I’ve been asked many times by both personal training clients and prospects, friends, fellow trainers and even the stranger on the street who suddenly stopped walking, look at me and ask – ‘Excuse me, are you a trainer?’

Here’s what the usual answer that I give them 🙂

“Feel better first”

That is what I would say to them first as I want my clients to feel better in their bodies and enjoy a more capable day-to-day movement experience. Once I have provided that, their abilities and their outlook on exercise often improve, and the likelihood of program adherence goes up.

“Get to Know You”

I get to know them personally and build individual profiles of their previous experiences with exercise and food. By understanding these issues, I help clients overcome them and change clients’ perception of exercise. It is important that I understand what types of exercise my clients feel positive/negative about. All the exercise in the world will not create long-term change unless clients have dealt with the personal, professional, lifestyle and social factors that led them to put on so much weight.

For example, many obese clients don’t like running, and may prefer cycling. Finding exercises that clients enjoy, especially in the early days of training, allows them to start to have a positive experience with exercise and to build strong foundations for later work. Into every training session build an opportunity for success, where clients can achieve a challenging but realistic goal.

Barriers such as lack of childcare, time management issues and no motivation are what keeping clients from working out. By understanding barriers, I help devise strategies to overcome them. Having clients “open up” and share their feelings, fears, concerns and frustrations with you will provide valuable insight into their mindset and the psychological barriers they are facing.

For example, if clients say that they can’t find time to exercise, I would go over their diaries with them and look at activities that they may be able to use as exercise, such as shopping. The thing is, be creative.

“Set Goals”

Obese clients need to see what they are doing well and what they want to improve. If their goals are specific and if they write out barrier prevention strategies before initiating exercise, then they will be better able to visualize their goals and be motivated to work towards them.

Goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

“Fitness Assessment”

Before any training commences, I would first complete a thorough health screening, seeking information on injuries, equipment likes/dislikes and risk-factor identification. From this set point, the objective is to increase cardiovascular endurance to reach the minimum of 150 minutes a week by the second week of cardiovascular training. To maintain interest and variety, I recommend three 15-minute periods three times a week on the treadmill, recumbent bicycle and rower or arm ergometer machine. Blood pressure is taken pre- and postworkout to monitor improvement and provide automatic feedback to the benefits of exercise. Endurance is built up over the first 2 weeks so that clients gain confidence, muscular strength and self-esteem from their accomplishments. My goal for them is to complete the workouts thinking they could have done more and eager to come back, until the desire for exercise as a lifestyle is established.

If you’re looking to start working out yourself or with your trainer, please feel free to use the simple yet POWERFUL strategies that I employ for my clients.

Achieving your fitness goals is not merely doing bicep curls and reverse lunges. Trainers need to incorporate psychology strategies if they want their clients to achieve their results fast and effectively. If you want to bring your fitness programme to a higher level and need further fitness facilitation from me or one of my fellow fitness personal trainers, do drop me a line at sharm@teamfitnessguru.com 🙂

Have a great start!

Sharm, MSc
Master Trainer

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