How Single Steps Lead to Grand Results

A deliberate, incremental client journey that led to health and happiness.

By Ryan Halvorson
Aug 16, 2015

Client: Mary

Personal Trainer: Jordan Rudolph, owner Unity Fitness

Location: LaCrosse,Wisconsin


Homeward bound.

About a year ago, personal trainer Jordan Rudolph received word that a married couple in their 60s wanted to meet with him. He had been working at Snap Fitness at the time, but the potential clients insisted that home-based training was nonnegotiable. Rudolph was initially nervous to meet with them—this would be his first experience training in a client’s home.

“I met with Mary and Bill on a Saturday morning,” he remembers. “It was an interview of sorts, and they mentioned that they had other trainers coming into the process as well. We discussed my training programs and methodologies as well as their goals and training history. Before I left, they said, ‘We think we’ve found our trainer,’ and we started on the following Monday.”


The couple that trains together.

According to Rudolph, Mary was to be the main focus of the training; her husband was responsible for setting up the initial meeting.

“Mary was mired in poor eating habits, lacked energy and motivation, and couldn’t do what she loved (golf and walking) because of joint pain in her knees and elbows,” Rudolph says. Mary mentioned that she’d like to return to her weight of a few years ago, so they settled on a weight loss goal of 90 pounds to be lost within 1 year.

Rudolph recalls that Bill did most of the talking while Mary remained mostly silent. “Mary and I actually had some pretty quiet sessions at first, but as we got to know each other the conversations started flowing and the relationship continued to grow,” he says. “We became more familiar with each other and our styles.”


A strong start.

After some basic initial strength and range-of-motion assessments, the trio got started with a 3-day-per-week program. “I started with supersets right away, focusing on technique, quality and safety,” explains Rudolph. “I used a superset like a squat with a row; a push-up with a lunge/leg press; or a dead lift and an overhead press.”

To supplement the sessions, the trainer provided Bill and Mary with exercise programs to be completed on their own. The couple began with 30- to 60-minute bouts of steady-state cardio, consisting of either walking on the treadmill or walking throughout their town.

“When Mary started to advance, I created interval training programs for her to do on her treadmill,” says Rudolph. “I went with more of the volume approach so we could keep the intensity down: for example, 5 minutes at an incline, then 5 minutes of rest, for a total of 40 minutes.” The trainer was also vigilant about helping Mary make better food choices.


It all adds up.

Initially, Mary achieved an average weight loss of about 2–3 pounds per week. That number dropped to about a pound per week as time passed. However, she still managed to reach her 90-pound weight loss goal 2 months early. Mary has stopped wearing her various braces because she no longer experiences joint pain. While training and nutrition guidance were paramount, Rudolph believes that it was all the “extras” that truly helped her achieve success.

“It’s like the ‘iceberg theory,’” Rudolph says. “It’s when we see our clients only 2–3 hours out of the week,” Rudolph says. “That means clients have 165 or more hours to make decisions on their own. A lot of those decisions affect their fitness goals in a positive or negative way. However, when trainers can influence a client for at least 100 hours of the week—through email, texts, social media and events—it makes a difference. The little things make the hard choices not so hard anymore and ensure that clients truly know you have their back and that you’re all in with them.”

“It’s unbelievable what my body can do now that Jordan has shown me how much it’s capable of,” Mary says. “I have more energy and more stamina. I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been.”

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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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