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A Connection Between Working Out and Joy


It is that time of year once again. Members are flooding through your doors with their New Year’s resolutions to get in shape on the top of their minds. Each year starts off with good intentions, yet for some reason, the majority of gym goers will fail to stick with their resolutions.

“Most people have a sense of heaviness, duty and responsibility when it comes to resolutions, but not a sense on enjoyment, desire and wanting,” said Jonathan Ross, ACE senior consultant on personal training. “We essentially make them feel like chores so that we have this sense of obligation, and if we are doing them everyday like eating healthy and exercising, you wind up forcing yourself to do it through willpower all day long. That is not a sustainable way to go about doing it.”

The goods news is health club owners and operators can help members achieve their resolutions. While working with his personal training clients, Ross noticed many of them expressed this sense of obligation when referring to healthy habits. “I would constantly hear these complaints that they should workout more or try different classes,” he explained. “They knew they needed to do it, but they really don’t want to.”

To help tackle this issue, Ross came up with a new rule for each of his clients: You have to enjoy everything that you eat and everything that you do, specifically in terms of exercise. “I believe that if you find the right type of physical activity or exercise, it will be something you enjoy,” added Ross. “If we are forcing ourselves to do things we don’t enjoy, then it is not going to be a good experience. We are always going to feel like we have to do it. So this rule to only do things that you enjoy has been helpful with my clients.”

As a personal trainer, your client’s success will be based on their behavior change. Ross explained the majority of progress will be made when the client is not at the gym. “The real change happens through the small choices people make every day,” said Ross. “For trainers, it is great when a client comes two or three times a week, but how are their other behaviors, their sleep patterns, eating habits? It is important to examine those things because the results of a fitness program are often dictated by the total sum of all health behaviors, rather than just the effort put forth in a fitness program. For any fitness professional it is important to examine all health related behaviors, not just the ones directly related to exercise.”

So how can you help members’ craft resolutions they will stick with and achieve? According to Ross the key is to make them attainable and exciting. “Pick resolutions that are large enough that you will be motivated to do it, but small enough that you have absolute confidence that you will be able to do it,” explained Ross. “You want your client sounding confident in their goal. And adjust the size of the task based on their confidence. Pick a goal that will not overwhelm them, [that] it is something they can accomplish.”


Emily Harbourne

Emily Harbourne is the assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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