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Help Your Clients Stop Sabotaging Their Health and Fitness Goals

Help Your Clients Stop Sabotaging Their Health and Fitness Goals


Most fitness clients have loosely defined, but well-intended, fitness goals that they hope to reach by working with a personal trainer or nutrition coach. Often times, these goals are focused on losing weight, building muscle, increasing energy, or improving eating habits. Even the most concerted efforts to health, fitness, or nutrition goals can be derailed by small actions that can carry a negative impact.

SMART Goal Approach

Fitness professionals should be a big believer in the ‘SMART’ Goal approach when goal setting with a client. This acronym translates to specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. This ‘SMART’ model is used by many fitness professionals and incorporates the following principles:

Specific: Having a well defined and specific goal with an intended outcome to achieve is important. Client goals will contain a detailed description of what will be achieved when the goals will be reached and what actions will be taken to achieve those goals e.g. losing 10 pounds in 3 weeks or 30 pounds in 3 months and switching over to whole foods.

Measurable: The client’s goals should be assessed throughout the length of the leaning out phase by using body composition and fitness assessment tools. This baseline data can then be used to track and adjust any variables for continued success with the goal setting for achieving a stage-ready lean physique on schedule.

Attainable: All the goals should be achievable but challenging!  The support network should be offered to ‘challenge’ a client in the right environment and for them to also grow as a person.

Realistic: This part of the goal will be working towards an objective that one is willing and able to do. It is important to believe in this part of the process and it is desired to establish whether past experiences connect within this area. Establishing what factors are required to make this goal realistic is also important (e.g. work schedule, sleep patterns, eating and exercise habits, etc).

Timely: All of the goals discussed should have a specific date to completion and they will be realistic, but too distant in the future. As mentioned previously lots of well-structured short goals make up long term goals and dream accomplishments.

Common Sabotaging Behaviors

As a Certified Personal Trainer or health coach, you should keep an eye on the habits your clients engage in outside of the workout session with you.

Ignoring the Importance of Well-balanced Nutrition and Skipping Meals

Your clients can engage in physical activity daily and be fully committed to living an active lifestyle and still not see progress or a change in body composition if their diet is not on point. When helping your clients identify specific fitness goals, help them understand the key role a balanced, consistent, and healthy diet plays in achieving those goals.

While weight loss does require a caloric deficit (more calories burned than consumed), skipping a meal or snack in hopes of jump-starting weight loss is a huge misconception. Over time your client’s body will adapt to the activity, meaning it will burn fewer calories doing the same thing, and require more time to burn even more.

Eating too few calories will not support your clients’ efforts to get in a good workout. The body simply won’t perform. Take the time to teach your clients about healthy snack food options that will not only leave them satisfied but will fuel them for the next workout.

Focusing too Much on Cardio

A cardio-only program will do little to build lean tissue, which is more metabolically active at rest than fat tissue, and also put one at higher risk for injury having neglected the soft tissues and joints that support this constant activity.

Adding a weightlifting regimen to the workout plan will not only build that lean tissue but will increase the client’s metabolic rate and favorably impact body composition. Encourage your clients to lift a serious amount of weight and continue to add weight as they get stronger.

Not getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is where the repair work is done inside the body. Averaging 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night does not facilitate repair or growth of tissue. A lack of sleep makes the body slow and inefficient and your client’s performance in the gym suffers. Additionally, when they aren’t getting enough sleep, your clients tend to make convenient, rather than healthy, food choices. Poor sleep also takes a toll on a client’s motivation and commitment to get to the gym and be active.

Avoiding Rest Days and Self Care

Everyone has their limits. At some point, motivation wanes and desire goes dormant. This happens when clients over train or disregard their trainer’s advice to take a rest day each week. Avoiding or ignoring rest and self-care is a fast track to burnout. As part of a client’s workout program, build in mandatory rest days complete with ideas for self-care and recovery. Send a text and ask your clients how they spent their rest day.

Starting a Personal Training Career

Check out what it takes to start a career in personal fitness training. This is your most affordable and fastest way to become a highly qualified personal trainer.

There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.

NESTA coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.

That’s it for now.

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