|How to slam dunk an active, healthier lifestyle…
As a trainer and coach, I see many clients who struggle with the motivation to be more active and fit. Facilitating behavioral change also happens to be an area many personal trainers struggle with when training their clients. Here is an example: Client A hires a trainer to help them lose weight. The trainer knows what needs to be done. He knows how to guide the client through a great workout, burn a ton of calories, keep a good food log, etc. However, what the trainer may NOT know, is that deep down inside Client A may be feeling the following:
“I have been too indulgent and sluggish in my lifestyle. As a result, I am now fat and out of shape. The doctor tells me I have high blood pressure and bad things will happen if I don’t get active. Being at the gym now is my penance. Here at the gym, on the treadmill, SLOW calorie by SLOW calorie is going to be a long, brutal way back!”
How does a Trainer solve this motivational dilemma? Their client HATES exercise and sees it as a necessary evil. If Client A trudges through the monotonous work and even hits their weight-loss goal, long term maintenance seems improbable. Moreover, I’ve found if the focus at the gym is weight-loss alone most clients will give up before the finish line. For a true and real lifestyle change Client A needs to be taken from “I HATE THIS” to “I LOVE THIS–I can’t do without it, my workout is my favorite thing about my day–I AM fitness! I OWN fitness! This is WHO I AM!”
There are some excellent theories on Behavior Change in this area of Coaching Psychology. The secret sauce that has worked for me as a trainer and coach is realigning the client with what they LOVE. You see, for us fitness gurus, we have had at least one, but most likely many amazing fitness, sport, or physical activity experiences that have created very positive memories for us. Somewhere in our background we’ve experienced a win, been victorious, praised, respected, revered, represented well personally, socially, competitively . . . most likely it’s some combination of these. What some of us fitness gurus may not realize is that our clients are missing that! I once heard physical therapist and strength coach, Martin Rooney say at a fitness convention, “every client should feel victorious. There are many people out there who have never felt that!” When you train with Martin Roney, arms go up in victory.
Realigning a client with what they LOVE means building on positive association. I once had a client who told me two weeks into our training that she HATED the gym! When asked why, she told me that she hired me because she felt something was missing in her life, but didn’t know what it was and thought that personal training might be the answer. After listening, I asked her if she had done any sports or recreational activities in high school or grade school.
She told me that she played high school softball and was an amazing player at the time. When I asked her why she stopped playing she looked at me like that was a stupid question. “I grew up, got a job, became an adult.” I looked back at her like I was still waiting for a good answer and said, “So?” The following sessions consisted of playing some very active catch with the softball and gloves. She LOVED each session and couldn’t wait for the next. Weeks later, after softball drills, soccer drills, basketball drills, Frisbee, racquetball games, and a ton of very active fun, she found a few racquetball friends. Mission accomplished–she had rediscovered the fun in life again!
That is one of the very reasons I invented RigRack. You can literally take effective and FUN workouts ANYWHERE. Clients LOVE to workout outdoors at parks and on the beach. Throw in a BBQ after a killer workout with your pals at the beach and you have a PARTY!
Everyone has a body and moves it around. If we find out what our clients love to do, be it sport, recreation, or fitness–build on that passion! Capitalize on their victories in each session, surround them with social support–continue to build on those positive associations with exercise, and you will see fitness motivation change from CHORE to PASSION!