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Strategies to Increase Client Retention in Personal Training

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sports
Wordcount: 4336 words Published: 7th Sep 2017

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Devise and support a plan to increase long-term client retention and reduce turnover in a personal training context.


Physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of non-communicable diseases such as Conroy heart diseases, diabetes, and specific types of cancer (World Health Organisation (2010). Withthe development of advance technology, transportation, and household tasks that involves less exertion; this figure is expected to increase (World Health Organisation (2010).With and  an large amount of growing evidence suggesting a positive association between physical activity and physical well-being, less depression, increased cognitive function and slowing down in advancement of Alzheumeir’s disease( Rolland et al, 2008).Physical activity is used to define “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure (Caspersen, et al 1985)which involves walking, jogging, and rock climbing for example. With physical activity being a vital determinant of energy balance, and is therefore important to weight-weight and obesity. Regular physical activity is associated with both enhanced social and economic capital (Cadilhac, et al 2011).With Society being faced by the rising health care and economic costs in part as a result of physical inactivity, individuals, business government have a mutual interest in the promotion of physical activity.

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The Majority of adults are aware of the benefits of engaging in regular exercise, with 70% of adults proposing that they would like to do more physical activity(Craig, et al 2009). Regardless of knowing the advantages associated with engaging in regular physical activity, most individuals do not take sufficient exercise to accrue the physical and psychological benefits of exercise. For example, the Health Survey for England (2008) pointed out that only 39% of men and 29% of aged 16 and over met the government’s recommendations for physical activity, based the data.  In children aged 2 to 15 years, 32% per cent of boys and 24% of girls were classified as meeting the government recommendations. Most individuals in 2013 (90%) did not know the existing guidelines for the physical activity in the UK. Certainly awareness and knowledge about the benefits of physical are arguably not enough to influence changes in physical activity behaviour. An example being, an evaluation of the government’s “Change for life” campaign suggests an increased awareness, but little change in attitude and behaviour (Croker, et al 2012).

Wide arrays of cognitive and psychological variables have been examined as potential links of physical activity adherence (Trost et al, 2002). Between these variables, previous studies have shown that the following are most consistently associated with greater physical activity levels such as fewer perceived barriers, greater enjoyment of physical activity, greater expected benefits, better psychological health, and greater self-efficacy for physical activity, greater self-motivation for physical activity, greater readiness to change and better perceived health for fitness (Sallis & Owen 1999)

Self-efficacy for physical activity, is described as an individual’s confidence in their ability to be physically active on a regular basis, has been one of the strongest and most consistent cognitive correlates of activity level (Rhodes et al, 1999). Both adoption and maintenance is related to self-efficacy in physical activity(Sallis et al, 2007). It has been correlated with physical activity in a variety of settings, which includeslarge population based community samples, exercise groups healthy individuals, and solid exercise programs (Trost et al, 2002). Previous longitudinal studies on Self-efficacy have been shown to predict future physical activity levels (Sallis & Owen 1999).In addition, self-efficacy may be improved through training and Morey feedback and therefore could be particularly a vital target for interventions. Perceived barriers also have relate strongly within physical activity. Lack of time is the most common reported barrier within psychical activity among UK samples (Dishman, 1994). Other common barriers include lack of facilities, bad weather, safety, lack of exercise partner fatigue or lack of energy, poor health, and being self-conscious about appearance (Trost et al, 2002).Perceived barriers may include subjective and objective components. Objective barriers such lack of exercise facilities may be modified by policy interventions and subjective barriers may be altered through cognitive interventions that disprove beliefs that hamper activity. Therefore the aim of this study is to encourage behaviour change and to increase participation in exercise in client retention. This will be achieved using the trans-theoretical model and to propose strategies to increase long-term client retention and reduce turnover in a personal training.


The Trans-theoretical model has been defined as an integrative and comprehensive model of behaviour change that has drawn from all the important theories of psychotherapy (Prochaska & Norcass, 1999).The TTM is made up of five stagesprecontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.


This Figure shows each stage of the changes of stage Model (Prochaska, 1992)


Stage 1: Precontemplation stage

Precontemplation is the stage in which an individual has no intention of adopting a physical activity program. Majority of the Bedford who are sedentary may not understand the value of introducing physical activity into their daily routine. When working with them at this stage, encourage them to consider thinking about change and the several benefits. This is a time to educate the individual about the health risks of inactivity and the value of being physically active. With a fitness professional, it is important for them to validate that fact that the Bedford citizens are not ready to make a change; however they should offer encouragement and information about the benefits of making positive changes to their lifestyle.

