It’s that time of year again! A time to rest, rejuvenate, open presents, overindulge, skip workouts… Hmmm, okay. It can be easy to slip out of existing routines and succumb to the many temptations of the holiday season, and while that’s fine in small amounts, there are ways you can help your clients to maintain consistency and stay on track.

We’ve put together 5 potential challenges your clients may face PLUS suggestions you can make to help them overcome anything getting in the way of their success. Let’s get stuck in!

Challenge #1: Disrupted routines and time constraints 📅 💃⌚

This is a big one. There is so much going on at the end of the year sometimes December can feel like a giant blur of social obligations with a Mariah Carey backing track. The daily grind of work, school, family chores, etc. can sometimes be exhausting – but it’s still a consistent routine which means it’s usually easy enough to pencil in workouts and stick to them.

Once the calendar starts filling up with parties, school performances, last-minute gift shopping, tying up work projects, and starting vacation time, the usual routines and habits can start to take a back seat as we go into holiday survival mode. 

TrueCoach tips and tricks:

  • You could incorporate quick, high-intensity interval training sessions that can be completed in a shorter amount of time.
  • Provide online training options so that clients could fit workouts in without taking up time in their busy day with commuting.
  • Suggest that clients incorporate exercise into their festive activities. Maybe they could include a family walk after a big dinner, or a vigorous game of Twister or capture the flag.
  • Schedule regular check-ins with each client to maintain some accountability.


By offering a recurring payment (subscription model) option you may give your clients that extra incentive to do their workouts (seeing as they are paying for it regardless). This is also a nice little bonus for your bottom line because you’ll still be paid even if clients do miss some sessions. 💰

Recurring payments can be set up and managed easily using TrueCoach. For advice on how to get started, check out our blog post: How to Transition Your Clients to a Subscription Payment Plan 

Challenge #2: Food, glorious food 🥂🍗🍰

For some, this is the trickiest of all the challenges, requiring an iron will power forged by the gods themselves. While that may sound dramatic, sometimes we lose all resolve in the face of a delectable plate of cookies or second helpings of a hearty roast dinner.

Or perhaps you just can’t bear to see Aunt Flo’s crestfallen expression when her homemade trifle is rejected and so you eat to be polite. Some people can’t abide food waste and hoover up leftovers, even when they’re about to burst (remember: you are not a trash can).

And sometimes it’s just ‘being on holidays’ that makes us want to abandon the regular schedule to relax and indulge. After all, comfort food is called that for a reason!

TrueCoach tips and tricks:

  • Reassure your clients that they can relax about a little overindulging over the holiday break. Remind them that just like one day of eating salads and working out can’t undo months or years of overeating and not working out, it’s also true that one day (or several days) of low activity and high indulgence won’t undo months or years of hard work and consistency. 
  • Offer tips for more mindful eating and making sensible choices at gatherings. Instead of piling up their plate, they should take only the items that will bring them the most enjoyment and then eat it slowly, focusing on the taste of each mouthful and chewing thoroughly. Time should be given for food to fill their stomach before heading back for more. They should drink plenty of water between meals and try to include a balance of protein and carbohydrates where possible.
  • Provide strategies for slipping back into healthy eating habits. For instance, they might ensure they follow their normal nutrition plan for at least 4 days of the week and relax on the others. Then they can gradually increase by a day a week as the holidays pass until they are back on track.
  • Provide holiday-specific nutrition plans or recipes that align with clients’ fitness goals.
  • Ask clients to keep a log of how they feel in the days surrounding any indulgent eating or drinking. They may be surprised at how much it affects their energy and wellbeing.


Assign nutrition habits using the Habit Programming feature in the TrueCoach app. You could assign a water intake habit, or an ‘on-track’ meal habit, to help get them back into a healthy routine.

Find out more information on our new Habit Programming feature .

Challenge #3: Logistical obstacles ☃🏝🌪  

There are many challenges that are out of our control, and many of these occur during the holiday season. The weather can freak out, facilities close for periods of time, roads get closed due to snow, traffic spirals out of control. A simple workout can become a frustrating, swear-jar filling, tear-inducing drama worthy of an Oscar nod.

