Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I hear ya...

One of the mistakes many trainers make (in my opinion) is to not "listen" to their clients. There is a saying: "90% of communication is non-verbal" and I believe that to be so. Many times clients will come in and say "I want to lose weight" or "Get stronger, feel better, have more energy..."

If I take them at their word I would dive right into a series of exercises that are in line with their goals.
The problem is that many times, client goals & wants are not
A client may have the goal of losing weight but doesn't want to change their eating habits. They may have the goal of having more energy but don't want to come in on their off-day to do some extra Cardio work. This can be frustrating for the trainer and ultimately for the client as they sense the trainers frustration.
I suggest that clear communication of Goals, Needs, Wants & Expectations be explored and articulated during the assessment.
I have learned through many failures to "listen" to my clients; not just their words, but their expressions, mannerisms and body language. As a Fitness Professional it is important to always keep our energy level high during each session with every client, however the session will crash and burn if the programming selected doesn't match what the client wants. Rather than fight a losing battle, I suggest that you give your client as much work as they can handle-that they want! The important thing is that they are making progress in a safe & enjoyable fashion. When safety or enjoyment are lost, so too is the client. Ask for feedback frequently and trust me, if your client wants to be pushed a "little harder" they will tell you verbally. If you are pushing them "too much", you might be not "listening enough." So keep your eyes, ears & mind open.

Frank Pucher

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