Stage 2: Contemplation stage

Contemplation is the stage where the individual who is currently not active but who have the intention of adopting a physical activity program. An individual in this stage is still sedentary, but has started to think about how a sedentary lifestyle is negatively affecting their health. This individual is not ready to make a change, but is starting to think about physical activity as an option. It is important f as the fitness professional to encourage the client to weigh the pros and cons of a healthy behavioural change, so they can start to understand the benefits and participate in physical activity and make other positive lifestyle modifications.

Stage 3: Preparation stage

The preparation stage is the stage where the clients are both mentally and physically preparing to adopt a physical activity program (Marcus & Owen 1992). The individual is no longer sedentary. They now have begun to partake in some from physical activity (e.g. walking, going to the gym, however, there is no consistency or commitment in this stage (Prochaska & et al, 1994). It’s important for the fitness professionals to work with the client to create a plan for adopting healthy lifestyle changes and overcoming challenges. This plan may include how to fit physical activity into a busywork schedule, also making healthy food choices when eating out and identifying and creating a social support system. This stage is about creating plans adopt healthy behaviour changes that specific to the client.

Stage 4: Action stage

The action stage is where an individual has been engaging in regular activity for less than six months. This individual begins to carry out the plan created during the preparation stage. It is important for the fitness professional to offer continuous support and encouragement while helping the individual focus on the long-term advantages if making positive behaviour changes. This is stage goal setting particularly useful. It is also important to teach the client how to anticipate and overcome obstacles that could deter their motivation adherence.

Stage 5: Maintenance stage

The maintenance stage is where the citizens have been engaged in regular physical-activity program for over six months (Prochaska et al (1992).This client has progressed from the action stage into the maintenance stage, where they maintaining new healthy behaviour changes. It is important for the fitness professional to offer continued inspiration to the citizens so they can maintain the changed behaviour, and to identify those things that might cause a setback. The fitness professionals should take time to work with individual to identify things that could tempt or undermine the positive changes the individual decided on. Furthermore, helping the client to strategize how to prevent these recently identified causes for a setback. The goal of the fitness professional is to provide the citizens with the tools necessary for maintaining positive behaviour changes.

Therefore, keeping in mind that citizens may hesitate back and forth between stages Prochaska et al (1992).The shift back and forth may be caused by internal such as changes in self-efficacy and external such as commitment to family, work factors.


Self-efficacy is defined as “the strength of a person’s conviction that they successfully execute those courses of behaviours necessary to bring about specific outcome” (Bandura, 1979).

According to(Bandura, 1989) self-efficacy affects thoughts patterns that can aid or hinder the individual. An individual with high-self efficacy within physical activity will feel better that they have the ability to be successful in exercise related activates. For example, Fitness professionals will help their clients be more successful if they can guide clients to higher levels of self-efficacy.

Essentially, this theory is specific to individual tasks and situations, rather than general situations (Rhodes et al, 1999).The transferability of self-efficacy from one area to another depending comparable two domains is. (Maddux, 1995). For example, if a client has high self-efficacy in the area of sport, it is likely that they will high-efficacy within a similar domain, such as exercise, However, there clearly be less transfer of efficacy to domain that is less similar , such speaking to large group of people. The issue of the transferability is one that fitness professionals should consider when aiming to improve a client’s sell-efficacy.

Referring back to (Bandura, 2000),self-efficacy influences activity choices, effort of intensity   at a task, and persistence when facing obstacles. For example, is the client has low self-efficacy within exercise, they are more likely to avoid exercise. If they do exercise, they be more likely to pic forms of exercise that do not seem challenging, also when obstacles do occur, the client will lower self-efficacy will give up before the client with higher self-efficacy, moreover a client with high efficacy will put more effort into an exercise and be more determined when obstacles occur Bandura, 1990).This difference between clients who have low self-efficacy within exercise and high self-efficacy within exercise is an important distinction personal trainers should contemplate constructing exercise programs and coaching clients.


Self-efficacy has been established to have a strong correlation with intense [physical activity. In a survey of 2,053 randomly tested Adults, self-efficacy was found to be the strongest relation to vigorous exercise   (Sallis et al, 1989).Poag & McAuley, (1992)found that at any exercise intensity, individuals with higher self-efficacy had a lower perceived exertion during exercise in their study that included 67 adult women, exercise efficacy accounted for 11.1% of variance in women’s perceived exertion.  This research has direct consequences for health and fitness professionals trying to promote physical fitness and exercise adherence because effort and persistence are two relevant factors in devising a successful exercise program.


Remarkably, self-efficacy and exercise have a mutual relationship. Even though self-efficacy is a determinant of exercise behaviour, exercise is also a source of self-efficacy (McAuley, 1991). This creates situations because people who need the most encouragement to exercise work out the least, due to low efficacy. However, one of the best ways to increase self-efficacy is through exercise, this will also allow clients to maintain long-term exercise program. For example, in a study conducted by (Mihalko & McAuley, 1996)94 middle aged participants who previously did not exercise completed a 20-week aerobic exercise program.  Feelings of self-efficacy during a graded exercise test significantly increased pre-program and post program.

