Paralympics – inspired or disheartened?

Here is a guest Blog by Cori Withell who is one of my coaching clients.

With the end of the Paralympics are you left inspired or disheartened that it is all over?  This is a fantastic opportunity for all fitpros to show what we can bring to the fitness industry.

For me, the Paralympics left me feeling motivated, inspired, dedicated, rejuvenated, revived, loving fitness, wanting more, bars set even higher, do I need to go on?!

This left me wondering how our clients feel.  Are they as inspired as we are or do they see it all as an unachievable goal?  If it is the latter how can we go about helping to change that mindset?  This then led me on to thinking well if we are going to successfully do that then we really need to understand our clients and I really believe this is where a lot us let ourselves and our clients down.  Too many trainers see their client as a body that needs changing, they see their clients as a challenge to change to habits more similar to their own – not all fitpros and this is an extreme example, BUT I am sure all of us can resonate with at least part of that!

How about stopping seeing clients as an object that needs to be changed but as a person that needs to be understood.  Clients come to us saying they are unhappy with their body weight/shape/size/lumpy bits/cellulite etc.  They put their entire store of happiness onto changing their body.  If you take that client on without probing deeper you are setting yourself up to fail.  How many of your clients do you really know?

Obviously you are not going to know every single one of your class members ins and outs of their personal lives but it is easy to pick up on things, I recently saw a FB post of a class participant saying how stressed out she was, couldn’t cope etc.  The only thing I needed to do was ask her if she was okay at the next class.  I did and I got the most glowing testimonial from her saying she had never known a fitness instructor to care so much.  Had I done anything spectacular?  Had I heck!  I had just observed, commented and then just made her aware that I was there if she needed any extra support and for me, a fantastic feeling of doing something that took seconds but that made such a positive impact on an individuals life.

If someone is stressed out to the max, is pushing them and getting them training harder really the best thing for them?  How about changing it to a Pilates or Yoga session, teach them relaxation techniques and simple meditation phases.  Training does not always mean working hard, sometimes the best thing for someone is to relax and just let go of the stress.  If you are not comfortable doing this then that is okay too, just link up with other fitpros that can and are good at it!

So, use the Paralympics to your advantage.  Get to know your clients as well as you possibly can.  Understand what their motivations are, show them how to reach those goals but be realistic.  If someone is going through a divorce for example, getting down to size 10 is not going to make it okay.  Take the time to really listen and ‘get’ that individual.  If you offer personal training then look at doing lifestyle and stress questionnaires if you aren’t already to truly help you ‘know’ that person.  If it is class participants, ask them how their week has been as they sign in, send them a card on their birthday, listen to them chatting with friends, I discovered it was a clients 35th wedding anniversary this way and the whole class chipped in for a huge bouquet of flowers, card etc.  Little things like that really DO make the biggest difference.

Never forget, you NEVER know what is going on in someone else’s life so try to make their time with you the same as the paralympics, inspiring, motivating and energising, never let them walk away disheartened thinking that they can’t.

Health and happiness x
Best wishes
Cori x

www.cwfitness.co.uk/blog
www.facebook.com/cori.withell
www.twitter.com/CWFitness


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