People also go away on vacation (as they should) which can throw them completely off-course with working out.

TrueCoach tips and tricks:

  • Design travel-friendly workout routines that require minimal equipment or focus on bodyweight exercises.
  • Set holiday fitness challenges to spark their competitive streaks.
  • We’ve mentioned this already (but it solves so many issues) – provide online training options. Your clients can then complete their workouts at home, on holiday, at a snowed-in supermarket, wherever!
  • Record video workouts that your clients can access at anytime that suits them.
  • Find more fitness tips for the holidays check out this blog post from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).


TrueCoach comes pre-loaded with over 3,000+ premium exercise videos—and you can also easily upload your own, whether that’s a demo, a class or a personalized video. 

For more on getting started with online training check out our blog post: Virtually unstoppable: venturing into virtual training

Challenge #4: Stress, fatigue or illness 😡😴🤒

Good tidings and Christmas cheer aside, the holidays can actually be super stressful. By the end of the year people are often exhausted, mentally and physically drained, or catching a bug – and then the social obligations of the season begin.

Burnout is on the rise, people spend too much time in front of computer screens, and sometimes the thought of completing a workout is a bridge too far. We’ve all been there.

TrueCoach tips and tricks:

  • Explore the stress-relieving benefits of exercise and promote activities like yoga or meditation for overall well-being. Use your social media posts to hit on these areas.
  • Help clients adjust workout intensity based on stress levels and encourage sufficient rest and recovery.
  • Emphasize the importance of listening to their bodies, advocate for rest when needed, and offer modified workout plans for clients recovering from illness. 
  • Encourage self-care in all its forms. We provide more on this in our blog post: Self-care: a necessity for personal trainers (We wrote that with trainers in mind but it applies to everyone!)
  • For more on why self-care is important for fitness check out this post from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) Why is Self-Care Important for Fitness? And How to Apply it


Create stress-busting workouts for your clients that include gentler exercises, deep breathing, and stretching.

For further instructions on deep breathing access the Harvard Health Publishing article: Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response

Challenge #5: Holiday mode: activated 😎🛌📺

Most of us have uttered this primal cry when justifying our end of year sleep-ins, lazing around, bingeing (all kinds), and any other activity deemed unbefitting a ‘healthy person’: But I’m on hoLiDaY!

Holiday mode is real and it grabs hold fast. If not kept in check it can be like quicksand, sucking you down into a month-long PJ, couch, and snack fest. Holiday mode can feel amazing, and we all need a break once in a while, but as a certified health and wellness coach it’s your job to keep your clients away from the comfort pit and on the path to optimum health and wellness as they start a new year.

TrueCoach tips and tricks:

  • Schedule regular check-ins to keep clients accountable. You may feel like the bad guy sometimes, but this is what they’re paying you for and they’ll be thankful you kept them on track.
  • Educate clients about the importance of their mindset. Revisit their goals and remind them of why they are on their fitness journey in the first place.
  • Again, reassure them that taking a rest is okay, and going off schedule a few times isn’t the end of the world. 
  • Foster a positive mindset by framing holiday fitness as an investment in overall wellbeing. Provide motivational support and remind clients of the long-term benefits of staying active during the holiday season. Once again, utilise your social media presence to strengthen this message.


Set specific, achievable goals for the holiday season and track progress together to maintain focus.

Using the TrueCoach personal trainer software, you can manage all of your clients and their workouts in one easy-to-use place. Set goals, deliver personalized workout plans, track progress, and stay on top of communication.

For ideas on setting client goals check out our blog post: Set, measure, achieve! Goals for personal trainer and client success

Lastly, be sure to enjoy the holiday season yourself! …While also keeping in mind all of the above. You’ve worked hard this year and you want to ensure you’re hitting the ground running in 2024, growing your awesome business and changing clients’ lives. ✨💪

With the right strategies, your clients can navigate the challenges of the holidays and emerge stronger and healthier. Always remember that balance is the key!

Ready to make personal training easier and more streamlined with TrueCoach? Sign up today and receive a 14 Day Free Trial.

Article by Clare Hudson

First published: December 19 2023

Last updated: January 11 2024