Get ideas for keeping it real and keeping clients happy.
One of the more challenging aspects of the trainer-client relationship is making sure clients' expectations and goals match what's realistic. "You will not believe how many times clients have asked about increasing height," says David Van Daff, NASM-CPT, PES, CES, NASM's Vice President of Public Affairs. "But a personal trainer needs to provide a pathway for clients to reach realistic goals."
Here, Van Daff shares how trainers can address three common client expectations.
Expectation: Extreme, fast weight loss
Clients may see weight loss on TV shows like The Biggest Loser and believe a trainer will help them lose 30 pounds in a month.
Reality: Safe, healthy weight loss is gradual and should be about one to two pounds a week. When a client wants to lose a lot of weight, don't say it can't be done. Instead offer a road map to do it safely. Stress that the best way is to ensure the weight stays off is to lose it gradually.
Expectation: Spot reducing
Frequently, clients ask trainers to help reduce the amount of flab on specific body parts such as the belly, hips, and thighs.
Reality: Explain that the body doesn't operate that way. Stick to measurable goals, such as body-fat percentages, resting heart rate, weight, or inches lost, so that a client can gauge progress.
Expectation: In-they-gym relationship
Some clients think that trainers train them for one or a few sessions a week and then leave them to do everything on their own.
Reality: Clients may not know the trainers offer exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle programs that cover both in and out of the gym. Trainers keep clients motivated and encouraged beyond their sessions. And if a client's sessions are coming up for renewal, be sure to review the benchmarks that have been achieved so far and remind the client about previous -- perhaps no-so-successful -- ways he or she has tried achieving and maintaining fitness-related goals. Think of selling a package of services instead of just workout sessions.
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