There are many beliefs that have been ingrained into your clients’ minds that are doing way more harm than good and are preventing them from reaching their goals. The myths of the fitness industry are apparent to most trainers, but unfortunately, a lot of clients still believe them to be true. It can be tricky to convince clients otherwise with all the misinformation out there, so it’s important to address these myths appropriately each time:
Myth #1: Personal Training is a Luxury Service
Many people still believe that personal trainers are a luxury service, only for the rich and famous. What many don’t realize is that through technology, there are new ways to have access to a personal trainer without paying the steep price. Trainers are now offering online training, over the phone coaching, and programs in small group settings to help people reach their goals in unique, affordable ways.
Offer different types of training packages, some of which are more hands-on and others that are more affordable based on your client’s financial needs. A package that primarily focuses on online training with a few check in’s every once in a while will be much more manageable financially. Clients will realize that they don’t need to pay an exorbitant amount of money to get the attention and help they need to reach their goals.
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Myth #2: You Can Spot Reduce
The fitness industry has marketed their products in a way to lead the general public to believe that they can spot reduce, or lose fat in a particular area of the body, by working out that body part. The truth is, that’s unfortunately not how fat loss works as most fitness professionals already know.
This will likely come up in your initial consultation, and it’s important to be honest and informative right up front. Empathize with your client about their goals and where they would like to tone, but let them know that a balanced program will help get them there. If there is too much of a focus on one body part, an imbalance could be created that could lead to an injury that hinders their results. You can discuss another clients’ success story and how they reached their goals through a balanced training program.
Myth #3: Lifting Weights Will Make You “Bulky”
This myth primarily affects your female clients and is downright harmful because of the effect it has had on society. More women are afraid to lift anything heavier than 10 lbs, which leads to less bone density and a greater risk for Osteoporosis. The truth is, lifting weights will not make a woman bulky. Men have a substantial greater amount of testosterone that allows them to build larger muscles. It would take daily intense lifting sessions coupled with a ton of supplements in order for a women to achieve that “bulky” look.
This is another tough mindset to crack and it’s important to address it right away. Be sure to frame weight lifting in a positive way, rather than trying to bring them down by saying they are wrong. It’s unfortunately been drilled into our mindset through our culture, so by bringing up the benefits such as an increased bone density and a boost in metabolism, they can start to shift their mindset. Consider sharing your own story of how strength training has benefited your own fitness goals.
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Myth #4: No Pain, No Gain
With the introduction of high intensity exercise and boutique studios that are tailored to getting the toughest workout in each and every time, the “no pain, no gain” mantra is still deep-seated in many clients’ minds. They want to get the best workout in within the shortest amount of time, and think they need to be sweating like crazy and extremely uncomfortable to do so. Unfortunately, many of these individuals have office jobs and are sitting for long periods of time, so for them to workout at the level of elite athletes can be a recipe for injury.
Reassure your client that they will still get a great workout in with you that is challenging and effective, but most importantly safe. Provide them with some details about their programming and set short term goals so they will have an idea of how their program will benefit them and progressions to look forward to.
Myth #5: Working Out is the Most Important Factor in Getting Into Shape
Your workout routine accounts for a small slice of the pie when it comes to getting into shape and losing weight. It is important for disease prevention, strong muscles and bones, and general well being. However, diet and NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis, which is basically everything active you do outside of a formal workout such as house chores and taking the stairs), accounts for the majority of the success in losing weight. If a client works out hard for an hour then sits on the couch the rest of the day, it’s pretty counterproductive.
Take a holistic approach to your coaching. Instead of only focusing on the hour or two you have with your client each week, work on the big picture with them. Have them write in a diary once a day for the first two weeks and have them include their food choices, activities (including household chores), sleep and anything else that is relevant. Explain to them the importance of making a lifestyle change rather than worrying about the day-to-day and working out hard every session.
Myths can be detrimental to a client and could be the one thing that is holding them back from reaching their goals, so addressing these myths as they come up and disproving them in an understanding and informative matter is the key. Clients are looking for trainers that are an expert in their field, so they’ll appreciate if you are honest and up front with them if you approach it the right way.