Stress. Let’s talk about it. Oh, wait! No! No one wants to talk about stress… It may stress them out. Ok, cool. No trainer needs to force a client to talk about the things that stress them out. Every trainer, however, should be talking to clients about how they manage their stress. Fitness and health goes well beyond exercise. In fact, exercise alone can only mildly affect an individual’s fitness and health if other pillars of health such as like sleep, stress management and nutrition aren’t prioritized. I talk to clients in terms of pillars of health, sleep being most important:
1. Sleep. If client’s aren’t sleeping seven to eight hours per night, good luck getting them to lose weight and keep it off. Taheri and colleagues found those who slept five hours had higher levels of ghrelin (“the hunger hormone”) than those who slept eight hours (1).
2. Stress Management. If clients have high stress and no management, good luck getting rid of the “pooch” on the client’s belly who eats “clean”, and works out five times a week. Some studies have shown an association between uncontrollable stress and abdominal fat distribution (2). You can read more about how stress and anxiety affects your health here in an article by NFPT Author Cathleen Kronemer.
3. Nutrition. You can’t out train a bad diet.
4. Exercise. Now the body is prepared for exercise once all of the above is in check.
Stress Management Techniques / 30 Day Challenge
Be the trainer who cares about the person outside of the gym. Be the one who’s love for health and fitness goes far beyond a paycheck. Be the trainer who is invested in their clients’ health outside of the gym and for the years to come down the road. Be the trainer who’s getting to the root cause of a client’s issue.
Helping can be as simple as printing off this calendar and giving to them as a 30 day challenge or just an idea of how to get the most out of there personal training sessions. Below the calendar are explanations of how to do each technique listed on the calendar. The main goal is to be doing something everyday to manage stress. You and your client. They say, “If it is important, you do it everyday.”
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing during Commute.
Deep breathing can slow heartbeat, lower or stabilize blood pressure and aid in disengaging from distracting thoughts (3).
Today during all commutes, focus on inhaling through the nose, deep into the abdomen for at least six seconds then exhaling through the mouth for at least 6 seconds. The whole way. No cheating. Take a note of how you feel when you get to your destination.
“The medical establishment has been proving that the mind can heal the body for over 50 years” says Dr. Lisa Rankin, an integrative medicine physician (4).
Read an affirmation / mantra out loud at some point today. Read it to some friends who are struggling with life. See how they feel afterwards. Each week focus on a different affirmation. Below is some affirmations for the Root Chakra. For the other weeks, search for affirmations for the listed Chakra on the calendar.
“I feel deeply rooted.
I am connected to my body.
I feel safe and secure.
Just like a tree or a star, I have a right to be here.
I stand for my values, for truth and for justice.
I have what I need.
I am grounded, stable and standing on my own two feet.
I nurture my body with healthy food, clean water, exercise, relaxation, and connection with nature.
I am open to possibilities.
I am grateful for all the challenges that helped me grow and transform.
I trust in the goodness of life.
I make choices that are healthy and good for me.
I trust myself.
I love life.
-Affirmations/Mantras provided via Chakra Anatomy (5)
3. Envisioning Color.
Color is simply different wavelengths of energy received by roughly 100 million photoreceptors in the retina such as rods and cones (6).
Close your eyes. Imagine a ray of red light energy coming from your abdomen, out into the world. Imagine the red light energy projecting out your back, out of your feet and out of the crown of your head. Imagine your arms out beside you and red light energy pouring out of your finger tips into the world, into the ground, spread over the entire land. Imagine yourself as a ball of bursting red light energy, exploding with projecting energy into the world.
Repeat with colors listed on the calendar on the corresponding days.
4. Essential Oils.
Research has confirmed the calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its lavender is inhaled (7).
Have your clients buy lavender and eucalyptus essential oils or give them to them for gifts, especially if they’ve spend hundreds of dollars on your services. They can use it by putting 1-3 drops in the palm of their hand, rubbing them together, putting their hands to their face and taking a six second inhale, removing hands, exhaling for six seconds and repeating twice for a total of three times.
5. Ground Yourself.
Today when anyone comes to you with negative energy, imagine that energy coming out of them, into the trees of around you, down the branch of the tree, into the shaft of the tree, into the roots of the tree, into the soil of the ground and eventually to the crust of the Earth where it meets positive energy again and creates life. Imagine that energy not even coming any where near you like you can’t absorb it even if you tried.
These are all little tools you now have to challenge your clients with and enhance your value as a fitness and health provider. This is all a little rock in a stream that hopefully creates a ripple affect we call global health and fitness.
CALL TO ACTION:
Encourage your clients to post the calendar on their Facebook page by sharing it on your Facebook page. Tell them to call out their friends who always complain about stress but don’t seem to be doing something about it. Have them have their friends participate in the challenge along side of them.
What methods do you use, or plan to use, to pull more referrals to your gym or personal training business? Let us know in the comments on Facebook.
If you’re an NFPT Trainer, join our Facebook community group!
- Taheri, S., Ling, L., Austin, D., Young, T., and Mignot, E. (2004). Short Sleep Duration is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index. PLOS Medicine. 1(3): e62. Retrieved from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/
- Moyer, A., Rodin, J., Grilo, C., Cummings, N., Larson, L, and Rebuffe-Scive, M. (1994). Stews-Induced cortisol response and fat distribution in women. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. 2(3); 255-62. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16353426
- Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Medical School. (2016). Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response. Retrieved from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response.
- Rankin, Lissa. (2013). Scientific Proof that Negative Beliefs Harm Your Health. Mind Body Green. Retrieved from: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9690/scientific-proof-that-negative-beliefs-harm-your-health.html
- Chakra-amatomy.com. (2016). Root Chakra – Maladhara 1st Chakra. Retrieved from: http://www.chakra-anatomy.com/root-chakra.html.
- Wolf, J. Kluender, K., Dennis, L., Bartoshuk, L., Herz, R., Klatzky, R., Lederman, S., and Merfeld, D. (2015). Sensation and Perception, Fourth Edition. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2015). Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. Lavender. Retrieved from: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender.