How to Keep Your Clients Happy and Working With You For Years!
By Jennifer Degala

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There are numerous reasons why it’s better to maintain long-term client relationships rather than have to keep starting from scratch. Repeat clients reduce your marketing costs, improve your reputation and keep things steady in your business. According to IDEA Health and Fitness Association, the top two reasons why your clients will stay with you long term is relationships and results.

Over my 20 year career as a fitness professional I have been blessed with some amazing client relationships, but sometimes the client results were not as expected because their nutrition habits were terrible. As a new trainer I was desperate to keep my clients happy, so I never felt comfortable talking about offering a nutrition plan with them because sometimes it can be a touchy subject.

I thought that if they left my studio with a sweaty t-shirt on their back, my job was done. Well, I was very wrong. Our personal training clients who have weight loss goals need a comprehensive lifestyle overhaul and solid nutrition plan. I’m not saying that we should take on the role of a registered dietician, but we need to have simple systems and nutrition plans for our clients that will help them accelerate their results and keep them coming back for training sessions for years to come.


I’ve started to implement a very simple system with my clients that has completely changed the way they approach their commitment to their health. It’s called a fitness and nutrition expectations agreement and I create one with each new client I work with. It’s so important to set expectations for the fitness and nutrition program up-front. That way, your clients will know what to expect with your program and more importantly, we can gauge their commitment level from day one.

After we set expectations for the client/trainer relationship, we set goals for the training program. I like to reverse engineer each clients goals, and help them to see that each little decision and step they take each day, will lead them closer to their goals.

Here is how I reverse engineered a new client’s goals:

Her goal was to lose 25 pounds before her family vacation in February. I pulled out the calendar and showed her that we have exactly 20 weeks until her vacation. We spoke a little more about her goals and I asked her a lot of questions about why she chose the number of 25 pounds and then I shut my mouth and LISTENED. After a few deep breaths, she told me that if she were to lose 25 pounds, she would be the exact weight before she had kids and that was when she felt the most confident and sexy for her husband.

I never would have discovered that her weight loss efforts were more about her self-esteem and her relationship with her husband if I would have keep talking. I listened to her, let HER talk and she ended up telling me the real reason WHY she wanted to lose weight. Ahhh … it was a wonderful moment. Number one because she trusted me enough to tell me and number two, we have a solid foundation to build a great relationship together.

Now back to reverse engineering her goals:

Goal: To lose 25 pounds so she can feel confident and sexy again.

Plan: 20 week training program with a focus on daily workouts and clean eating. I started her on a 5 day per week training program. She met with me three times and followed my at-home training program 2 days. I also had her start her clean eating strategy with my 4 day no-grains nutrition challenge. The nutrition challenge offers a flexible (family friendly) meal plan with plenty of options for everyone. It also incorporates a greens/protein/probiotic/digestive enzyme packet that they mix in a morning smoothie.


To maintain the 80/20 rule when it comes to daily workouts and nutrition. She may miss a few workouts and she may indulge in pizza with the kids, but she CAN’T let that throw her off emotionally. She does NOT need to be perfect, just focus on the 80/20 rule (80 percent clean meals and great workouts).


We are 4 weeks in to her program and her results are very good. She really grasped the idea of eating clean 80 percent of the time. She knows that her results would be faster if she eliminated sweets and wine (we actually had occasional consumption of cookies and chardonnay in her expectations agreement) but I’m happy that she is at least paying attention to it now. She has lost 12 pounds in 4 weeks and she said the “game changer” was committing 100% to my 4 Day No Grains Nutrition Challenge. She said it taught her how to eat healthy food, that is low in carbs and delicious. It was easy for her to commit for 4 days, and now she is hooked on a daily morning smoothie with Shakeology and grain free meals.