Being a Personal Trainer can be very rewarding. Most of us become trainers to help other people experience the joy of fitness. Fitness has changed our lives for the better and we want to share our passion for health. Most of the time we are able to do just that, but once in a while we are faced with challenging clients. Some have had bad experiences with fitness in the past. For some it was a bad trainer or an injury from some workout they were not properly trained for. But now, the idea of working out has left them feeling defeated and prone to injury.
And there are those clients who have never worked out a day in their life. How did they slip through the cracks all these years? These challenging clients are the ones you can make the biggest difference with. They don’t know what exciting rewards they are about to achieve with a little hard work and determination. You get to be that special person who breaks the cycle of negativity and helps them create their new positive lifestyle!
While clients may be show up excited about starting a new workout plan, many people have pretty unreasonable expectations of what it takes to get the job done.
How do we tell them there is no finish line in fitness? Take Tim for example: He was the high school athlete that is now in his late 40’s and hasn’t worked out much since his glory days. He was playing ball on a softball team with co-workers every year, but twisted his ankle last year and hasn’t worked out since. He tells me that he was fit when he played ball and he wants to look that way again. Or, how about Laura, the new-to- fitness mom? She doesn’t have more than 20 minutes a day without kids, and her 10-year class reunion is coming up. She wants to WOW everyone by looking like a fitness model. And get this, the reunion is next month and she’s got 40 lbs to lose. You know fitness will improve both their lives and you don’t want to turn them away. But, you also don’t want to give them false hope that they will somehow reach these unattainable fitness goals within such short timeframes.
Consistent Workouts = Client Motivation
These seem like pretty different clients but I would recommend the same workout for both of them. If your wheels are spinning and you’re thinking of bodybuilding vs. circuit training, you’ve got it all wrong. The best workout for both of these clients and for all of your clients, is the CONSISTENT workout! How do you achieve the consistent workout? The answer is proper motivation. Motivation is key to working out and what these two clients lack is motivation and perspective.
If your client’s goal is just a hot body, it could be that they don’t understand all of the benefits they will gain while working towards their goal. That’s okay though, wanting that hot body has them headed in the right direction. Now, it’s up to you to provide that proper motivation to get them in the gym consistently. Educate them about what a healthy lifestyle can really do for them. Reassure them that they are in the right place and with the right trainer to enable them to make these changes. Let them know that, not only will they love their hot body, but they will also love the way they feel.
In short, be there for them when they need that push to keep them working out consistently and they will see those goals become reality.
They’ve already made the first step toward their goals by meeting with, and hiring, you. Let them know that this first step is going to improve their life, their self-esteem, and their health. A study done by the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, at the University of Mississippi, shows that even one week of being sedentary significantly declines the perceived satisfaction of an individual’s life. Just getting your sedentary clients moving is going to make them feel so much better, immediately! Then focus on enjoyment: providing the perfect workout isn’t as important as finding one they enjoy and that will keep them coming back. Remember, consistency is the key! Help them understand that in the beginning, they will most likely be sore, out of breath, and pretty exhausted. But, completing a workout is already telling them that they are winners and that they can complete tasks. They are creating new, positive pathways in their brains for long-term healthy changes. Let them know that their mood will improve in just one week and that they can expect to feel healthier and stronger in just two to three weeks of exercise.
Be flexible with the newbies and know how to change your workout midstream, if it’s not working for them. You do not have to tell them up front that it will take 3-6 months for them to see real changes in their physique. That time period might seem discouraging to them at first. However, if they get hooked on that good feeling you get from consistent exercise, 3-6 months becomes no time at all.
You’ll have to be in-tune with the signals that they are giving you and their level of enjoyment. If your client starts canceling your scheduled appointments, ask for feedback. It might just be a matter of encouragement or education that gets them back into the routine again.
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