Periodized Personal Training

How do we not only gain new online training clients, but also keep them as paying clients long-term?

It is very common in this industry that someone might purchase one or two months of training, then not get the results they hoped for, or just lose motivation and fall off the bandwagon. It’s much like the idea of people buying a bunch of fitness equipment for their home gym with every intention of using it, and then within weeks the equipment makes for coat racks.

We all have clients like that in our in-person personal training businesses, right? The person who comes to you because they have both a home gym and a gym membership that they don’t use because they are not motivated. Then, they come to see you for personal training and still have no motivation to use the home gym or membership on their own.

Online personal training clients have to be more motivated because they don’t have the opportunity to train with you in person, however, our job is to find the way to motivate each client individually.


The real question is not how we motivate clients short-term, it’s how do we keep clients motivated long-term?

We want clients to continue training with us long-term, because obviously it means more money in our pockets and the longer they stick to training, the more successful they will be.

One thing I have found that works to keep clients motivated for longer than a few months, is to create long term periodized programs for them.

These programs should be performance-based so that clients are not only focused on weight loss, muscle gain, or any other aesthetic goal. Taking a client’s mind off of the aesthetic goal and focusing more on their strength or performance in specific exercises should keep motivation levels high, and keep them wanting to push harder in the gym.


Here’s the kicker!


Don’t send them all the programs at the beginning, but make them pay for them up front (or agree to a payment plan). Discuss with them that you have created a program for them based on both their short-term and long-term goals. Provide them with their first program, schedule it in their calendar, and tell them they will be doing this program for (length of your program–i.e. 5 or 6 weeks). The client knows they are going to get a progress check half-way through their program, and then again at the end, prior to receiving the next phase of their program. This will put more money in your pocket and keep clients coming back, because they are seeing a bigger picture, not just a month-to-month program with no end goal.


Periodized programs are really easy to create in the Trainerize workout builder.

The great thing is that once you have created one template, you can easily copy this program to multiple clients easily to save you some time. No, I am not saying you should give all clients the same program. What I mean is you can use your template and then change up exercises, reps, sets etc. For each individual client without having to re-build the whole template each time. Sometimes typing out the instructions on how to perform workouts are what takes the most time, by copying from client to client you only have to edit these things instead of re-type each time.

I hope this helps you not only bring new clients into your online training business, but also helps you keep them on board for more time to make you more money!


By Michelle Roots

Michelle is the resident fitness expert for Trainerize. She has 8 years’ experience in the fitness industry training clients through her own business including: professional and elite level athletes, celebrities, online clients, and average people with fitness and fat loss goals, to name a few. She holds a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) and a certified level 1 Nutrition Coach. Michelle wakes up happy every day because she is able to do what she loves for a living.

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