Self-efficacy and also be improved during the exercise session.  Moderate exercise can increase self-efficacy in clients when evaluated after a gym session (Treasure & Newbery, 1998). A study conducted by (Rudolph and Butki, 1998) found that as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise could increase moods of self-efficacy. This has implications for fitness professionals who may deal with a hesitant new client during their first apportionment. If the fitness professional can a get a client to begin exercises that they are comfortable with, this will lead to increases self-efficacy and more willingness to try more challenging exercises later in that session or future sessions.


Fitness professionals and fitness clubs can use several psychological techniques to aid in the development of high self-efficacy with their clients. Because self-efficacy is impacted by mastery experience, vicarious experience, social persuasion, and physiological state, it is logical to develop individual and group strategies aimed at increasing self-efficacy through each of these factors.


Verbal and social persuasion from respected individuals or from positive self-talk is the third source of self-efficacy (McAuley et al, 1994). As proven through in the studies of Weinberg et al, (1994).Verbal persuasioncan is a powerful way to influence self-efficacy. Exercise professionals should actively look for health promoting behaviours that beginners in exercise are performing and then verbally recognise that behaviour. Personal trainers can also provide behavioural contract that exercise can sign. For example, an individual may sign a contract that they will exercise for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week. Finally, self-talk has recently been shown to increase self-efficacy, decrease anxiety, and increase performance during completion of an athletic skill (Mcauley et al, 1994). Personal trainers can educate their clients on positive self-talk routines to help improve exercise performance. Teaching clients use of affirmation statements such as “I can do this and” I’ve done this before” and “I can do it again” can help the client stay focused on a positive result of their routine.


Vicarious experience is the second source of self-efficacy, can be targeted through important strategies such ad modelling and imagery (McAuley, et al 1991).Using the idea of modelling, a person trainer could share success stories of people similar to their clients have successfully adopted an active lifestyle.  This would help encourage my clients to implant the idea of “I can do it too” their minds.  Beginning exercises can analyse the habits of successful exercisers to understand how they reach that level.  Personal trainers, whether recognising it or not, regularly use modelling to increase efficacy within clients. For example, a trainer may use a number of modelling techniques to teach an exercise.  When, discussing an exercise, a trainer may point out another exerciser that is performing the exercise properly, then, the personal trainer demonstrates the exercise (vicarious experience) , finally, the trainer may have the client perform the exercise   properly in front of a mirror (mastery experience. If the fitness professional finds that the client has family members or a friend who have adopted exercise into the daily routine, this may good model to use to access vicarious experience. It should be noted that the more similar the client is to model, the greater impact that this model should have on the clients Fitzsimmons et al, (1991).


The mastery experience stage is the most powerful source of self-efficacy, it is very important to focus on developing the mastery experiences within a client’s exercise program. Using past personal successes, goal setting, appropriate exercise program design, and exercise logs are sources of mastery experiences that can increase self-efficacy. Past mastery experiences within domains should be emphasized when increasing a client’s self-efficacy for exercise.   Having the mentally of “I’ve done it once, I can do it again” is powerful thought process that should be used. If the person has not experienced many mastery experiences in an exercise-related environment, it is essential use to effective goal setting during the beginning of their exercise program to create mastery experiences. Proper goal setting is widely recognised as a powerful source of improved task, which is critical the first phase of an exercise program (Gould, 2001).Developing realistic short-term goals lead to early exercise success can have effect on increase exercise efficacy throughout the mastery experience stage Fitzsimmons et al, (1991)


Educating clients about what is going on inside their bodies and the physical sensations to expect during exercise can help them decrease anxiety that they may be feeling about the gym session. Once the clients understand that the feelings as muscular fatigue, as well as reaching and maintaining a high heart rate, are involved in exercise, they more likely to cope with physiological states more effectively.  If a client doesn’t point out that they are highly anxious while thinking of exercise, a personal trainer can teach them to use relaxation methods such as deep breathing and positive self-talk to ease anxiety (Gould & Udry 1994).


Self-efficacy is an important factor within exercise behaviour for gym members. It can help beginners keep going in the face adversity. Furthermore, it can help the middle aged push to another level of fitness. Also help advanced gym members overcome dramatic relapses such as injuries. Due to the fact self-efficacy are both a predictor and an outcome of exercise, personal trainers and strength and conditioning coaches should understand the role that self-efficacy plays in behaviour and decision making. In addition, they should implement several research based strategies as discussed in this study. Finally, in effort to get the most effect from way to increase self-efficacy in gym clients, fitness professional’s main focus in this regards should be creating mastery experiences that will create the foundation for positive exercise behaviour with their clients which also increase long-term client retention and reduce turnover.


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