this is a difficult subject because people come to us usually in an effort to change something about their bodies, often associated with appearance.
My approach is to make sure that I am not making them feel even worse about themselves as they already do. This takes a bit of intuition to guess how a client will react to information you give him. Listening how the client expresses himself about his goals can give some clues.
I am always stating before the assessment that the very goal of an assessment is to find out weaknesses and that the report often looks ‘worse’ than things are because that is the focus. I often make statements like ‘client has very good posture overall but here are a few areas that need work’. It’s a matter of framing in a positive way.
As far as weight and body composition and measurements pertaining to that: sometimes it is as important to know when not to measure than when to do so. Particularly in the very overweight, traditional body composition methods are nor reliable. Some people will even resist a tape measure, and unless you are 100 % sure that it is long enough, don’t even try it. It would just add insult to injury.
In summary: I try to say as much positive as I can, but it has to be specific and true.
I always focus on the positive aspects of the person sitting before me. I begin my sentences with what they have done and then proceed to talk to them about other ways to meet their goals.
I go off of my Health Form that is very lengthy and detailed. All of my clients are very honest with their answers, so I don’t judge them, I just talk to them about their situation.
Like a few have said before try to keep it light and positive.
Highlight things they do great give them some improvement areas then sandwich it with a positive. They are coming to us as a professional so we really have to do our job to reach them on their level and show them how we can help them without being negative or over bearing. I feel a lot of times trainers are so focused on doing what works in study but in actual practice every client is unique and needs a open minded approach.
What I like to do is if coming to you with weight loss goals and they are telling you say I’ve lost 5 pounds but I’m stuck at this weight. Highlight it HIGHLIGHT it grab a 5 pound weight have them stand while talking to them to show them that’s a significant amount while talking to them you can then see what else they are doing that might have caused them to plateau and here is your chance to give them guidance as a professional.
If they can relate to you and trust you as a trainer you can get much better message delivery without having them feel bad. The tricky part is building that rapport quickly and most of the times the assessment is the beginning so you have to be really unique in your approach.
Hello Troy Lebehen,
I emphasize health and use an unmarked ribbon to take measurements so they see the improvement without a number attached. They step on the scale and I keep the result to myself/records. The client is boss, so, if they refuse anything, that is fine, too.
Did I mention that I emphasize health? Some clients are more happy by fitting into a piece of clothing than a number on a piece of paper.
Remember to emphasize that they came to you for health reasons, hopefully. If not, then explain the health aspect and that the rest will follow, like side effects to a healthy lifestyle.
Now we continue on to our enjoyable road to fitness and health.
NAPS 2 B Fit
We can not promote body satisfaction or prevent poor body image, only the client can do this for themselves. As explained above, we can be sensitive and accentuate the positive, as any compassionate person would do, but body image or satisfaction with self comes through self care behaviors and the intrinsic ownership of those.