I recently aquired two new clients, both overweight, and spent over 2 hours assessing them, calculating their BMRs, and recommending a caloric range for both.
For one of them I recommended between 1500 and 1750 calories for an average weight loss of 1-2 lbs a week if she exercises. She changed her caloric intake to 1200 in the program, chose to eat 600 calories for a few days, then stopped logging her meals altogether. The other client was staying within his caloric range but ate very low ND foods such as white pasta, pancakes, and processed meats. I asked him to incorporate one fruit, vegetable, or side salad a day. He chose to ignore me for 3 weeks and then his calories jumped way above his recommended intake. I know you can’t win every battle, but I feel like I am losing these two and maybe it is not my battle to fight. How would you handle these two situations?
From my experience and personal opinion, there are two ways you can handle the situation.
1. Knowing that you have done all you can and do what your supposed to when you train them; you can document all that you have done and asked them to do, and hold them accountable for their results. As a personal trainer, we can do all that we can when they see us but they need to hold their self accountable for what they do outside of that 30-60 minute session. If they continue to come back, I would continue to offer the services as long as you know you’re doing all you can.
2. You can stop offering your services to the clients. As bad as it may sound, it’s the right thing to do at times. As a personal trainer I hold myself to high standards and my students (clients) as well. If you as a trainer have done all you can and they continue to resist then they might have other problems that need to be resolved. It might take money out of your pocket but it will give you a piece of mind.
From my experience a trainer can talk until they are blue in the face about what our clients “should be doing”.
The situations you describe above sound like these two would benefit from a Wellness Coach which would take the pressure off of you!
Personally, I would have a very frank conversation with your clients and explain that you are doing your part in their journey but until they contribute, the journey only goes so far.
As a certified personal trainer, concentrate on the training and hopefully they will re set their goals!
It is extremely heartbreaking for a trainer to put the work in preparing a diet and fitness plan for clients who do not put in their part of the effort. As hard is it may be, you must come to terms with the fact that you are doing the best you can but it is their responsibility to put the work in – you can’t lose the weight for them. The fact that you posted this question shows that you care very much for your clients – you should feel proud!! Think of all the successful clients you have had, perhaps once these two see that they are not getting results they will come around. They have to want it as much as you.
I have to say that most people I train think of themselves as well-informed, especially when it comes to the food that’s right for them. More than once clients have justified their poor decisions by citing diet plans, folks on tv, or something they heard from a friend. Calorie restriction is very common in my experience- people think that if “less is more” then “even less” must be “even more”. This can be a tough nut to crack for some clients.
The best advice I can give you is not to give up on these folks! By being honest with you about their respective eating issues, they’re letting you know that they trust you on some level. Changing a lifestyle does not come easy and, after all, aren’t we all works in progress? They’ve made it to the point that they realize they need help, and they’ve implemented some changes (by changing their exercise habits, at the very least). Also, you now have the documentation that may convince them that the cycle they’re on is NOT benefiting them- the first client is (most likely) too ashamed to even write down her eating habits, the second client has proven that the choices he’s making aren’t sustainable because his calories have jumped again after a short hiatus. Having them include the way they feel before/after each meal in their food diary may also help them “see the light”.
I would try to be a safe place for these clients to turn. Help them to focus on improving their future habits and to learn from the past without dwelling on it. They are the only ones that can change their behavior, and you can only continue, as you have been, to keep them informed of a best-case scenario. You can certainly refer them to a nutritionist or lifestyle management professional if it seems to be necessary, as they’ll probably back up what you’ve already recommended. Ultimately, the battle is theirs so try not to take their shortcomings as any reflection on yourself. Good luck!
I commend you for hanging in there for over three weeks. Your help and knowledge can only go so far…the rest is up to the both of them and what they do on their own time is out of your control.
You can only set forth the rules, advice and goals in your assesment/s and stick to them whether they choose to do it or not.
At this point I would reasses each client and find out why your advice, journal logging and the goals set forth are not a priority in their lifestyle change.
As a Fitness Professional you have a choice for whom you wish to take on as a client and their success is your success.
I have had a client/s in a similar situation and I simply stated that I have failed them as their Personal Trainer and referred them to another trainer and stated all of the reasons why.
Remarkably, they had a change of heart knowing how serious I was about their health. Looking back.. they “thanked” me for my commitment to them.
Keep us posted on your outcome.