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 once had a client who brought a list of goals to our initial consultation. One of the goals he had was to swim underwater, holding his breath for 4 minutes. Since our training didn’t involve swimming, I asked him why this goal was so important to him? He said he read that holding your breath underwater for 4 minutes was a measure of elite fitness. So, we then talked about the benefits of exercise, specifically improved cardiovascular fitness. He agreed to train with me and, after 8 weeks, he noticed that he didn’t have to “catch his breath” walking up a flight of stairs. Success! Education is a necessary part of our client services, and the knowledge we share helps our clients set realistic goals.
Sit down with the client and discuss his/her goals together. Listen to what he/she is communicating to you: concerns, past experiences, fears, expectations, smoke screens, etc..Are the goals truly unrealistic?? Bring your professional experience and knowledge to the table: examples of other client success stories; basic physiology in terms of the human body’s ability to respond to exercise, diet, etc…
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 don’t let my clients set unrealistic goals, I educate them from the beginning and I use those TV shows as “reality checks”.
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!
I have a consultation with every new client. They must understand from the first moment that rapid weight loss is not what I support. Balance and long term success is the goal.
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.