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?
If she is having a difficult time grasping the exercise and that is causing the frustration (I see this quite often) then try breaking it into segments and linking the segments back to back. In time she will witness herself being able to perform the complete exercise and that kind of accomplishment can give her the right attitude about overcoming temporarily frustrating obstacles. Light at the end of the tunnel kind of mentality. If its the difficulty thats getting to her, try counting her completed repititions in a given time (w/ good form of course) and let her witness her progress there. Once people begin to see little improvements, they start looking to their future, instead of cursing their present. Hope this helps a bit. It has often worked for me.
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.
Have you ever tried asking her? Your description of her behavior sounds very negative but is that the way she feels herself? How about wording a question like that: “it seems to me that my choice of exercises is frustrating to you even though you never complain. I want to make our sessions as effective as possible, and I would like your input how I can help you achieve your goals but also enjoy the process.” Then listen to what she has to say.
I would have a frank conversation with her and let her know that you notice certain responses during her workouts. Also ask her if she’s getting what she wants out of her training and if there is anything else she would like to concentrate on.
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…..
I think Karin has given a great, simple response. Start by just showing your concern in a matter of fact way so that she doesn’t get too freaked out, but be sincere. Karin’s words were great. If you don’t get anywhere with that, consider your professional resources. It could be that she’s one of those people who just gets into it by focusing really hard. Maybe she’s hard on herself because she feels like she needs to be. If she’s getting to her sessions and putting 100% in, then for now she’s probably right where she needs to be. By being positive, you’ll eventually get through to her and help her to see exercise as fun and rewarding!