It is going to depend on what their goals are. If someone is working towards competing in their 1st triathalon, I want them to focus pretty intently on that. But I try to have everyone I work with see the overall benefit of what they are accomplishing. Longer, happier, healthier lives and the ability to pass on their knowledge with confidense to those they care about.
I would start by putting them at ease at every opportunity.
I will ask them if they feel uncomfortable and then discuss it.
I also will get them to focus on what they are doing rather than who’s around them.
I get them to make eye contact with me
I also somehow remind them that everyone has their own journey and that we need to focus on the well being of the moment- not on what anyone else is doing
you bring up a good point. When I still trained at a gym, I often started with clients who had never set foot into such environment and who were very ill at ease. At that time, I often acted like a buffer between the clients and the surroundings. I usually tried to introduce them to others at the gym so that I would not be the only person they knew.
Eventually, as I got to know them better, I made a point of relating the exercises to their real-life activities. It did not take long, and they told me that they now were able to do (….. fill in the blank ….) which they had not done in a long time.
For some, exercises have their own rewards, they love to move and challenge themselves. Others need a little nudging; it is important to make it relevant to their lives.
A great question Andrew! I try to nip this one in the bud from DAY ONE! I do this by doing a bit of what Karin suggests here. I make it clear to my client that their wellness, health and ability to exercise is NOT venue-specific. They can get or stay in shape no matter where they are. In my opinion this helps them to relate health and exercise to themselves (the person) instead of to the PLACE. I do not want my clients to think of the gym as being the only place that they can seek fitness, health and wellness.
I hope that this helps.