Beauty or Brains? What Do Clients Want?

Speak Out:

Editor’s Note: In the October 2003 issue of IDEA Health & Fitness Source, we asked readers whether they thought clients were more concerned about trainers’ education and experience or about their physical appearance. Here are some responses:

My clients are more concerned about my educational background than my physical appearance. However, when they arrive for their initial consultation, they are surprised.

That’s because I am 54 years old, a size 10 and 4 feet 11 inches tall. But they also feel comfortable to meet someone who is not a size 2. We have a lot of things in common that are associated with the wonders of getting older. My clients ask their questions and see the knowledge, love and passion I have for this field.

I tell them that there was time when a 1-pound can of string beans was all the weight I could lift. Since then, my strength has increased dramatically, and they are impressed at what I have accomplished.

Having been in the industry for over 20 years, may I offer some advice to trainers concerned about outward appearance? “Believe in what you do, and love what you do. Your clients will then see that you are truly an inspiration in the fitness field.”

Alice Gomez Curiale

Body Fit Inc.

St. James, New York

When I received the October issue of IDEA Health & Fitness Source and read “Is the Trainer They See the Trainer They Get?” I had to laugh. Women and men in America are a lot smarter than the author gave them credit for. The article would be great if we all lived in L.A., but Middle America is really different. I live in Indiana, and business is booming for this 240-pound woman! I have hypopituitarism, but that is no reason not to be healthy. I am very fit. I get respect in my community because I am knowledgeable and people get results! In fact, I am so busy that I am opening a new studio so I can accept all the people on my waiting list. This career is about much more than how you look; it is about what you know.

Julie Kintz, CPT

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Feedback on Stretching

I want to thank Amy Ashmore for her well-done article, “Safe & Effective Stretching” (October 2003 IDEA Health & Fitness Source). Her information on the need to communicate when passively stretching a client is right on.

My concern with the article is that it doesn’t deal with the relationship between applying force and the variable lever lengths between client and trainer. If, for example, the client has long legs and the trainer is short (or any number of potential combinations!), you could safely and correctly perform the indicated hamstring stretch using appropriate force vectors in a number of ways. The “incorrect” photo exaggerates one of these potential positions, and while it is useful to point out the potential for error, the indication is that you could not modify this adequately. The “correct” photo puts the trainer in a position where a less skilled individual might miss valuable proprioceptive and sensory feedback. Also, you may still need to address the bent knee/hip lift even when you are applying the force in this way.

Dixie Stanforth, MS

Department of Kinesiology & Health Education

University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

The author responds:

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. Yes, infinite lever-length combinations exist between clients and trainers. There are also infinite possible force vectors, since a force vector is a product of direction and magnitude. It would be impossible to address all of them.

My intention with this article was simply to cover the three fundamental principles of force application and to encourage trainers to communicate with their clients so that they can stretch safely and effectively. I was not suggesting that safe modifications and/or variations are not possible.

Amy Ashmore, PhD

Jacksonville, Florida

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January 2004

© 2004 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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