Dealing With Client Attitudes
I have been a Personal Trainer for 7 years and have dealt with all sorts of clients, but there's a new client I picked up a couple of weeks ago that seems to get sort of aggravated during our sessions. She never complains about the exercises i have her do, but seems to get frustrated and cranky as she performs the exercises. She told me she wants me to push her hard and wants to feel like she has to crawl out of the gym after sessions but It's almost like the challenge of the exercises, which are circuit-training based and core engaging (she wants to lose weight), get to her so much that she feels like she has to show her emotions. Again, she has never complained or whined about not doing an exercise; she just gets cranky and frustrated at herself, it seems. What should I do? Should I ignore her emotions and continue to push her hard, which her and I know she needs in order to lose weight?
I see that you are an ACSM certified personal trainer.
One of the things that I do when I when I encounter clients who have an unbalanced viewpoint of how I should approach training is to share the science with them.
ACSM resources do a fine job with that. I share with them ACSM guidelines for muscular strength and endurance and well as cardiorespiratory strength and endurance. I help them appreciate what moderate intensity and vigorous intensity is by using the 1-20 scale and explain that the manner in which she wants to train is not based upon science.
I then explain that is not how I approach training and perhaps I may not be the right personal trainer for her. I ask whether the individual would like to utilize scientific guidelines in reaching her goals or does she/he want to just wing it. If he/she chooses "wing it', I'm out.
Our profession is based upon science, there is no need to dumb ourselves down.
I wish you the best.
Another option would be to video tape a session, possibly she is totally unaware of her "attitude".
You may also want to re evaluate her desire to crawl out of the gym.....
If your client is a Type A perfectionist, like me, her emotions might stem from a task, in this case, weight loss, that is not coming as easy to her as other things.
Whatever the reason is, just have a good sit down and relate to her. Just because you're her trainer doesn't mean you don't care about other things in her life!
Let us all remember that relationships are co-created. We want to test our assumptions, focus on interests, share all relevant information, use specific examples to support our opinion and ask if we are understood. As a trainer you are much more than a task master. You inquiry and detective skills provide your client with a mindful professional,
Also consider that conflict, your client's obvious discontent, is a signal. Explore that. What is behind the aggravation, the goal she has set for herself? Is the goal too big? Is it realistic for her? Is she setting herself up to fail?
Compassionate communication is the key.
All the best