As a personal trainer you typically see your clients between one and four times a week, depending on the plan you’ve designed for them, or time and cost considerations. And that’s fine. You can get a lot done in that time and your clients can make a lot of progress.

But there’s so much more time in a week that you could be taking advantage of, whether you see a client or not.

Let’s do some easy maths. Assume your client’s getting 8 hours of sleep a night and they’re spending 16 hours a day awake. A lot of that time will be taken up by work, or family, or food, but whatever, that’s fine – easy maths, remember?

16 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s 122 hours. If you see a client 1 to 4 hours a week, then that’s only 0.82% – 3.28% of their waking hours.

That’s a lot of time for your clients to go without your help. Over 95%.

Take advantage of this time apart – it’ll make a huge difference to your clients’ results, and ultimately benefit your working relationship and business with them. Add value, even when you’re not meeting face to face. Here’s why you should be filling the void:

1. Your clients get better results

With so much time away from your watchful eye, clients can stray. Healthy breakfasts are hard work early in the morning. Skipping lunch is easy when you’ve got a busy day. And takeaways are deliciously convenient after a stressful week. While we’d like to think that they’re remembering all the pointers and tips you gave them in your training session earlier in the week, chances are they’ll lapse one way or another, whether that’s a sneaky treat outside of their meal plan, or skipping a gym day because ergh tired.

Consistency is key. You don’t need to see a client every day, but they should be actively working towards their goal every day. One great way to keep your clients on track is to set them homework. Go beyond just giving them broad advice at the end of your session and add real value by assigning detailed homework that can be tracked and monitored using personal trainer software before you next see them.

Nutrition is just as easy to neglect. Meal plans should be part of a package you offer you clients and you should know what they’re eating. Providing even a minimal amount of guidance on nutrition will go a long way for your clients’ progress and overall health. But don’t restrict yourself to giving this advice in person – you’ll be a lot more effective if you’re checking in on your clients during when you’re not seeing them face to face.

2. You build better relationships

There’s more to being a personal trainer than knowing what workouts achieve the best results and what foods to eat and avoid. Supporting your clients is just as important as making them sweat. It’s always nice to know something’s thinking about you when you’re not together. Clients are people too – be a buddy, check in on them every now and then and see how they’re doing. You don’t need to be their best friend, this is after all a professional relationship, but just a little something to keep them motivated.

Many clients will be happy to pay for your time and may not expect anything more in return. They won’t tell you they need extra support during the week when they’re not working out with you. They may even be nervous about asking questions if they haven’t explicitly paid for an hour of your time. But you’re a nice person – put them at ease and let them know you’re there to help.

Send them a text message between sessions reminding them to take the stairs today instead of the elevator. It’ll take you less than 60 seconds and will make everyone involved feel good. And happy clients keep want to spend more time, and money, with you.

Remember, you know more about health and fitness than your clients. That’s why they’re paying you. Lead by example – try sending your clients a photo of your deliciously healthy lunch. It’ll help keep them motivated in the kitchen and let them know that you living the life you’re preaching.

3. Your business looks more professional

You’re a personal trainer. Clients are paying you to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. They trust you.

There’s a lot of health, fitness, and nutrition information on the internet, but it’s not always accurate or appropriate for your client. Forums are packed with anecdotal evidence, science is complicated [link to complicated science], and WebMD is scarily inaccurate.

If you’re anything like us you probably read upwards of 100 articles a week. Not all of them will be worthwhile. Fortunately, thanks to your knowledge and experience as a personal trainer you’ve built up a tolerance to nonsense. Do your clients a favour and point them to some articles worth reading. Reach out to them personally if you’ve seen a blog post or video which might help them out, or sign them up to a newsletter for a weekly roundup of useful resources. They might even tell their friends to sign up for your newsletter, bringing solid leads directly to you.

If you’re providing your clients with topical, accurate information, they’ll come to rely on you for their fitness education. Share the knowledge. While it may seem like you’re giving away your secrets, your clients will value your help, and your business will benefit.