around in glory, and return to your nutritionally balanced habits with meal number two (which will be sooner than later-You haven't fulfilled your nutritional need, and your body will need proper fuel). Second, quit with the protein focus already…you think bigger than that. You need fiber, vitamins, protein, (good) fat, and the million other micro nutrients you can find in your whole foods. If you must indulge in just the small bite of donut, be certain that the rest of your plate is the proper mix of what’s best. A highly processed, nutritionally stripped powder won’t cut it either, Arnold Schwarzenegger.


With all the amazingly delicious options out there for breakfast, it's easy to go a little overboard. Aim for a range between 300 and 400 calories. If you're not into counting calories, Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition suggests to eat slowly, and stop eating when you are 80-percent full.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Most of us think we need more calories than we really do. On average, you only need 300-500 calories per meal (a far reach from the typical Midwestern diet). Anything above is mostly stored as fat (or converted into something else nasty…and nobody likes nasty). Since I don’t expect my personal training clients to count the calories of every meal, I think eating slowly and mindfully stopping when appropriate is a great recommendation from Langevin.


A frozen banana here, a scoop of peanut butter there, a big splash of vanilla soy milk - while smoothies are full of healthy ingredients, if you mindlessly throw things in the blender, you could end up sipping down 800 calories or more! The same goes for specialty coffee drinks. Make sure you look at the menu before ordering a 500-calorie Frappuccino.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Smoothies aren’t always as healthy as you think. Often sugar-packed smoothies are more dangerous than a Snickers bar. Even if you mindfully choose a slate of healthy ingredients, the caloric amount can exceed what you need. Stick to the 300-500 calorie rule for your liquid meals and be mindful of the sugar content.

Photo Credit:–Is this smoothie really helping your weight loss or health goals?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Don't Make These 10 Breakfast Mistakes" on (PopSugar).
"If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Don't Make These 10 Breakfast Mistakes" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"20 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Life” Review

We’re always looking for ways to improve our lives. I found 6 you should do right now (from the Livestrong article "20 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Life”).


“Pay attention to how you feel. Notice how your body reacts when you eat certain foods. Observe how you feel when you exercise, after you exercise and all the times in between,” says Tara Stiles, yoga instructor and host of “The Yoga Solution.” She notes, “When we pay attention, instead of rushing into impulse decisions, we eat better, exercise more and make choices that sustain a healthy and happy life.”

Personal Trainer Wisdom: “Awareness. Acceptance. Adaptation.” Three little words that couldn’t be any more important for change (and it applies to more than health and fitness). I constantly do a check-in with myself throughout the day. I usually ask myself the following questions:

-How do I generally feel?
-Do I feel any pain?
-Do I feel stressed? If so, how can I minimize it?
-Am I placing too much pressure on myself?
-Am I making myself a priority?

Take your answers to these questions and reshape your next moment.


“I do drink a lot of water but have always had diet soda as a part of my everyday life -- usually two Coke Zeros a day,” admits LIVESTRONG.COM Community member remylee34. “Last year I decided that this was not the best thing for me and worked on cutting soda from my daily routine. I discovered sparkling water, which gives me the ‘fizz’ that I love without all of the additives!” Examine your daily routines and figure out where you can cut down on your sugar intake. For instance, says remylee34, “I also stopped using flavored coffee creamers with 35 calories per tablespoon and a ton of sugar. (I cannot imagine how many calories I was consuming.) Over a few weeks I was able to wean myself down to just adding some milk to my coffee, and now that is all I use.”

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Besides the fact that sugar is one of the leading causes of weight gain and diabetes, they are empty calories that are taking the place of real nutrition. Nothing else needs to be said here. Save your sweet tooth for a fruit substitute if necessary.


“One of the biggest myths about fitness is that you need to spend hours at the gym. Short, intense workouts that are 15 minutes or less can be highly effective at stimulating muscle, increasing your metabolism and building strength,” says Jim Smith, CSCS and founder of Diesel Strength. Don’t know where to start? “Pick three compound exercises (for example, deadlifts, pull-ups and barbell military presses) and perform five to eight repetitions of each. Move quickly between exercises with minimal rest. Repeat this cycle for 15 minutes,” he says. “Trust me, it’ll feel longer than that.”

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Translation: Live with intent! Well, I may have overextended the intent of that last paragraph to a bigger life philosophy. Nevertheless, it should be a mantra that guides every activity. If you’re going to do it, do it well, effectively, and efficiently. Regarding fitness, intent couldn’t be more important. Carve out a plan for a session and make the most of every minute.


“My best advice is to take responsibility for what goes in your mouth: Document and log your nutrition and your calorie intake using the well-thought-out food tracker on LIVESTRONG. The scale is a very helpful tool. Weigh yourself every day first thing in the morning after taking care of business (relieving yourself),” says LIVESTRONG.COM Community member EJMM2, recommending that people document and analyze their weekly averages of losses and gains or pounds maintained. “With the right mindset, focus and dedication, anything is possible,” says EJMM2.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Whether you’re saving money or pursuing a weight loss goal, accountability is most important. Don’t take a guess at what is or is not working. Be honest with yourself and track your results. Take control and adapt when necessary (but be certain it isn’t a guess…make the change based on your findings).


“To manage tasks at home or the office, you can get a lot more done if you work in 30-minute intervals,” says Jim Smith. “Use a simple timer on your phone or computer to track the time you spend on a particular task. When you reach 30 minutes, stop and move on to the next thing. This approach forces you to be productive because you only have a very limited window to work on a task before moving on to the next one.” Although you may have to come back around to the same task a few times in a day, you’ll always be making progress.< br>
Personal Trainer Wisdom: I always write 30 minute workout programs for myself as well as my personal training clients. It makes the workout more approachable with less of a time commitment. This principle applies to most events or activities you schedule. Let’s be honest: You’re most likely to talk yourself out of something the longer it takes. Shorten the time, move with intent (efficiently and effectively) in that allotted period.


“Start each day with something positive -- read something that inspires you, listen to uplifting music or download a fitness podcast,” says Brad Pilon, author of “Eat Stop Eat.” He believes that the key is to consume something that empowers you toward your fitness and nutrition goals. “That way you’ll put your best foot forward and won’t be leaving your outlook to chance.”

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I challenge you to count the number of times you say or think something negative (complaints count) in the next five hours. I’m willing to bet that your negative thoughts outweigh the positive. It’s time to train your mind to be positive. Make it a habit. Otherwise, you’ll continue to lose to the negative banter in the various forms of media, coworkers in your office, and the television show “Housewives of Orange County” (I know you watch it ).

Photo Credit:–Will making every minute count improve your life?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "20 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Life" on
"20 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Life" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.