Two men shadow

The winter months can be a difficult time for clients and trainers alike, as the motivational techniques used throughout the year can seem less effective. Whether it’s the grey skies, full schedules or the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), humans tend to respond to environmental changes with reduced passion, energy, and discipline. While these may be reflected in the work and personal lives of clients, personal trainers have a front row seat to the visible changes that occur at this time of year. If you can anticipate and prepare for these changes, this is an opportunity to shift the focus of exercise routines and be credited with having a positive impact on your client.

Solid foundation

Understanding the fact that the basic principles of sport psychology are rooted in the human mind helps personal trainers anticipate shifts in motivation and prepare for the next phase of the client’s progress. The dreaded ‘plateau’ can be thought of as an asymptotic point of diminishing returns, but it can also be viewed as an ideal opportunity to optimize an exercise routine.

Don’t be fooled

Humans are creatures of habit, and with routine comes the desensitizing effect of regular workouts. The monotone approach to exercise embraced by many brings with it safety and discipline, but it can also trigger the law of diminishing returns.

Is it all in the mind?

No, but it is mostly in the brain. The difference is that everyone is impacted by the chemistry lab that exists in our own skulls, from circadian rhythms to digestive cycles. A fine balance is difficult to strike and complicated further still by the changing environment around us. It takes practice and understanding to cope with the stresses of human existence, but seeing these challenges as opportunities to derive a better workout will in turn see a productive exercise regimen deliver benefits in the lives of your clients.

Being a personal trainer implies a high degree of trust, but also comes with the valuable rewards of being credited with impacting the lives of individuals at every level. Learning to challenge clients through adversity means demonstrating goal setting and achievement; this is a skill that will immediately be applied by your clients in every facet of their lives. Complementing a stressful life with an intense workout is a technique that drives the most productive people to stay motivated and become successful in every season. So coach your clients to stay ahead of the weather and reap the benefits of being a trusted advisor.


Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS, enjoys strength training and fitness conditioning, specializes in older adult fitness, appreciates working with exceptional clients and collaborating with outstanding professionals. Claudiu is the founder of Workout Smart and can be reached in confidence at Be sure to follow him at and on