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?
As neither one of us are nutritionists or dietitians, all we can do is RECOMMEND a caloric intake for someone to follow. However, it is entirely up to them what they choose to eat. If they are doing everything that you ask of them during your training sessions and haven’t any complaints then the sessions are going accordingly. If they are complaining about a lack of results then you go ahead and hit them with both barrels (Of “I told you so”). If the whole situation becomes too much, fire them and move on. Its your job to give them what they need to accomplish their goals but not to accomplish their goals for them.
You’ve gotten some great answers already. And this certainly is a frustrating situation, one that most trainers will encounter at some point in their careers.
Have you tried asking them why they chose to lower their calories or are making certain food choices? I find that asking my clients questions gains me additional insight into how they’re making their decisions and allows me to provide them with information that will help them find solutions to their obstacles. It also gets them involved in the process.
Please remember that only they can make the changes in their lives. You can provide all the tools necessary, but they have to decide to make the change. And not everyone is always ready to do that.
Good luck! If anything, you’ll learn from this experience and grow as a trainer!
People do know themselves better than we know them.
As mentioned above have a heart to heart, or, professional to client talk around your expectations for them, and their’s for you. Maybe the weight loss is really not that important to them? Maybe, it is more important to you?
You need to discover where the block is, and move on from there, together, with a co-created plan that they own, because they designed it. They are the experts of them, not us. We are the experts in exercise.
People won’t do something “well” they don’t own. Challenges like this are incredible opportunities to get it right, or better, after dialogue.
I found this information in the ACE Personal Trainer Manual particularly helpful. It’s in the chapter entitled “Principles of Adherence and Motivation” under the subtitle “Role Clarity.”
“From the beginning of the relationship with each client, a personal trainer should clarify his or her role, as well as that of the client, as part of the written agreement. What are the responsibilities and expectations of both parties? What does each person need to do to hold up to his or her end of the deal? This information should be written down and agreed upon. If there are any issues or questions about the expectations, they should be discussed and modified from the start. This task is not difficult or time-consuming, but it is something that will help the client be vested in the program and feel supported, as well as maximize the client’s experience and likelihood for adherence.”
I hope that gives you some food for thought.