Suddenly in the market for a new trainer (who could have seen that coming?), I enter her story. After lots of follow-up questions, a real heart-to-heart discussion, and a few tears – from both of us, if I’m honest – I think I know what the trainer was trying to say. First, here’s what I learned:
- She’s been doing the exact same workouts and nutrition plan for two years
- These are fine workouts (classes and personal training sessions), and her nutrition is not bad either
- She works hard when she works out – five days a week!
- Her sleep habits are not great
- She has stress, just like everybody else, but manages it reasonably well
- Her trainer has asked her to try new workouts, or increase resistance/intensity, but she doesn’t want to because she likes her current workouts and is concerned about injuries, both old and new
It sounds like her body has found a comfortable weight that matches her energy in versus energy out and is perfectly happy to stay there, doesn’t it? So this is what I think her original trainer was trying to say:
Right now, it isn’t a priority to you to make
the changes in your life necessary to get the
results you’re looking for.
And I think he was right.
The kind of results she’s looking for don’t match the kind of effort and sacrifice she wants to make right now (major meal planning! cut back on wine! sleep more!). And that’s okay. But it does beg the question, “What does she want from her trainer – pie-in-the-sky motivation or a reality check?” Trainers have a responsibility to help clients set reasonable, achievable goals. We also have a responsibility to keep clients motivated and encouraged. But nothing kills motivation like the feeling of failure, even if that feeling is a direct result of an inappropriate definition of success!
So tell me – at what point do you want a trainer who encourages you to reach for the sky, knowing it is out of reach right now and when do you want one who is honest about the difficult steps in a fitness journey and helps you take them? Never? Right away? I believe the answer is tough love with unconditional support, even when it hurts, but I’d love to hear from you. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Some details of this case study have been changed to avoid identifying or embarrassing either the trainer or client. They are both awesome people!