You're excited, you just met with a new client for the first time. You've established their medical history, BMR and nutritional needs, and determined movement patterning through various screens.
They've assured you that they're motivated and ready to work, and want to get started as soon as possible. You set off to work on your programming protocols and begin writing their first training block per the information that you've gathered. The first few sessions seem to go well, your client is working through your program and logging their food daily, they are the perfect client!
Then things go south. Over the next several weeks your client’s engagement starts to slip, the motivation that was there at the beginning starts to wane. They start missing sessions and forget to log their food, they start backtracking on their goals and their lives suddenly begin to get much busier, training begins to become a burden on their schedule. Like any good coach you work them harder (when you see them) the same way you were coached through a lifetime of athletics, you challenge them and hold them accountable.
Unfortunately, you eventually lose your client altogether, they "simply just don't have enough time to train right now," you chalk it up to them not being ready to do what's necessary and move on. After all, you can't do the work for them, right? You go about searching to find a more serious client.
Does this sound familiar? It does to me, I've personally experienced it and watched it play out hundreds of times within facilities that I've managed. The thing about this situation that bothers me the most is that trainers see it as an external issue and place the blame on the client's lack of accountability. The reality of this scenario is that the trainer never established a real motive for the training, and in turn never met the client at THEIR start point. They confused biometrics with intrinsic drivers and designed a program around tight muscular dysfunction and arbitrary weight change, rather than the actual goals of their client. They treated a well-intentioned client as a seasoned athlete and provided a program that was far too rigid and unrealistically expected them to adhere to it. The client quickly became frustrated, unmotivated, and eventually dropped off.
The scenario that I encourage involves a few key aspects that most trainers leave out.
To summarize, never forget that the ideal result for any program is that it is completed. Perception is relative to both bias and experience, make sure that your clients program is built around their input and experience, not your personal preferences. Make sure that you are meeting your clients at both their physical and emotional terms, on their turf, and you will truly help far more people.
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