I’m A Horrible Personal Trainer (Why It’s A Good Thing)!

It’s true. I’m a terrible personal trainer. I learned this early in my career, and it was the best thing that could have happened to me, my career, and my client results.

You see, in the traditional sense, Personal Trainer is there to provide workouts. From the Trainer and client mindset, results are all about the workouts and exercises you do.

Unfortunately, this is often the opposite of what people need to reach their goals and be successful.

People come to a personal trainer with the primary reason to “get fit” and “lose weight”. Yet, many people continue to struggle to reach their goals despite exercising several times per week, and “watching what I eat”…whatever that means!

At the beginning of my career, I would keep trying to push these clients harder in the gym, and provide them nutrition advice to get them better results. This usually ended up burning them out and creating injuries. Or getting them good short-term results only to have them “fall off the wagon” in a couple of months.

Thankfully, it didn’t take me long to realize that these people didn’t need a personal TRAINER. They needed a COACH.

These clients knew that in order to “get fit” and “lose weight”, they needed to “exercise regularly” and “eat well”. The problem is that this was only part of the success equation, and they weren’t doing these well, or consistently.

Providing them with harder and more complex workouts wasn’t the solution.

This realization was how I came up with my 165-hour rule.

If you’ve heard me speak, or read my previous posts, you may be familiar with this rule already. It gets repeated regularly because it’s so important, and so few people actually use it to their advantage.

In a nutshell, the few hours you spend exercising are great, but they won’t help you reach your fitness, weight loss, health, or happiness goals unless you change the “other 165 hours” in your week.

This simple concept is what’s needed by most people who struggle with excess weight, high stress, poor health, and poor fitness.

I believe so strongly in this concept that I’ve “fired” a number of clients because they weren’t open to changing their perspectives.

These were the clients that would hire me as a personal trainer and continuously complain about a lack of results.

Some of them even came regularly to their sessions, but most of them were sporadic at best in their consistency. They wouldn’t do their “homework” and seemed to always have excuses about why they had to cancel, or couldn’t get their homework completed.

The reason for this is often because people know what to do, and even how to do it, but they are unclear about WHY they are doing it.

A person’s WHY goes far beyond the number on a scale, or inches lost.

Those factors can be fine as one type of objective progress measurement, but they are useless. Or counterproductive without being clearly linked to WHY the person is in their current state of health, and WHY they want to change.

Typically, diving into the real reasons behind people’s health and wellness goals was a great catalyst for change. Together, we discuss the challenges, frustrations, feelings, and beliefs about living a healthy, active, and fulfilling life.

The outcome of these coaching sessions provides the client with a strong sense of clarity, purpose, and passion for making the necessary changes.

To me, this “light bulb” effect is what the coaching process is all about. It energizes me to see the light of renewal and enthusiasm in a client’s eyes.

Call me a coach, educator, facilitator, but whatever the title, I view my job as helping each client experience their healthiest, happiest, and highest-performing self. I’m committed to facilitating whatever changes are necessary to make this happen.

Unfortunately, after having multiple conversations about changing their other 165 hours, some people were unwilling to make even the most simple changes.

In these situations, I politely let them know that they can continue to waste their own time. But that I would not continue to let them waste my time.

The door would always be left open. And I always let them know that they could call me when they felt they were ready to take ownership of their actions, and responsibility for their part in the coaching relationship.

This was a difficult, but necessary conversation to have. It was also hard for clients to hear, and was often enough to help clients make the required changes in their life. I wasn’t concerned whether those changes happened with me, as long as they happened.

To wrap up, here are 5 key factors to achieving transformational results:
  • Gain the knowledge necessary to do the right things
    • Can be done through research, coaching, courses, etc.
  • Set SMART(ER) goals
    • Goals should be meaningful, action-based, short, medium, and long-term, outcome-based, process-based, elicit a strong emotional response
  • Small daily habits in each of the 4 Pillars (Mindset, Habits, Movement, Fuel)
    • The simple things that have nothing to do with workouts or the gym
  • External support and encouragement
    • Can be from your peer group, coaches, mentors, community, etc.
    • More is better, but sometimes it requires a change in your social structure/community
  • Regular evaluation and follow-up
    • What have I accomplished? What’s working? What’s not? What changes need to be made? What goals need to be updated/revised?

Dialing in your other 165 hours is critical to success outside and inside the gym. If you are someone who loves working out, the other 165 hours will help you do more and be better in the gym.

If you don’t like the gym, that’s fine. You never have to go again. Seriously!

Movement, activity, and exercise do not need to be done in a gym. They just need to be done.

What accountability and ownership are you taking in your own journey to better health?

If you were a coach and had yourself as a client, would you be at risk of being fired?

If you feel you could improve your time inside or outside the gym, and that a coach would improve your chances, just reach out! We at FRESH! would love to help!

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