by Sam Greenwood
Founder of Amaven, online platform that helps personal trainers
Trainer Tip: Setting your client up for success!
Take a minute to scroll through social media, or whip open a fitness magazine, and you’ll be overwhelmed by lean, slender, and toned physiques. That’s because they are filled with fitness models; professionals whose salary depends on how strong their six pack game is.
We know this, and your trainer friends know this, but the problem is your brand new client doesn’t. They sign up to your services with the sincere hope that in a few months’ time, they too could be mistaken for someone who regularly graces the cover of Muscle & Fitness – only covered in less baby oil.
Building a strong and muscular physique takes years of dedication, commitment and hard-core training, and it certainly won’t happen overnight. The question is, how do you manage your brand new client’s expectations? You don’t want to dishearten them from the beginning, because it might encourage them to give up completely, or switch to a trainer who will tell them what they want to hear.
Here are a few simple rules that you should follow to make sure your clients are striving for progress and not perfection.
Trainer Tip #1: Learn client goals from the start
Ask potential clients what they want to achieve from the outset, not a few sessions in. This will protect you from giving people false expectations and bad training advice. Plus, knowing their aspiration from the beginning will give you a better idea on how to train them.
Trainer Tip #2: Be honest
If people’s goals aren’t achievable then be honest and offer them a realistic solution that will motivate them instead. For example, if someone tells you they want to lose 100 lbs for their wedding in three months, advise them that this isn’t possible but you could help them lose 30 lbs and keep it off for good instead.
Trainer Tip #3: Be sensitive
It’s true, trainers aren’t traditionally known as sensitive souls, but remember you are dealing with personal issues so you need to take an empathetic approach. Even if someone has completely realistic expectations, let them down gently, don’t be patronizing and try to provide them with an alternative solution.
Trainer Tip #4: Don’t offer quick-fix solutions
Now you might be one of the best trainers in the world, but you probably wouldn’t be able to turn every one of your clients into a bodybuilder in a matter of months.
Being honest about how long outcomes will take may not initially attract the same wave of clients as the guy who’s promising a six-pack in a week, but people will soon realize that you are offering a sustainable program that will help them lead a happier life in the long run.
Trainer Tip #5: Don’t judge a book by its cover
On the other hand, some clients will be adamant that they can achieve what they want, and they might actually be right. Just because someone is overweight, or has a particular body shape, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to achieve their fitness goals.
The best way to find out what your client can do is through a fitness test, so you can identify strengths and weaknesses and create a custom training (like HIIT workouts) plan to develops their skills.
While these tips may seem like common sense, you’d be surprised how many trainers forget that they are dealing with real people. Follow these five rules and concentrate on helping your clients become fitter, healthier and full of life.
Sam Greenwood has worked in the fitness industry for over 30 years and he has invented several pieces of equipment that are used in sports around the world. Sam is also the founder of Amaven, an online platform that helps Personal Trainers deliver better workouts based on their client’s strengths and weaknesses.