Exploring the Client/Trainer Relationship
On the count of 3, I want you to close your eyes and think of the first image that pops into your head when you hear this word...ready?! One...Two...Three!
PERSONAL TRAINER! I'm hoping this didn't pop into your head...
Is it our job to challenge you? Yes! Is it our job to put you through the most hellish workout of your life, preventing you from walking for the next 3 weeks? No, in fact I would argue that is counterproductive and not the purpose of working out.
Even to this day, the fitness industry still has that "tough guy" persona and "more is better" philosophy. It drives me crazy when gym goers use muscle soreness as a scale to determine the effectiveness of their workout. I think Jillian needs a Snickers..she turns into a 'you know what' when she's hungry..
Enough of Jillian Michaels. The point of this article is explore 4 easy ways to foster a successful trainer/client relationship. Over time, I've built friendships with a lot of my clients. We have inside jokes, share life stories, and we work together to help each other improve. Every client is different in terms of their psychology, physiology/physical build, goals etc. As a fitness professional, I welcome this because it makes me better at my job in terms of exercise programming, cueing, body morphology, coaching tips...the list goes on and on! If you currently work with or have worked with a trainer before, here are 4 quick tips to consider that I believe help foster a successful client/trainer relationship:
1) Staying Personal Yet Professional- Does your trainer ramble on and on about and other useless while throwing random exercise after exercise at you? Are they gossiping and chatting during the entire session without giving any cues or feedback? Sure, personal training is social.. it is called "personal" training after all. But if your trainer isn't checking in with you during your workout, it might be time to re-evaluate things!
2) Communication- The key to any successful relationship is communication. Communication is important before, during, and after every workout. It's important for you, the client, to know what each workout will look like. A good trainer will also explain the specifics of your customized exercise program and why your exercises/stretching supports you in reaching your goals.
3) Active Listening- This goes hand in hand with #2 but some trainers out there will train you the exact way they might train themselves, but if it doesn't work towards your goals, then whats the point? Make sure that your trainer actually listens to what you're saying and what your goals are. You are working with a professional after all!
4) Coach-ability- A good trainer wears many hats: health coach, teacher, friend, "psychiatrist" (it's crazy what my clients will share with me!). A good trainer should be able to coach you up in every facet of fitness, whether it be how to do a certain exercise or stretch, debunking nutrition myths, prescribing cardio workouts, etc. A good trainer will also keep you accountable. We invest time and energy into your health, committing ourselves to your success. Like any relationship, you can probably tell if someone doesn't fully commit.