Games to play as form of a workout-1on1 client
I have a client thatis about 20lbs over weight. She hates to workout. She is dedicated by not cancelling but often during our workouts she is complaining and doesn't want to so a certain exercise. She sits or even lys down while I show her a move. I have tried many different way's to keep her moving. Every time it is a struggle. She know she has to do it so that is why I am with her. The next option is trying to making working out a game. She said she might enjoy it more if we palyed games. I am not sure what kind of games. I have made games with groups but not one on one. Any suggestions?
She also has not lost weight with all the nutrition advice I give her. She is an emotional eater. I studied nutrition therapy for a year and emotional eating but she is a tough one to break.
I do not know this person, nor have I read her medical or exercise history, so I could be wrong in anything I say, so take it as just a few ideas about how things might be working.
She makes her appointments so she is probably at the stage where she knows exercise is important for some thing she wants. She clearly does not want to do it, so I do not think the joy of movement is part of her motivation, but more likely some health goal, or most likely weight loss, as you mention that early. For long term adherence it is most helpful to reach the stage where the exercise itself is perceived as valuable, and there is enjoyment in how it makes one feel, but external goals are a good start. How to translate her desire for her goal to willingness to do the work is a huge challenge. With some people it may be the 'Sesame Street' phenomenon.... if people think things have to be made fun and easy they are not always willing to engage in things that are hard.... and, well, work. My question is, is this really about finding a way to sugar coat it, or discovering whether she is ready to do the actual work.
The first thing you have to decide is what are her responsibilities in this relationship, and what are hers, and how much you are willing to put into this. Because if she is not at the stage to take her desire for the external goal to willingness to engage in the activity you are beating your head against a wall.
Or you are providing her with the psychological advantage that she can see herself as someone who exercises, but manages to avoid actually exercising? And you have to ask yourself if you are willing for the money she pays to be paid to be an enabler if you find at this time she is not willing to do the work.
Another thing to think about is that you seem to be 'going it alone'. That is so difficult. If the REASONS she is finding reasons not to do the work (this is boring, make it fun, this is too hard, make it easier) are more about other things than really about it being boring or too hard I wonder if it would be helpful to refer her to someone whose expertise, education, and appropriate scope of practice would work well in those areas. In other words, maybe just telling her about portion sizes and so on is not enough. That is why it is good to do some leg work and establish a network of people to whom you can refer. A dietitian might be a good place to start.
More than that, I am thinking of your words about her being an emotional eater. A good councillor may be what she needs first. That can be a hard conversation. We have a terrible prejudice ..... if you have diabetes taking a medicine to fix that imbalance is ok, having a brain imbalance, how dare you treat it.... you should just be able to pull yourself up.... and even the idea of counseling, well we think it means moral weakness. But if she eats for emotional self medication that is definitely outside of our scope of practice, but really does need some attention.
So, a long answer, my apologies.... but
first, consider setting some limits on her responsibilities, to try to help her get the most from the experience.
second, consider offering to introduce her to a certified nutritionist, to really help her with the dietary part of the equation (and a good nutritionist will be very used to dealing with emotional eaters as well)
third, unless she brings up the issue of speaking with someone on emotional issues, leave that alone, but consider suggesting a meditation or yoga class. The mind body connection piece is often a very helpful starting point for creating mindfulness, which is a good start to understand why we eat emotionally.
Good luck, and sorry for the novel, but I think it is a really important issue.
Have you thought about badminton, table tennis, disc golf, tennis, volleyball, jump rope across the room racing, etc.? Does she like to rollerskate, bike, hike, etc.? Have you asked her what she liked to play as a youngster? What has she enjoyed recently?
Clients ask me if kayaking is exercise; of course, yes it is, I answer. She may like more things than you realize.
"She sits or even lys down while I show her a move." She may not be ready for exercise, yet. Gotta give you two credit for trying so hard. Maybe some time off until she has better motivation may do something positive.
