By Karyn Gallivan, MS, ATC, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, NASM-CPT
Contributor, Sports+Fitness Network
Last month I wrote a little bit about goal-setting, which got me to thinking… Having a goal is a great thing for a client, even if it is an ever-evolving process. Our jobs as personal trainers are unique in that we get to spend a lot of quality time with our clients; time that I use to ask questions and really listen to what I am being told. In addition to improving their fitness, quite often our clients consider us to be a good sounding board for their frustrations and a good resource to help clarify fitness and nutrition topics.
Being a resource is something that I take very seriously. I stay up on the research and all of the new fads, diet books, and exercise regimes. I don’t align myself with one product or training approach. And, I understand the role that nutrition and exercise habits play in the prevention (or management) of lifestyle diseases, which cannot be understated. All of this is an important responsibility for all of us given the plethora of information (and misinformation) that is constantly streaming our way.
Have you ever had a client that wanted to do a specific routine or who stopped seeing you for a while so they could “try out” another gym for bit? This is a common occurrence, as is the client who sees what others are doing in the gym and wonders (aloud) why they are not doing that same exercise.
There are so many philosophical approaches to both fitness and nutrition that it is easy to get entangled in the jumble of information and research. Sometimes all of this information and conflicting advice creates a state of paralysis for our clients; how can we ever know what is right if there is always some new research to tell us otherwise? Why start at all? My advice is always the same: If you are moving toward your goals, then whatever you are doing is right. If you are always looking at the next big thing, then you will be unable to truly reap the rewards of what you are currently doing. So, be where you are.
One of the responsibilities of being a personal trainer is to be an objective and guiding voice of reason. Remind your clients of their goals and how much progress they have made. Often. Every session that is not capitalizing on what is right, and how your client is progressing is a missed opportunity to build them up and create a true believer in the process of becoming stronger, fitter, and healthier. It is not about what everyone else is doing, it is about getting better –one little step at a time. How wonderful that we get to be a part of the process.