7 Things My Clients Have Taught Me About Fitness
Being a personal trainer has taught me a lot about fitness. Of course, there’s the practical application of things: you should be better at anything after your first couple of years. Grad school, continuing education, workshops have all made me better at the science of training. But nothing, and I mean nothing, has been as beneficial to me as the lessons my clients have taught me about fitness.
You read that right. My clients have taught me, a personal trainer, about fitness. Being in the trenches with them has taught me about the art of training. See, I had learned a lot about how the body responds to exercise. But I was clueless as to how to apply that information to a single parent of three. In the science world, we have a pool of athletes who have no problem being poked and prodded while they workout. We can learn a lot about the body that way. The everyday person with the weight of the world on their shoulders is another story.
Like anyone who makes the jump from university to on the job experience, I was frustrated that I was struggling from day one. I felt like my education was useless and I was questioning my career choices. It’s hard to help clients juggle their workouts with everything else they have going on.
However, I was able to find away. It didn’t happen overnight, but working with a whole slew of different clients helped me establish these “guidelines” to getting in shape. So if you’re frustrated that you haven’t been able to stick with a routine, this stuff can help. And if you’re about to embark on a lifestyle overhaul, make sure you master these things before ever reading about protein, sets, and reps.
I work with a vast array of clients. Regardless of their job, how many kids they have, or what personal barriers they have to work past, they all have these things in common. I can’t promise that these things are what you want to hear, but I can guarantee that you’ll need to hear them.
- Everyone has time for exercise. Time and priorities are two different things. Of course not all of us can set aside 8 hours a week for training, but many don’t need that high of level of exercise. But the clients that make changes to their schedule, and even a few sacrifices, are the ones that end up with results.
- No excuses. There’s a saying: “if it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.” Those who get results don’t make excuses when they have a set-back. Make no mistake, set back’s will occur. You’re human and you have a life. But it’s what you do after the set back that can keep your momentum moving forward.
- Problem vs Solutions. You can focus on problems or solutions. Harnessing all your energy on problems doesn’t really do much for you. The clients of mine who drop 25 pounds admit that they have an issue, but they’re more concerned about finding a workaround. There’s even a term that therapists use called “solution’s focused therapy.”
- Progress, not perfection. No one’s perfect. Those who strive for perfection will never be happy. However, focusing on progress builds a road to success. Add 10 pounds to your squat? Awesome. Eat more servings of vegetables? Great. Here at UEFP we call this the 2% rule of progress. Simply try to be 2% better each week. This could be 5 more pounds on your barbell or an extra quarter mile to your run.
- Clear goals. Success doesn’t happen by accident. Having a clear destination that you’re passionate about helps you make better choices when life starts throwing haymakers your way. Every successful client does two things: they set a measureable goal along with a deadline. So “I want to lose some weight” is tremendously different from “I plan on losing 12 pounds in the next 45 days.”
- Behaviors, not outcomes. While it’s vitally important to set that goal, it’s only an outcome. The day to day behaviors are what will allow you to smash that goal. Your commitment level will dictate your behaviors – start small and work from there.
- There’s never a perfect time to start. Life is crazy – for everyone. If you wait for the perfect time to clean up your diet, it’s never going to happen. If you want it, go for it. Starting to make changes today will do wonders for you in years.
While protein intake, intervals, and weight training are all important to getting in shape, consider these six steps vital. You can have a copy of the greatest workout ever, but if you don’t have these six steps down pat, it’s unlikely that you’ll stay on point. And remember, this isn’t something I learned in a lab but picked up as a life lesson.