While I was as the health club the other day doing my cardio, I looked down from the mezzanine and saw at least a dozen trainers working their clients out and whipping them into shape. I really enjoy seeing someone push another person to do things they didn’t think they could do on their own.
As I watched the sequence of exercises from one client to another, one trainer to the next, it occurred to me that we trainers are like shepherds leading these clients through unchartered territory to get them to a goal they had little understanding of how to reach on their own.
What I realized was however close an analogy that may be, these clients were far from sheep! Sheep just follow the shepherd with no thought and have faith that they will be safe. While we do want to keep them safe and guide them, they cannot be blind by the time we end our journey with them. Challenge your clients to ask why, or better yet, ask them yourself.
Here are four important things to ensure your clients understand the “why” to ultimately help them reach their goals faster and safer:

  1. Why you designed their workout regimen the way you did. Most of our clients just do whatever exercise we tell them to do and just sweat in between the sets. Explain to them why their workout was made the way it was. Explain why you chose to work the body parts you chose and the sequence of exercises throughout the workout they will perform, and in what order. Talk to them about the method to your madness and what you are trying to accomplish by this particular design.
  2. What each exercise is designed to work, from the body part to the sensation they should be feeling due to lactic acid buildup etc. I have seen so many clients demonstrate an exercise with their hands but think it was working a different muscle.
  3. Why there are so many adjustments on the equipment. Many clients do not understand the biomechanics of the piece of equipment they are working on. That is why so many people tear up their joints and create new aches and pains. Look around the club and see how many adjustments need to be made for the people on the equipment and you will clearly understand what I am talking about.
  4. How the three fundamentals fit together and work hand-in-hand with reaching their fitness goals. I’m talking about weight training, cardiovascular workout and diet. Many of our clients do not understand how each thing plays its own role and how significant they each can be to getting to the finish line.

Career trainers are probably thinking this is very basic, too basic for a career trainer. Of course it’s basic; we understand it as the most basic principles of fitness and many times take for granted that our clients understand these basics as well.
So put your clients to the test. Ask them, “Do you know why we do this exercise this way?” or “Do you understand why the equipment needs to be adjusted this way?” or “Why is foot placement with certain exercises important?” The list can do on and on; the bottom line is if they know the answer, we are doing our job. If they don’t, we still have some work to do.
Happy Training!
Mike McDaniel is an authority of leadership, goal-setting disciplines, sales strategies and corporate physical fitness. He has been a professional trainer for over 18 years and owned two health clubs, employing over 75 personal trainers. Mike can be booked for speaking engagements, sales training or consultant at www.askthewhyguy.com.

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