When people seek the help of a personal trainer or coach, it’s often not just a matter of exercising, of having a fitness plan, or of getting themselves to move more. Although that is our goal as trainers and coaches—to get people closer to their fitness goals—the problem is that fitness isn’t so black and white. Often times, the reasons and motivations for seeking the help of a professional go far beyond fitness.
In the years I’ve been coaching, I’ve had many people initially come to me for fitness help. They start out thinking it’s a clear point A to point B situation where they just have to do one thing over and over and they’ll be set, but end up realizing that it requires much more than just getting to the gym.
What they’re discovering is something that we as trainers have already known for a long time: a client’s success relies on their ability to maintain positive lifestyle habits that align with their fitness goals. After all, you can’t build a castle on sand.
So how do we teach our clients how to master these small but important habits? It starts with understanding.
What’s the difference between a lifestyle goal and a fitness goal?
First things first, it’s important to establish distinctions between lifestyle and fitness goals for your clients.
Lifestyle goals can be anything from sleeping and waking up at certain times, to creating mindfulness routines. Anything that ultimately helps a person’s lifestyle and mental wellbeing without committing to a training or eating plan.
Fitness goals, on the other hand, are more specific! Basically, they focus on how a person’s body can change and evolve in terms of body composition, aesthetics, and strength.
Despite their differences, both types of goals depend on the same thing: establishing consistent daily habits that allow a person to make changes that actually last. That’s why clients need to understand how important habits are to achieve their lifestyle and fitness goals.
By linking these together, we can increase their chance of success. When we can take someone closer to their lifestyle goals, they’ll be more likely to get closer to their fitness goals. Some clients might have an easier time implementing lifestyle goals, which will benefit their fitness goals. Plus, it’ll make their journey that much more enjoyable. This is where the true key to a successful health and fitness journey lies.
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How do lifestyle goals support fitness goals?
Lifestyle goals are important because they will ensure better overall results in your clients’ progress towards their fitness goals. I often ask my clients what their definition of health is and most of the time, other than physical aspects, people talk about having more energy, being happier, thinking clearer, and sleeping better.
This is why it’s imperative that we take into consideration the lifestyle of each of our clients. It’s important that they set goals in other areas of their lives that will ultimately make them healthier. Eating habits, nutrition knowledge, sleeping patterns, morning routines, stress management tools, productivity tricks, and personal connection are just a few examples. Similarly, you could recommend habits for daily water intake, bedtime routines or mindfulness practice. I encourage every trainer and coach to make part of their practice by using Trainerize’s Goal Setting Tool. This is an awesome way to track progress for habits.
Fitness can be such a good metaphor for life. I always bring up the fact that people need to make conscious and deliberate changes to their daily habits to maximize the impact of their fitness. Setting fitness goals as well as lifestyle goals can be the single most important factor in keeping clients motivated. Plus, motivated clients are ultimately more successful in their fitness journey.
A real-life example
I had a client once who was determined to implement a fitness program in his life. However, he faced some very restrictive lifestyle habits. He had poor sleeping habits, was always running late and seemed to have a headache every day. He was having a hard time sticking to a workout routine and was very ineffective with his time in the gym. Plus, he seemed to struggle to motivate himself.
To combat his struggle, we started working to build positive habits to improve his lifestyle. We identified some goals: to lose 10 pounds of fat and feel more energized to be able to play with his kids. Setting very realistic lifestyle goals for him had a huge impact on his progress! I provided sleeping tips, time management skills, and daily water intake goals to tackle his headaches. I knew he’d have a way better chance in actually implementing a regular fitness routine that he could stick with if we could just get some habits built!
As a result, he ended up making significant progress, which helped build our relationship as well as his motivation. Today, his daily habits of drinking water, meal prepping and managing his sleep. These habits have helped him not only lose more than 10 pounds but have also made a huge impact on his alertness, energy levels, and overall vitality.
As trainers, we have a responsibility to give our clients the tools to succeed in life. By prioritizing improvement across different aspects of their lives, our clients will experience more strength, mobility and mental clarity. We are here to guide people to a healthier overall life. Clients who are able to implement lifestyle changes are more likely to be successful, long-term. Plus, those progressive habits will make your job much more enjoyable and rewarding.