such as correcting bad posture due to upper crossed syndrome, do you design a program that focuses on exercises that strictly work the back and shoulders, or do you just give them a full body workout instead? Same question with a client with specific goal in mind, such as tightening up glutes and thighs, do you give them a workout that consists of just exercises for the glutes and thighs, or do you give them a full body workout and just include 1 or 2 exercises that focus on glutes and thighs?
Hello Melissa Sigler,
I like how Bryant Seton puts it: “give them what they want, sneak in what they need”.
That is exactly what I do, with some simple explanation and gentle persuasion, of course. The clients are always happier that way.
Clients come to us for the professional advice, right? Therefore, it is our job to do right by them while keeping them satisfied.
After you perform an assessment on the client, you’ll have a better idea about his/her goals and areas that need the most attention. If a client comes to you with a specific goal or weakness they know needs improvement, then you will have to find the best way you can to help them reach that goal. Once you have done the assessment and you have discovered any weaknesses, inform your client and let him/her know what your recommendations are and go from there. Most of the time, clients have no idea how to reach their goals, which is why they come to us. If you believe that the best way to approach their issue is to target just that specific area, then that might be the best way to go about it. Once you have corrected those specific issues, you can re-assess their progress and come up with a new plan for continued improvement. If those issues can be corrected by engaging in a more general approach then you have to make the call to proceed in that direction. Sometimes, fixing small things first will help clients improve their overall fitness and condition, which will make it easier for you to design a fitness program that will target their whole body. Whether a client comes to me with an imbalance that needs work or an area of their body they’re unhappy with, I don’t think I’ve done my clients a real service unless I’ve taken them beyond working on specific issues or body parts. Having toned glutes for example, doesn’t translate to improved fitness or overall health. Particularly for clients who are self-conscious about specific body parts, I try to get them to take the focus off the body part and redirect it to improved health, diet, cholesterol, etc., and I often get them to do this by suggesting they train for an event.
1) Well, personal training is a service industry and you do have an obligation to give them what they want. And if you want to retain that client, you must satisfy them. And you also have a moral obligations to give them what they need and do no harm.
2) In order to correct an imbalance, your training needs to be imbalanced, such as additional corrective exercises. Using a corporate population as an example, those who sit in desks all day. They typically need a lot of pulling exercises to strengthen their back. That doesn’t mean we won’t allow them to do a bench press, because maintaining the other muscles of the body is important. However, there will be a lot of rows and pulldowns, and even deadlifts and squats if they’re able. They all incorporate the muscles that need to be strengthened, but they also affect areas that need to be maintained. They are also large muscle groups and can burn a few calories.
3) It may vary by the amount of time you have and their ability to complete lifts. As I said, deadlifts and squats are great exercises, but also very technical. And if done poorly can be very dangerous and counterproductive. And although I would like to spend months doing corrective exercises with every client, its just not going to happen. They may not have the patience, interest, or money in doing so.
In short, the answer is… it depends… the same answer for most clients or dilemmas in this industry.
My advice is to stick to solid virtues and principles and keep in mind what is in the best interest of the client. Use only the knowledge you have and refer out if you can’t help and or don’t know what to do. Trial in error is acceptable as long as you’re not putting them in danger (sometimes that’s how we learn).