The fitness industry is, by its own admission, good at “getting fit people fitter.” But with marketing materials rife with lithe, blond 20-somethings in revealing, brand-name yoga gear, it’s not surprising that people who are overweight and deconditioned find it hard to buy into the very fitness services that could help them shed pounds for good.
In 1988, Joan Darragh tipped the scales at 288 pounds. During a trip to Japan, she had a defining moment. “I was in a bar, and I sat on a stool built for the slighter Asian frame,” says the New York City resident. “Suddenly, the bolts on my metal stool started to pop.” She tried to pretend it wasn’t her stool making that noise, but she still kept one foot on the floor.
The frustrating thing about these headlines is that, to the letter, they are not untrue. To date, there have not been any large, randomized studies that have shown that reducing sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day (as is advised for certain special populations) has a positive outcome. But it is clear that the majority of Americans are getting far more than the 2,300 mg per day that has been found to correspond with certain disease risk factors.
Not everyone uses text messages, but for those who do, fitness professionals can harness the power of technology to help clients get healthier, say researchers at Duke University.
Scientists followed 50 obese women who received either a daily text for weight loss intervention or used more traditional methodology, such as writ- ten food journals or computer-tracked journaling. Over 6 months, the 26 subjects in the texting group lost an aver- age of 3 pounds, whereas the 24 who journaled more traditionally actually gained 21⁄2 pounds.
You know your next client, Doug, really well. He’s been working with you for 2 years, he’s committed to his fitness program, and while his body is already well-conditioned, he is determined to keep improving. His session will focus mainly on intense weightlifting, and Doug is used to “psyching himself up” before each set—he finds it helps—but you’ve both observed that it’s getting harder for him to make real gains. How can you help?
Letting a client go is always difficult. As a professional, you have the highest expectations for every client—even if they are somewhat unrealistic. However, not everyone seeking professional help in reaching health and fitness goals is prepared to make the sacrifice or take the steps necessary to change. Change is tough!
“I’m terrified of change, even if it will improve my life.”
“I hate asking for help or admitting that I do not know something.”
“I avoid environments that are unfamiliar or that make me feel out of place.”
“I don’t believe that my own personal shortcomings are a source of my problems.”
“I will defend what I believe, even though it may not be right.”
For many people, those statements are true.
Part of your role as a group fitness instructor is to help students reach their fitness goals. This is not always an easy task. Each person has different objectives, as well as unique obstacles to overcome. If you can understand some of these factors, you’ll be in a better position to meet participants’ needs, and you’ll be a more effective teacher, coach, motivator and leader.
You have been recruited to change a life. A young man is out of shape and headed toward a life of obesity and health complications. But he desperately wants to change. Perhaps you saw him on television during the 2012 Summer Olympics. He appeared on a Nike® commercial shot in a rural area near London, Ohio.