I have worked in the health and fitness industry for nearly 14 years, I started out as a gym instructor, as many do, doing programs and inductions for gym users, I progressed to personal training and ran my own personal training business for a number of years, now I work in a high end health club. Over this time I have had the opportunity to work with people from all backgrounds with the vast majority of them coming to me for weight loss and to get a bit fitter. I would suggest that around 95% of these people had this as a goal the other 5% you could put down to rehab and sport specific training.
As a trainer you want to get the best results for your client, when they do it's one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. It also helps build your reputation and hopefully bring more clients in your direction.
I'm going to lay out a generic process of meeting a client and how you would generally proceed with helping them in their goal.
1- We will sit down for a chat about goals. previous history and potential health issues. Perhaps we will take blood pressure and other basic health markers like weight, BMI or body fat percentage. Maybe do a fitness test or peak flow measurement to get their baselines and starting point.
2- Construct a exercise programme, usually consisting of a 20-30 minute cardio based exercise followed by a selection of resistance exercises and perhaps some abs work followed by stretching. Show them how to do it, put it all on a programme card and send them on their way with a "see you in 8 weeks".
3- Give out nutritional advice based on the recommendations of reduce your calories, eat low fat only and get your 5 a day along with your whole grains.
4- If working on a personal training basis you would monitor more closely and vary the programming in your sessions more often. Perhaps you would give them a diet plan to follow for the week.
Sounds easy, but does it work?
Unfortunately in my experience not very often, there are some cases that yes we see results but not for the long term. Does this mean you're a bad trainer? Probably not, but it's a question I asked myself over the years.
So why are they not getting results?
It may just be non-compliance to the programme, or perhaps they are lying to you and themselves about the diet. But what about those that are doing the workouts and are following the diet to the letter, even having personal training 3 times a week and it's still not working?
The simple answer WE ARE GIVING THEM THE WRONG ADVICE! Now it's not the trainers fault, we are just passing on the information that we are taught, but that information is flawed. Those of you that read this blog regularly will know I do things a little differently now.
Why it changed for me
Although I was looking for answers from other directions I came across this lifestyle concept quite by accident when one of my clients gave me Professor Art De-Vanys book The New Evolution Diet. It not only changed my thoughts on how we should be eating but inspired me to dig deeper, and here I am now having read book after book on the subject, online articles and listening to podcasts in the field passing the message onto you.
I have experimented with things over the years adding new information and ideas to the plan and seeing if they work, and for me I have come to what I feel for myself is a healthy and sustainable lifestyle that has got me in the best shape of my life.
And then there are the clients I work with, suddenly we are getting results, and sometimes in a big way. Weight loss is great but when you are seeing people coming off medications for IBS and blood pressure, having better blood sugar control as diabetics and just saying how great they feel it all starts falling into place. And this is just with the diet shift.
If only I had this infomation 14 years ago when I started out. I think of the hundreds of people I worked with and gave them advice in good faith that didn't help. Do I blame myself? No, I was just inside the bubble of the mainstream advice at the time, just passing on what I had learned, But think of the help I could have given them If I knew then what I know now. And I'm still learning.
The take home message from all this is that the information is there if you look for it, The fact you're reading this you are probably already on the journey of discovery so stick with it and find what is best for you. Be your own teacher and if something doesn't work for you experiment and find something that does. Our species would not be where we are today without lots of experimenting in some way, you have the knowledge so use it.