Whether they’re believing a bodybuilder, or a celebrity, or a known person associated with fitness (to clarify I’m not talking about the leaders in the fitness industry (or similar), think The Biggest Loser personal trainers intensely working out 350 pound people for 5 hours straight and they’re not even getting proper nutrition intake (may be an exaggeration but I think you can get the point I’m making) , celebrity fads/workout advice, a guy they know they always looked up to for fitness advice (guy giving out really bad advice on TV(Like Doctor Oz saying there’s a natural miracle diet pill/product, or the fitness version of that), bodybuilder friend, or similar), etc. That’s more or less what I’m talking about.), they’ll hear something from them that’s a either a common trend that’s a myth, something that has no evidence to back it up, or/and can even be harmful. And they’ll believe them over me.
The thing is, I’m in good shape but I’m skinny, even though I’m really toned I don’t have big muscles, I feel like it affects my credibility to client’s and athletes when it’s something like my word vs a bodybuilder’s or celebrity.
So how can I handle this, what are the best strategies?
Thanks in advance.
you will be fighting an uphill battle because you are dealing with people who WANT to believe the information that is (often falsely) provided.
You can educate and can come up with any peer-reviewed research paper you can find. If they want to believe otherwise, they will. (Case in point: look at the debate on global warming. It is so much easier to believe that it is just nature doing its thing. It means that there is no need to change.)
However, you can use your own body shape as an example of how genetics will trump celebrity advice. You could say something along the lines of “I have tried myself to build bigger muscles but had to recognize that, as an ectomorph, I can only expect results within the possibilities of my body type.”
It is also a matter of how much credibility you have established with your clients. I can safely say for myself, that my clients will take my word anytime over anything they see on TV. But I have trained many of them for years and have a proven track record of giving the most accurate advice I can find.
This is a really tough one, because some of the claims that less qualified or unqualified “trainers” make are so attractive that people would rather believe them than truth.
When I hear something a client or class member has heard, I don’t try to convince them that the advice is wrong. Instead, I ask a few polite questions that might lead them to find out more about where the information came from and why they believe it’s correct. “Interesting. How did they determine these results?”
You are not alone in this issue. I meet people all the time who like/prefer to believe what they hear or see on TV, Radio, magazines, online, etc. There are also a lot of them who like to follow some app they just downloaded without checking their credibility or success rate behind it (this is a subject for a different discussion). Everywhere you look around today you see the word “Expert” accompanying a large number of trainers, celebrities and the list goes on. Unfortunately the average Joe out there doesn’t know the difference between a TV, radio or other celebrity personality and those of us who have spent years really learning the science behind everything we do and who are not opportunists (like most of those who like to parade in magazines and TV).
At the end it comes down having them trusting you and start believing the information which you are providing to them. Our job is to help them understand that everyone is different and there is no one size that fits all approach out there. This can be done with spending some time with them, performing an assessment and then coming up with a solid plan.
We live in a society where image is everything and people don’t really care much to ask about all the details. I think thit is where you can help your clients understand the difference between the “false approach” of TV and other celebrity “experts” and the realistic approach of us to someone’s real needs and goals.
I agree with Karin’s answer. I hope this helps.
Hi Julian. The best you can do is back-up your ‘advice’ with solid data/research. At some point, either the client believes in what you are telling them or NOT. If not, then it’s up to you as the professional to decide whether their failure to believe and follow your advice is detrimental to their health/fitness. If it is, then in my opinion, I would no longer work with that client. At some point, your clients need to either trust the advice that you give them, or move on.
LaRue touches on a good point. When I give a client information, I know where it comes from and can tell my clients where it comes from (what body of research, and if it conflicts with another body of research, why this position is more likely to be helpful for this client).
As Karin mentioned regarding her long term clients, my long term clients know that there’s a reason for every thing that I ask them to do, and that if they ask me I can back up what I say. It’s a long-term dialogue, paired with results from my advice, that builds trust.