A message to Personal Trainers & Fitness Peeps...
Are you - or your clients, trying to lose weight / body fat? Then the next few paragraphs are for you, so take 2 minutes to read the below.
Throughout life, many people have constant battles with trying to lose weight - myself included. We join gyms, weight loss groups, fitness classes, online clubs, attend Doctors weight loss services, buys meal replacement shakes, herbathis and slimthat, skinnytheother… we spend a FORTUNE on products, and services which are promoted to offer fast weight loss.
But you know what 99% of these products and services are rubbish, sure they may offer some weight loss in the short term - but I guarantee you that very very few actually offer long term success in a healthy and manageable way. Indeed, reality TV’s shows are victims of their own success with most contestants regaining all of their weight within 5 years again - in line with other diets whereby 95% of people regain their weight - and more, within 5 years of losing it.
But, how on earth then do you help someone lose weight - not for a month, a year, or five - but for life? Well it’s my belief that they key to success must start with the behavioural aspects of you / your client.
Thats right - the stuff they don’t really teach you much about in medical school, in fitness school, in life. This is where you’re skill at understanding people, at investing time in your clients mental health comes into play.
So many professionals focus on the 1 hour training slot they have booked in with someone, they will do their training session, look at a food diary, hop them on a scales and then send them off on their way - but what % of time is actually given to sitting down and talking, working and understanding the relationship your client has with food - and the reasons why they have the habits they do? Very few - yes you may ask the question why do you eat X or Y - but thats not what I mean, what the answers that you’re not being told, whats the body language used when discussing things, what causes clients to feel uncomfortable during training sessions - its the things they are NOT said that should be speaking volumes to you.
Now, as mentioned above very few people within the fitness or general practitioner fields are trained in the psychological side of behavioural change - and although I have trained a bit in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy I am by no means an expert. So then, what do we do ? The easy option - you take on the client and keep taking their money knowing deep down they are only going through the motions … OR … you show integrity and have an open and honest conversation with your client (or your trainer) and explain that right now the class / service is not the strongest option in helping achieve your results, and that you would be better off investing your money in getting the proper professional help from an specialist who can help you change your eating habits, or depending on the severity of your relationship - a eating disorders specialist.
This might sound extreme - but if you have had a challenging relationship with food for 5, 10, 20 etc years or more - then the workouts need to start mentally - as otherwise, as mentioned above - you will be going through the motions of attending a gym, making healthy food - but those underlying issues will still be there until explored, discussed and laid to rest.
Many of my own sessions with clients include LOTS of talking - with some activity yes, but they key thing to me isn’t about how many calories the person burns in the hour - instead its about how empowered, how positive and how self confident does that person feel when leaving me - in a manner in which will support there goals. Getting the trust of your clients for them to open up takes time - but, it can also lead to life long loyalty, respect and indeed business.
So.. to personal trainers, GPs, fitpros, weight loss clubs - I challenge you - do the right things, be ethical…. if you know deep down someone coming to your is going through the motions and isn’t progressing mentally and emotionally have an honest discussion with them, and depending on how that goes maybe even suggest they speak to a professional service to help support their behavioural changes.
So many gyms stock supplements, snacks, foods, magazines… but how many offer leaflets of eating disorders & support service, to date I’ve not seen a single one........ not one.