Meditation is nothing new—it’s an ancient practice that’s thousands of years old. But while it spent many years hidden outside the mainstream, practiced primarily by those looking to deepen their spiritual connection, meditation has made a comeback in recent years.
Being touted as a highly beneficial practice for calming the mind by mental health professionals, teachers, celebrities and others, meditation and mindfulness practices have become much more accessible in our modern world. It’s no longer necessary to travel to Tibet or to spend hours upon hours sitting on a meditation pillow. With just a few minutes a day, people are beginning to notice greater mental clarity, sharper focus, and enhanced relationships with themselves and others.
Meditation for Personal Training
As a fitness professional, you likely understand the role meditation can play in boosting a person’s well-being. But when motivating clients to stick to their workouts, make healthy food choices, and follow through on their habitual commitments to themselves already feels challenging, the idea of adding another task on top can seem daunting.
Have you been thinking about introducing meditation to your clients—especially the ones who are adamant they can’t meditate? Are you unsure as to how to approach the conversation? Keep reading. This article is for you!
How the Benefits of Meditation Pertain to Fitness Goals
Meditation boasts numerous benefits, including stress reduction, heightened emotional well-being, improved self-awareness, greater focus and attention span, lowered blood pressure and improved sleep, to name a few. But it’s not enough to simply list off the benefits of meditation when trying to convince your clients to add another thing to their already busy schedules, especially if they’re averse to the idea of sitting and trying to shut their brains off.
The link between physical and mental health
In fact, if you can demonstrate the link between meditation and your clients’ goals, your conversation will feel less like convincing and more like sharing an additional tool that has the potential to fast-track their success. Great coaches know that telling someone what to do is far less effective than helping them come to the decision to do something on their own. And what better way to help them embrace meditation than by highlighting how it will support them in the work they’re already doing!
Meditation can reduce stress
The reduction in stress levels that comes with a consistent meditation practice can help your clients in more ways than one. First, they’ll be better able to handle the mental impacts of stress. Second, lower stress will offset the stress they’re putting on their bodies during workouts. If you’re working with a client with ambitious athletic goals, meditation becomes a powerful tool for recovery that allows them to restore not just on a mental level, but on a physiological level as well. As we know, greater recovery leads to greater performance.
If you have a client who is on a weight loss journey, communicating how meditation can help lower cortisol levels and demonstrating the connection between elevated cortisol levels and a difficulty in losing weight can also be powerful.
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Gain a new sense of focus
The increased focus your clients will experience as a result of their meditation practice will go far beyond their workdays. Clients who are training for endurance events, team sports, or athletic competitions will also benefit from being able to stay focused on the task at hand without letting distractions get in the way. And if you have a client who has the tendency to engage in negative self-talk when they stray from their goals, the self awareness that comes from meditating regularly can begin to shift that internal dialogue, allowing them to get back on track more quickly.
How to Introduce Meditation to Your Clients
Introducing meditation to your clients is like helping them adopt a new habit. Tie it back to their desired outcomes, assess their buy-in, and make the process as accessible as possible.
Keeping the previous information in mind, how do you think meditation will benefit your clients? What specific goals do they have, and what aspects of meditation do you think will be most helpful to them? Rather than relaying every single benefit to them, pick the few that will be most impactful. Will it help them get to the finish line faster? Have an easier time falling asleep at night? Finally wear that dress that’s been hanging in the back of their closet?
Once you’ve communicated why you think it would be a beneficial practice for them, ask how they feel about it. If they’re ready and willing, great! Move onto the next step. If there’s some resistance, explore where that stems from. Many people believe meditation is about quieting the mind, and for most folks, the thought of doing so seems impossible! If a client shares something similar, remind them that meditation is simply the practice of noticing when your mind wanders, and then bringing it back to the thing you’re focusing on. If your mind wanders a lot, it simply means you get lots of practice!
Suggest meditation tactics and apps
When your client has agreed to give meditation a shot, find out what feels the least overwhelming. Are they willing to start with five minutes? Three? One? Simply focusing on their breath for five deep breaths? While the benefits of meditation are most noticeable when it’s practiced regularly for ten or more minutes, they won’t be noticeable at all if the practice never starts. If five deep breaths is what will get someone on the path to meditation, that’s a great starting point. Apps like Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer also provide free guided meditations that can help your clients feel like there’s someone supporting them in their practice.
Finding a gentle way to introduce meditation to your clients is of utmost importance. Oftentimes, the individuals who are the most resistant towards it are the ones who would benefit the most! Especially in today’s busy world, people are stressed! This can not only hinder performance in the gym, but also in life. Meditation and other mindfulness techniques can help your clients improve their daily experiences, both within their bodies and within the outside world.