Well, here we are, halfway through one of the toughest times of the year to stick to a clean eating and workout regimen. As coaches, it’s our job to guide our clients through the holidays and ensure they find a healthy balance of still enjoying food and family times but without over-indulging and sabotaging any of their progress.
I’ve found that too often, people (clients and trainers alike) have an “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to these sort of things. They’re either all in on the clean eating and workouts, or they are all in on the “fun”. But my coaching style (and a style I recommend all trainers adopt) allows for enjoyment of life, good food, and family time.
For me, the goal is to coach people on how they can fit fitness and clean eating together into a balanced lifestyle—along with all the other good stuff, and during the holiday, this balanced lifestyle approach becomes even more important.
It’s up to us to help our clients find times in their busy holiday schedules that they can squeeze in a workout, and understand what they should be doing in these workouts that would be most effective. We should also be educating them on when they should be trying to stick to clean eating and when they can “live it up”. Remember, we are their motivators, their support staff, and the ones who will get them through this holiday season without feeling the post-dinner party guilt.
Here are 3 Ways to Help Our Clients Make it Through The Holidays
1. Challenge Them
Like I said before, as personal trainers, we are our clients’ number one motivators! So why not light a fire under them by running a challenge in the final month of the year?
One challenge I gave my clients for the month of December is to try and get 18 workouts completed between December 1st and December 25th. I gave them a prize to chase if they did it and it’s amazing to see how many of them are sticking to it! Sometimes all people need is that extra little push and someone to be there to let them know they can do it.
2. Show Them What a Healthy Balance Looks Like
Coaching our clients on when to eat clean and when they can indulge a little bit is a major key to helping them get through the holiday season feeling great. By feeling great I mean, not feeling guilty for enjoying life, but also not going too far overboard with the “indulging” that they ruin their progress.
From my experience teaching clients that they are allowed to enjoy some wine, some cookies, or a solid turkey dinner helps them actually indulge less than they normally would. I frame it all with the 80-20 rule: for example, if they know they are going to a party at night to try to eat clean and workout during the day so they can enjoy themselves guilt-free (in moderation).
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3. Lead By Example
Whenever the topic of the holiday season comes up, I like to tell clients about what I would do in their situation or how I get through this time of year without coming out 10lbs heavier on the other side.
I tell them how I fit my workouts into my busy life and what kind of foods I indulge in and which ones I avoid. I talk to them about strategy when going to a dinner party and make it seem like it’s not a big deal at all.
I find a lot of clients overthink it and put a lot of pressure on themselves, which in turn leads to more overeating and self-sabotage. When your clients hear that their trainer enjoys yummy food too, it makes them feel better about themselves and finding a balance.
A True Story
I actually had a conversation with one of my online training clients a few weeks ago and it sparked something in me that resulted in a post on social media.
This amazing client has been working so hard for the past 5 months and was making great progress, but she was worried about how busy her life would be in December with work and holiday parties.
She had told me she was going to just try to “maintain” for the month and then get back at it in January. This did not sit well with me because I am a firm believer that mindset is everything. I told that if she told herself she was no longer on her weight loss journey and she was just “maintaining” she would actually end up skipping more workouts and indulging perhaps a little more than she should.
I coached her through it and we came to an agreement that she was still going to work out 3-4 times per week, but she would also enjoy all of her holiday parties guilt-free by eating and drinking in moderation. I assured her that she would still be able to stay on track with her goal for the month of December and we would fit the fun and parties into her plan.
I don’t believe anyone should ever feel deprived or skip social gatherings due to a “diet”, but I also feel that there are ways of still sticking to your goals and enjoying life, too. Since our conversation, she has been still getting her workouts in and is feeling great throughout December. All she needed was someone on her team telling her “no you aren’t going to just settle for maintaining, you are going to kill it this month” and, guess what, she is!