Enhancing Exercise Adherence: Insights for Personal Trainers

As a personal trainer, one of your biggest challenges is ensuring clients stick to their exercise programme, especially those with chronic diseases or older adults. The findings from Collado-Mateo et al.’s (2021) comprehensive study offer valuable insights into improving exercise adherence. Here are the key takeaways:

The PTs Exercise Adherence Checklist

Individualisation is Key to exercise adherence

Tailoring exercise programmes to the individual’s needs, abilities, and preferences is crucial. Understanding your client’s physical and mental health status, as well as their lifestyle habits, helps in creating a program that they are more likely to follow.

Educate and Set Realistic Expectations:

Informing clients about the benefits and potential risks of the exercise program is essential. Help them set realistic goals and expectations to maintain their motivation and commitment.

Multidisciplinary Approach:

Involving professionals from various fields like psychology, nutrition, and physiotherapy can provide a more comprehensive support system, enhancing the client’s adherence to the program.

Supervision and Support:

Regular supervision and feedback during exercise sessions can greatly improve adherence. It ensures correct exercise execution, reduces risk, and provides psychological support.

Incorporate Enjoyable Activities:

Making exercise enjoyable and free from unpleasant experiences is critical. Find out what activities your clients enjoy and integrate them into their routine.

Integrate Exercise into Daily Life:

Help clients find ways to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines. This could mean suggesting home-based exercises or activities that align with their interests and schedules.

Leverage Technology Wisely:

While technology can be a great tool for monitoring progress and providing feedback, it’s important to use it judiciously, considering the client’s comfort and familiarity with technological devices.

Social Support:

Encourage clients to seek support from family, friends, and peer groups. A strong support system can significantly boost their commitment to exercise.

Regular Re-evaluation and Flexibility:

Regularly assess the effectiveness of the exercise program and be ready to make adjustments. This keeps the program relevant and aligned with the client’s evolving needs.

By incorporating these strategies, you can significantly improve your clients’ adherence to their exercise routines, leading to better health outcomes and a more rewarding training experience for both you and your clients.

Learn more

Check out this podcast episode on motivation. It discusses how trainers can use some of the above tips to keep clients coming back!


Collado-Mateo, D., Lavín-Pérez, A. M., Peñacoba, C., Del Coso, J., Román, M., Luque‐Casado, A., Gasque, P., Fernández-Del-Olmo, M., & Amado-Alonso, D. (2021). Key Factors Associated with Adherence to Physical Exercise in Patients with Chronic Diseases and Older Adults: An Umbrella Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health18(4), 2023. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042023.

Want to work with special population clients?

Would you like to tailor fitness programmes to support those with chronic physical conditions or illnesses? Then, enrol on our Level 3 Exercise referral qualification. This course is also REPs, and CIMPSA approved, enabling you to gain employment or self-employment as an exercise referral instructor anywhere in the UK. Alternatively, combine this course with our level 3 Bulletproof Business Course and build your fitness business with a successful exercise referral scheme.

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