Here’s a question for you. What’s the hardest bit of a fitness course or exercise programme – getting started, being consistent or keeping it going for life? It might not be as obvious as you initially think.
Most Personal Trainers would agree it’s the start phase. Here, clients are making the biggest lifestyle transition, breaking down sedentary habits and replacing them with active ones, which let’s be honest can seem a little grueling at first. It’s a well-researched fact that it takes 21 days to form a new habit so there’s the solution, help your client get through the first 3 weeks and they’ve cracked it!
If only it were that simple. The joys, delights, norms, stresses and strains of daily life pose an ongoing potential threat to even the most committed clients. A two week holiday, a busy month of weekend weddings, an unexpected project that lands on your desk at work, illness, a new baby, relatives to care for, a lads weekend away, climbing the career ladder – the list is endless. All of these factors and many more and there ready and waiting to sabotage that carefully crafted exercise routine.
As an exercise professional whether you’re a Fitness Instructor assisting members or a Personal Trainer working predominantly one to one, with your talent and expertise it’s possible to formulate exercise habits, tailored to different client lifestyles, which will last for the long-haul.
The secret? Expect the unexpected. Even the most diligent of clients will at times come up with reasons not to train. Be there ready and waiting with a number of solutions to tackle those dreaded training saboteurs head on.
1 – Too busy
Suggest shorter workouts and be flexible about moving training sessions around to suit. If they really can’t commit develop a 10 minute programme they can do at home twice a day keeping their hand in until they’ve a little more free time.
2 – Social events
The biggest risk here is over indulgence from food and alcohol. Typically personal training clients who adopt an ‘all or nothing’ approach will feel demotivated and are at high risk of giving up. Plan ahead – devote time to talking about nutritional options and solutions that strike a sensible balance. Why not pack your kit and fit in some exercise? Is there a way to adopt a different nutritional plan in the run up and then indulge for a few days guilt free?
3 – Not feeling well
Whilst there’s conflicting research about when to exercise and when to rest through an illness, your client or gym member has to be the decision make here. Book in a rescheduled session for as soon as possible to help them get back to normal and ease them back in gradually.
4 – Too tired
Adapt and encourage. You have to spend energy to make energy so an energising workout often fits the bill nicely here. An alternative is a stretch based session, low on energy expenditure but a great circulation booster that also works wonders on posture and range of motion.
5 – Transport issues
These things happen. Can they make some of the training session? If not suggest something practical they go do on their own such as a brisk walk/run. Reschedule as soon as possible to keep up the momentum.
6 – Work & family commitments
It’s important to dig into this a little. Work-life balance is essential to optimum health and your client may need their training now more than ever. Shorter sessions, varied training times, an adapted workout plan – if you’re prepared to change things around you can help your client keep up the consistency until things return to normal.
7 – Delayed
Would a shorter session or rescheduling it for later help? If not, book in plan B so your client’s committed.
8 – Don’t feel like it
We all know that exercise boosts mood. Once those feel good endorphins start buzzing they’ll be glad they stuck with it and will leave feeling far better. Remind your client you’re in it together.
9 – Too expensive
How can you adapt your personal training service so that it works to their budget? Sharing the cost with a friend, one session a fortnight supported with a self-workout plan, prepay for a block of five or ten personal training sessions. What’s the ‘on budget’ solution for your client?
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