5 Things I Will Never Ask My Clients To Do
No two personal trainers are the same. We have different approaches, niches and ideal clients. For me helping my clients enjoy exercising is the number #1 goal. Always.
I firmly believe that you should never ask or expect clients to do anything you wouldn't do yourself. That includes in their workouts, with their diet or their lifestyle.
The beauty to coaching is that you can be as flexible as you need to be to make it work for the person you're trying to help.
So let's run through the 5 things I will never ask my clients to do and why...
EXERCISES THEY HATE
No exercise is so important you should force a client to do it. If there is something you genuinely don't enjoy or that doesn't feel good, don't do it.
You will be able to train the muscles using a different movement or exercise and not miss out on any of the benefits.
Making clients do exercises they hate makes them dread sessions, skip exercises or workouts all together. I never want to create a sense of dread for my clients or know that they don't look forward to coming and training with me.
Nutritional advice is fine. Giving meal ideas, food swaps and hacks is a nice way to support clients make positive food choices for themselves.
I prefer to help people understand why they eat and how to notice and honor their own hunger and fullness cues.
Meal plans are never a long term solution. In the short term they can give a structure to follow with clear calorie targets. Implementing these into very day life can be very challenging and lead to a lot of frustration.
If my clients want to improve their relationship with food, I refer them out to a nutritionist or dietitian for tailored advice and support.
SACRIFICE LIVING THEIR LIVES
Unless exercise is your profession, there is no real reason why you should be making huge sacrifices in your life to accommodate workouts.
I'm a personal trainer but that doesn't mean I'm in the gym 7 days a week.
If you can't help clients find a way to balance everything, one of the first things they will throw in the towel with is fitness. It's an easy element to a stressful life to drop.
It's short sighted to try and convince anyone their workouts are more important than the life they are living, their families, careers and relationships. Its all about balance.
PHOTOS & MEASUREMENTS
Unless a client specifically asks to track their progress using photos or measurements this is not something I would ever ask a client to provide for me.
There are many other metrics you can use to review progress. Whether that's the weight you're lifting, how much you're able to do in a workout, how many workouts you're able to do or how you've been feeling and sleeping. All of these are ways of identifying and measuring a clients progress.
The big issue with photos and measurements is that they are too easily faked (hello Instagram before and after pictures) and they don't always reflect a true picture of progression.
Do you need to weigh less or measure smaller in order to demonstrate you're fitter and healthier. Absolutely not.
Asking clients to take photos and measurements might be fine for some clients but it's not everyone's cup of tea. Unless a client requests it, I don't ask.
What this boils down to is do you want to spend your time weighing and measuring and tracking everything you consume day in day out?
Calorie counting only works based on recording your eating habits over time and being honest about everything you're consuming across a day.
In the short term, this might be feasible for some people, in the long term this becomes a huge time suck and this is where we start to guess and estimate calories and then the process isn't accurate.
In my experience, counting calories is boring, time consuming and can cause more harm than good. I say that from my own personal experience of being far too aware and overly focused on calories after using this method myself. It often leads to you viewing food as purely calories in as opposed to the additional benefits and joys of eating.
This is another one that works for some but not for all so it isn't something I ask of my clients. I'd argue you'd need to have a good and positive relationship with food in order to be able to have a positive experience counting calories, but there's no guarantees.
There you have it, some firm rules I have about what I absolutely will not expect my clients to do and nor would I do any of these things myself.
The lesson here is, if you don't want to do something or don't believe something will benefit you. Speak up. Just because a coach offers a service, doesn't mean you have to accept it.