Your goal as a Personal Trainer or fitness professional is to change someones life.
Chances are you’ve got your own ideas of how is best to accomplish this, and you’re probably right.
There’s only one problem them, your clients (and potential ones) don’t see it that way.
As such it can lead to many a frustration, breakdown in communication, stagnation of change and eventually contract/agreement termination.
This is roughly what most clients want based on their initial knowledge base of PT/exercise:
- Guidance that’s easy to follow
- To be told what they thought is correct
- Dramatic physical/health change without dramatic lifestyle change
- Feeling better in themselves (usually linked to a memory of a time in their youth when they were slimmer, fitter, could eat/drink anything and not have to make any effort to stay ‘in shape’)
- Paying once, maybe twice and getting all the results they desire
The truth is that most average people don’t really understand fitness or health.
Many think they’re the same thing, and they’re not as you know people can be very healthy (from a blood/hormonal/etc test standpoint) while not being very fit, and vice versa.
This is where in your initial consultation you want to explore what their expectation is.
How does it differ from the reality you know to be most probable?
In my experience I’ve found the dissonance to be quite large, and I’ve made the mistake of correcting people in this regard which didn’t do me any favours.
Sadly you’re going to need to blend a little of telling people what they expect/want to hear, while setting up sign posts for the future that will enable them to become truly educated and make the changes that will benefit their life for the long run.
These three questions have helped me over the years:
- Think of ‘one thing’ you MUST achieve from this training
- Why is that ‘one thing’ beneficial to you?
- How will it make you feel and improve your life?
This can help you create an anchor point to refer back to when instilling habit/lifestyle changes.
Now this isn’t to say their one thing might not change as they gain a deeper understanding of what truly matters to them, however you need a metaphorical ‘North Star’ to guide you.
Understanding that the average person merely wants to feel less shit than they currently do is key.
You see people rarely seek change to become a better version of themselves, despite what endless social media feeds say.
They seek change because they’ve reached a point where they feel terrible enough to do something about it.
People don’t move towards pleasure, they move away from pain.
Go and read back over what has preceded this with this perspective.
You’ll start to see that it all links to the emotional driver behind the wheel.
So in essence what a client really wants from PT is this – To be heard/understood & not feel alone.
As an average person (whatever that means) it’s pretty terrifying to approach a PT/fitness professional you know. They have an inherent fear of being judged, of not being good enough and as such will immediately put themselves down, to convince themselves it’s a mistake to change and that they don’t deserve to feel better.
Try to remember a time where you felt like this.
In fact think of what hold you back from asking for help from a professional above your current level.
Make a list of what you’d want from them.
What you’d expect/want/need to hear.
How they would make you feel.
Why you would Hire them over someone else (what would be the deciding factor).
This can help because a lot of PT’s forget to see things from the clients perspective.
Go back over the above again, and feel free to fire across any questions you may have.