I've realised lately (and it's been brought to my attention) that I've been particularly hard on my clients, not just hard, but cold. This has been suggested by some, and I've had strong reactions from others. I want to address that which may not be clear to my clients, my thought process and why I've been turning it up lately.
I know some basics of fat loss training, I've done it, I've seen others do it, I've managed to get clients to do it. When you train 25-30 people a week you see all kinds of clients, some who do exactly as you say, they get the best results, others who work with you, to find what works for them within the guidelines you show them, they get pretty good results. Then you have others who don't listen, who don't do what you ask, who train to stay the same weight. This is where a personal trainer has the hardest time. Clients who listen are a dream, clients who work with you are a dream, clients who, for whatever reason don't listen (and I'm not saying they don't listen because they're lazy or anything negative) are really hard to reach. As a trainer you try different strategies, you try to be their friend, you try to be their boss, you try to give them information, you try to let them learn themselves, you push them, you let them go their own pace. Each person presents a kind of Rubick's cube you have to figure out.
I have to admit, sometimes I get fed up, and that's one of my failings, I admit it. Lately I've tried a zero tolerance approach, a kind of: "don't waste my time if you're not committed" approach. Has it worked? I'd have to say on the whole, no, no it hasn't. The clients who struggle, they feel picked on, bullied, they don't understand why this nice person is now being, what they must perceive as, a jerk..
It's not about bullying or being a jerk though, it's about having enough respect for people to push them out of their comfort zone, to push them to their goals (goals they obviously want). Has it always come out like that? Well probably and obviously not. So I've taken a step back, relaxed a little, and the people who get results, continue to get them (perhaps because they're intrinsically motivated, goal oriented people, who simply need the training information, as opposed to the encouragement). The people who train to stay the same weight, have been less unhappy in their training.
That's the rub though isn't it? Perhaps I'm missing some important part of the equation, that the people who I label as "training to stay at the same weight" simply enjoy their training sessions, enjoy whatever benefits they're getting from them, and if they're happy, and more importantly happy with the results they're getting, then my desire to get them to X bodyfat % is ostensibly, irrelevant!
It feels like a juggling act, with 20 balls in the air and the balls have minds of their own. It can be frustrating, knowing what the text books say, seeing what the professional strength coaches can do (and have done), wanting to be just like that, but forgetting you're dealing with fluid, conscious people, with their own goals and desires and time frames. Isn't my job to simply support them, coach them, and move them forward at the pace they want to (and can) move at?
I guess my apologies go to the clients who have felt pushed and bullied, as apparently unforgivable as it might seem, it was only based on my desire to push you to the goals many of you claim you want, by showing how to get them and not cutting you any slack when you send your diet and it has KFC and booze in it.