"She said she might enjoy it more if we palyed games." I would definitely try the different games first. To keep the variety and surprise factor, have her choose from a list and you will choose the activity according to weather. I would have a second choice with me in case.
Sparking conversations about why she hired you in the first place may be good reminders.
Do you know her favorite color? A piece of equipment in that color may be fun, too.
Good luck and take care,
NAPS 2 B Fit
I LOVE Ariadne's answer.I also had the hunch that there is a lot more involved than just her not enjoying exercise. It seems to me that she is already playing a game. I call it "Yes, but .....".
She seems to always put the responsibility on you to 'make her move' which neither you nor anybody can do. Ultimately, she will need to decide to do it herself.
One strategy I found successful in similar situation (even though not related to exercise) would be a conversation like: "It appears to me that you do not enjoy the approach I am taking, even though you recognize to value of exercise. I want you to be successful but I need your assistance. If you were in my shoes, what would you suggest?"
I read your answer to Natalie. I would not give into the competition thing. That way, somebody can get hurt.
I wish you success with your client.
Clients like this can be a struggle. I find it best to remember that as a personal trainer with a weight loss client it is not truly my job to give them a great workout. Great workouts are just a tool I use to help improve their lifestyle choices.
Our true job is to change a persons mind set and lifestyle. Your client knows she needs the change, but isn't to the point where she wants to change. This raises the question, how do I create the desire to change?
You need to find the things that the extra weight is making difficult in her life. Ask tough questions that probe her to tell you things like I cannot comfortably sit in a car, I get winded tying my shoes, I struggle walking up the stairs, there are thousands of these little things. Once you know the ones that effect her the most use that as motivation with comments like, imagine how great its going to be when you drop these next 20 pounds and you no longer dread long car rides. This makes the effort worth it and gives a tangible realistic goal for your client.
In short emotional attachment is the key to client success. Give your client an emotionally driven goal and keep that goal fresh in her mind and she should be more compliant.
You have several great suggestions as how to handle this problem, hopefully one works for you.
This client sounds like she's not ready to change yet.
I would schedule a time to talk to her and be very candid about your role and concerns. If she wants to work with you I would suggest having her write down her goals, you must make sure they are realistic and attainable.
Once your time is up to go over the goals, then you can decide if you should continue on.
Sometimes it's best to walk away from this situation because she is not going to exercise just because you want her to!
I have discontinued working with many people like your client, it was the best choice for both of us.
I often give my clients "homework" to complete: Have them come up with 4-5 reasons "why" they participate in physical activity. Sometimes finding these reasons why can help our clients adopt the behavior to be more active for intrinsic reasons (if I'm healthy, I can play with my kids or if I am healthy, I can remain independent as I get older). Clients already know that physical activity is beneficial, help them truly learn that it is beneficial for THEM.
Now... as far as making things fun and interesting:
1. I try to keep my clients engaged in their workout by having active rest activities, "mini challenges" between exercises or circuits (such as standing on a balance disc, or standing on one leg, or random stuff like guessing the artist to a song that's playing, or watching others workout and telling me how they could make the exercise more effective. One of the best compliments I can receive is having clients be surprised that their session is already over with and they still feel like they got a great workout.
2. I have my clients take ownership of their workout. By asking questions on their RPE or other scale, I first educate them on how hard they should be working to achieve results, and ask if their current effort is worthy of those results. Some days they might not want to work out as hard as others, so that session becomes more of a consultation and education/ preparation for future workouts. I certainly understand that I'm not always going to have an enjoyable workout, but I can learn from each day I do, and can make adjustments to find ways to be more fun and effective in the future; so I treat sessions with my clients the same way.
3. By allowing a client to select certain parts of their workout (choice of exercises, to an extent), equipment to use, etc they become more engaged and take more ownership of their routine and results. I have large jumbo dice or use poker cards to randomly select different exercises, sets, reps, etc; even just having them roll the dice makes things more interesting and they often feel more empowered just by controlling the dice rolls. In any case I guide them along the way so they stay on track to achieve the results they want.