Finding out a client's true workout Motivation is key to creating a workout plan that will meet their needs. Today we'll discuss some top reasons people look to personal trainers for help.
To Please a Spouse or Parent?I became a personal trainer as a 19-year-old college sophomore. One of my very first clients was a relatively young mom who wanted to be trained early in the morning two days per week. Going into our first meeting (which I was slightly late to) I assumed that this client was going to be pretty excited to get going; after all, she wanted to meet at 6:00 a.m. However, I soon found out that, despite our early start time, the client would have rather been anywhere else than our training session. It took a few sessions to determine what her true motivation was, but before long it became clear that she was only going through the motions of training because her husband was pushing her toward it and had already paid in advance for the sessions. Once I understood this, I was better able to connect with her and understand the motivation for her training. In turn, I was slowly able to show her the value in working out for herself, not just for her husband. Learning about the things that prompt a client to engage in personal training is a key step toward being able to motivate them from the start.
To Look Better Quickly?One of the most common reasons people hire a personal trainer is to “get in shape quickly” to meet some important deadline, such as a wedding or a class reunion. It is very difficult to change people’s habits. Usually, some life event has to occur in order to motivate a person to make a major change, such as hiring a personal trainer and getting in shape. One of the pitfalls that you, as a trainer, have to watch for when someone wants to get in shape quickly is to give in to the client’s wish and allow them to set unrealistic goals and engage in activities and training methods that are at best unsustainable and at worst dangerous. When a client sets these unrealistic goals, they are setting themselves up for disappointment. Once they have made it to week three and they haven’t lost 40 pounds of fat or gained 40 pounds of muscle, they often become discouraged and want to quit. It is your job as a fitness professional to help keep their expectations realistic from the start and encourage them to stick with healthy, sustainable methods for getting into better shape.
To Appease Their Doctor?Sometimes a client will come to you and you will need to refer them to a doctor before you begin an exercise program. At other times, the only reason a client has come to you is because their doctor (strongly) encouraged them to in order to prevent or help treat one or more specific health conditions. In this situation, your client is likely to be coming to you with a fearful, timid mindset. They could be embarrassed or ashamed that they let themselves get to this point and harbor feelings of guilt or regret for not taking better care of themselves. While these clients certainly need to be pushed, they are likely the most physically and mentally fragile clients that you will encounter. It’s important to spend a great deal of time up- front simply teaching and talking with this client in order to educate them and make them feel more comfortable with you prior to pushing them very hard. Many trainers make the mistake of treating all clients the same regardless of that client’s mindset or situation. This will inevitably lead to a strained and very brief pro-client relationship.
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