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?
I demonstrate to them via the use of past results of my current clients what a realistic expectation would be. And help them set a SMART goal. If it isn’t relevant or attainable it needs to be put in the bluntest of terms. So when someone wants to lose 10 years of beer and pizza in a month, you have to remind them that there is no reasonable way to do this in any healthy way. Show them the results you have attained with other clients who have had the same unrealistic goals and how happy they are now that they have an actual attainable goal. It is always about the framing.
When I get a client with very difficult goals, I have them consider those goals to be the ultimate possibility goals. Then we talk about setting initial goals that will lead us to the UPGs. This usually works very well and often the client begins to see their UPGs as goals they set before they understood how hard it is to reach such goals.
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.
Good question. By doing an assessment to see what type of changes they need to make and help them understand the difference between TV and reality. I set smaller and more reasonable goals for my clients because once they start working out those goals can change as well. They may reach them sooner or later depending on their commitment and other unknown factors that might rise during the process. No goal is for certain, but as long as they are improving in their fitness level, diet habits and discipline attitude then I consider those steps as a one step forward. I try to be honest with them and help them understand what is reachable and what is not, so their expectations can be more feasible.