Some working psychology for the fitness professional.
Some trainers are excited to share their knowledge and want to impress their clients with all of their fitness wisdom, but be careful not to fall into the habit of rattling off facts and statistics or using industry-specific terminology. Clients may feel overwhelmed, stupid, or preached at- and will probably not stick around for long.
You will want to provide your client with relevant information in small doses. Too much information at once (information overload) is confusing and overwhelming. Burdening your client with information he or she doesn't need at the moment can have a reverse effect. Instead of feeling motivated, he or she may feel inadequate and exhausted. (Yes, thinking takes energy!)
Our ultimate goal as fitness professionals is to help our clients succeed. That is something we cannot do if they don’t stay around beyond one session. So, how do we get clients to stick around long enough to be successful, and to be successful enough for them to want to tell their friends about us?
Successful people own their decisions, behavior, and the outcomes of those decisions and behaviors. People own what they help create. If you want your clients to own their fitness plan, and the resultant outcomes of their implementations, make sure they are a part of the creation process. You can do this by helping your clients learn.
Helping them learn is different from teaching them. Teaching implies that they do not know something and need to be told what to do. 'Helping them learn' implies that they know it already, or have the capacity to know it very soon; you just help them realize this.
This, my friend, is empowerment.
Be Proactive in helping your clients to connect the dots on their own. If they ask a question, or if you see a "teachable moment," ask one of the following questions to get the wheels a'turnin':
“What muscles do you feel working?”
“When do you think is the best time to breathe out?”
”Which do you think is best?”
“Why do you think I said that?”
Of course, you don’t want to always answer a question with a question, as that can get annoying. However, most people would agree that the best way to learn is to figure something out for one’s self, so ask away and guide your client toward the answer when they need help.
Another way to promote independence and success is to give your client the authority to set and modify goals. While you may know that your client can lose more than 1% of body fat in 6 weeks, allow her to discover this as she reaches her goal ahead of time and modifies the goal for the next body composition check. The more the client is involved in designing her fitness plan, the more responsibility she will take in implementing it.
You will be a more effective and successful trainer/coach if you allow your clients the benefit of ‘putting two and two together’ and finding the answers on their own. Not only will this help them to remember the information, it will boost their confidence and self-esteem, prompting them to reach for bigger goals.
Imagine the empowerment they feel when they are the ones who figured out the benefit of using a stability ball, the reason why they need to eat breakfast, or the exercises to do to target a certain muscle. Little boosts like this at each session will keep your client inspired, motivated, and looking forward to the next appointment.
Photo credit: pixabay
Content credit: From my olden days of fitness training and creating a fitness manual.
fitness, weight loss, success, tips
The Motley Ms.
Hi! My name is Melinda. I'm a saved-by-grace-er, lifelong learner, INFJ, health & fitness trynabe, Mom, #vanlifer, mental health vlogger, and Director & Clinical Supervisor at a Child & Family Therapy Practice in Northern California.
The Motley Ms
The Therapist's Therapy Blog