How do you handle clients who set unrealistic goals?
So many people go to trainers in hopes of losing an unrealistic amount of weight in such a short time. TV makes it look like it can happen within weeks! When the client is unable to reach that goal they are disappointed, naturally. What do you trainers do to help a client understand this is a lifestyle change and will not happen overnight?
Help them with goal setting techniques by sitting down with them and writing on paper different goals and techniques to reach these goals (I have handouts on goal setting that I use with my clients). Break down goals into time zones, starting with 1 year, to 6 months, 1 month, 2 weeks, and 1 week. This way, youwork backwards fro mthe unrealistic goal towards more realistic and feasable goals. I have found once clients are given the tools to set realistic goals and, more importantly, see these goals being reached, they acclimate to better goal setting.
I monitor and modify as we train, if they aren't getting the results they expected I fine tune their program.
We as trainers owe it to our clients to be educated, informed, certified by a National Organization and stay current with the latest fitness reports and studies.
It's up to us to set the standards!
If they need rapid weight loss right now, I will be happy to work with them in the future after they've rapidly regained it. Then we'll teach them to make good decisions and support them to be successful over the long term.
LaRue Cook, CSCS
A SMART goal-setting exercise (specific, manageable, attainable, realistic, time line) probably wouldn't hurt, and would definitely give some direction and insight to the process.
Most people respond positively to a well thought out plan, and will give it a fair chance if guided and supported.
I took a deep breath and told her that I needed to think about how we could break it down into smaller components. We started with an exercise where she let herself drop against the wall as in a dynamic push-up. I told her that we needed to strengthen her wrist bones because the significant sudden weight on her wrist when doing a cartwhell may, in my opinion, break her wrist. After that I suggested that we work on a handstand next. Well ....... we never got to a handstand and my client realized that doing a cartwheel will probably have to wait until her reincarnation into a somewhat more athletic version of her soul.
I always under promise and over deliver. How can I promise something thats not possible.
A few times I have had clients that were "written in stone" type goal makers. With these clients I try to keep the short term in focus and work on reality education in as subtle a way as I can. I have had one client that wasn't buying in at all. He told me "you have one month to help me lose 30 pounds or I will find another trainer". We did the 30 days. I tried really hard to educate him. He lost 8 pounds and increased his strength significantly. And then found another trainer. His new trainer contacted me for insights. And I told him that I just did what should be done and didn't let the guy change sound design for the sake of extreme weight loss. The client left that trainer after 30 days as well.
The moral of the story is, you can't fix everything or everyone. Don't compromise safety for results.