Being balanced and teaching balance in life and in health is easier said than done. Here are some ideas on how to implement balanced practices for your clients.
As personal trainers, we are there to help individuals reach their goals, we are accountability partners, motivators and many clients look at us as drill sergeants. We have to push the client to complete one more repetition, run one more mile and to drink one more bottle of water every day.
What many clients do not realize is that trainers are “normal” people too. We also occasionally skip a workout, have a dessert and don’t do that one extra repetition.
I want my clients to realize that I am not perfect. I encourage my clients to lead a well-balanced lifestyle, much like the one I live myself. I believe that personal training is not an all or nothing mentality, there needs to be a healthy balance. Mandating that your client does not have any more desserts, does not eat out, does not enjoy a beer or glass of wine is not going to get you very far as a trainer. The client will feel that the lifestyle is unsustainable, and eventually, they will fizzle out their workout program.
When completing an initial client assessment, I go further than seeing how well the individual can squat, what their history is and what their goals are. I like to have them walk me through their day to day activities, what their lifestyle is like, what they eat – all of this is to find a workout plan and lifestyle that is sustainable and achievable.
I also encourage clients to treat themselves on occasion. If their “guilty pleasure” is cookies – I encourage the client to pick a day that they will allow themselves to have cookies. This means, also, instilling the amount that they will consume as well. By no means do I encourage a client to eat a whole batch of cookies!
For example – my clients’ weakness is chocolate chip cookies, so on Friday’s s/he can celebrate their week of hard work by having two cookies. Eventually, I will introduce a healthier version, maybe a paleo cookie recipe, encourage them to try those. Then introduce the idea of having four paleo cookies throughout the week or two regular cookies on Friday’s.
Continue this mindset with whatever the “guilty pleasure” is. Treat this as a celebration, not a cheat day. This will inspire the client to eat mindfully, and it will help them understand how food affects their body and mood.
All of these options will help the individual live a well-balanced life. These ideas and mindsets inspire the client not to sit out on life activities because they need to lose weight or get fit. While we need to help the client reach their goals, it is our goal to help them reach a sustainable lifestyle change. Being a personal trainer is a balancing act between creating plans, encouragement, and motivation – as well as encouraging a well-balanced life for the client.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandy Smith is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Federation of Professional Trainers and a Certified Barre Instructor. With a degree from the University of Arizona in Geography, Sandy has found herself in the personal training industry through a long health and wellness journey. She has been an avid runner for many years, running in multiple 5k’s, half marathons, and even a hiking full marathon through the mountains of New Mexico – Sandy has found a way to train her body in the healthiest way possible. She believes in creating a personal balance in your life. Small steps made on a daily basis create a whole lifestyle change.