You Don’t Need to Write Fun Workouts

This is the third blog in what is now an official series – woohoo! Here are links to the first two:

You Don’t Need a Barbell

You Don’t Need High-Intensity Exercise

A quick reminder of the two important lenses that you should view these posts through:

  1. The audience is not athletes, but rather the overwhelming population (99%?!) served by microgyms
  2. I am intentionally getting you to ponder some (very likely) deep rooted beliefs

I know what you’re thinking already – “Fun workouts are why my clients join and stick around! If the workouts are boring, my clients will leave.”

Nope. That’s simply not the case. Try as you might in believing that ‘fun workouts’ are what they’re asking for (or need), but that’s not true either.

Let’s unpack that one a bit, that you believe your clients are asking for fun workouts. I’m going to ask you to invest a bit of time in an activity right now. So take out a pen, highlighter, and a blank sheet of paper.

Step 1: Write down each person, specifically, who has made that request

Step 2: Locate their client file and look back at your most recent check-in, or consultation, that you did with each individual. You are doing these routinely, right? If they haven’t been around long enough for their first check-in yet, go back to their no-sweat intro, or initial consultation. Got it? Ok…

Step 3: Find and highlight every time you wrote down ‘Sally is looking for fun workouts,’ or some variation that ends with ‘fun workouts.’ Take your time, I’ll wait.

Step 4: Highlight every time you wrote down something similar to one of the following:

  • Sally is looking for something she can stick with consistently
  • Stacey is looking to lose X pounds of weight/fat
  • Sammy is looking to add X pounds of muscle
  • Jimmy just wants to feel better so he can play with his children pain-free
  • Jake just wants to get stronger so he can be resilient into old age

Do steps 3 & 4 with each client you wrote down in Step 1. Now be honest – which list is longer? I’m gonna take a stab and guess that it’s overwhelmingly the second list. In off chance that my guess is wrong and you’re the one unicorn who has a slew of people looking for ‘fun workouts’, how deep did you dig once they mentioned that?

Did you ask:

  • ‘What do you mean by fun workouts?’
  • ‘Can you give me an example of 2 or 3 workouts that are fun?’
  • ‘Can you give me an example of 2 or 3 workouts that are not fun?’
  • ‘I noticed that you included [insert movement from not-fun-workout list] as part of the not-fun list. Is that because of the movement, or if combined with something else, could you see it as being fun?’
  • ‘What will fun workouts do for you?’
  • ‘Have you ever stuck with something that had fun workouts?’
  • ‘Do you think your mind will change with what you deem to be fun?’
  • ‘Can you tell if a workout is going to fun or not just by reading it, or do you make that determination only after you’ve done it?’
  • ‘What will you do if you have 2 or 3 not-fun workouts in a row?’
  • ‘Do you think fun workouts are crucial to your success?’
  • ‘Beyond fun workouts, are there any other goals you have? Or things that you are hoping we can provide?’
  • ‘What if, in 6 months, you haven’t lost any weight but you’ve tracked and marked all your workouts as fun – will that be ok with you? Do you see yourself continuing to stick with a program like that? Why or why not?’

You see, when you ask enough good questions to get to the client’s true reason for coming to your gym, you discover it’s not about fun. Still don’t believe me? Think about it the opposite way: You know what’s not fun? It’s not fun to see no progress.

As fitness professionals, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘fun workout’ trap. After all, this is our passion and that definitely fuels us to a certain degree. But your clients are not fitness professionals. They will workout consistently (which is ultimately what matters most!) because it serves to provide an opportunity for continual, meaningful progress – as a means to an end. Put another way: you need to write workouts that align with their deepest intentions. That’s what the best coaches do. Anything less is a disservice to your client and to the profession.

Finally, the language and story that you create for your client is incredibly important. When you try to sell their success on the backbone of the fun workouts you write, you are also telling their subconscious a story. You are telling them that the reason they failed to stick to something in the past, or make consistent progress, is because it wasn’t fun…or fun enough. And we all know that’s not true. They failed because they didn’t have a relationship with a professional coach who wrote them what was best for the individual in front of them.

The fun isn’t in the workouts you write.

It’s in the progress.

Progress is found when there is alignment between their individual design and desired destination.

That means there is an understanding and buy-in from the client about how the workout you wrote is the best option to move them from where they are today to where they want to go, one step at a time.

That is your job: Write the best design for one person at a time. Repeat for each client.

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