I’m approaching the 3 year anniversary of becoming a personal trainer. So I’ve been in a bit of a reflective mood about the last 3 years, thinking about what went well and what didn’t go quite as well.
I must say I love my job. I love the freedom, I love the sense of reward of helping people and I love the relationships I’ve built with my clients over the years. I also love how this is just the beginning of my career and there is a lot more to do.
So here is a list of 10 things I’ve learnt in the past 3 years:
1. Getting Clients To Exercise Is The Easy Part – I must admit I’ve had a few clients who’ve dug their heels in a little more with the exercise but the majority have taken to it well. They all try really hard in training and most successfully commit to 2-3 good sessions a week.
2. Getting Clients To Eat Well Is The Hard Part – This the challenge. To be successful with exercise you only need to do a few hours a week. With your nutrition and your diet it is a 24/7 commitment which is where the problems lie. As you know I can (and often do) write all day about this. That’s all I’m going to say is it isn’t about fancy diets or anything like that, what most people need to do is simply eat less crap processed foods and eat more clean natural foods.
3. People Are Capable Of So Much – I’ve had clients lose more weight then they ever thought was possible, I’ve had one who ran the great wall of China Marathon and one lady who’d never ran in her life at the age of 50 to running a 5k. You are often capable of achieving a lot more than you think, aim high and see where you end up.
4. Exercise Has So Many More Benefits Than Weight Loss & Increasing Fitness – When I first started this I thought all my clients would either want to lose weight or get fit. In the past 3 years I’ve seen the power of exercise. How it can increase energy levels, reduce illness, improve productivity, increase flexibility, posture and movement, improve mood and have an all round positive affect on people’s health and their lives.
5. You Don’t Need Fancy Equipment – It’s definitely not about the latest fancy fitness equipment. If I kept on buying the latest fitness products I would have gone bankrupt a long time ago! I’ve found that I can give my clients an awesome full body workout using next to no equipment. That’s not saying I don’t use equipment, my gym has Dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, ex bike, cross trainer etc etc but you can get a lot done with very little.
6. It’s Not About Beasting Clients – I could give my client the hardest workout possible every session if I wanted to. Some may like it but for most, especially those new to exercise they won’t. It won’t make them feel nice and it will create a negative association with exercise. Exercise is there to be enjoyed.
7. Weight Loss Isn’t As Simple As Calories In Vs Calories Out – There is a lot more to it than simply eating less and moving more. For some people weight loss is easy, for others it is a long hard struggle. Everybody is different. A healthy body loses weight fast and an unhealthy body loses weight slowly. Improving your health should be the first priority. You can do loads of exercise and diet well but if you’re unhealthy you’ll probably end up burning out and getting ill faster than you’ll lose weight. The body needs to be cleansed and detoxed and then the weight loss will come easier.
8. Rest & Recovery Is Important – Many clients (and myself) often want to and they train too much. If you don’t give your body (and mind) sufficient rest in between sessions then you will struggle to recover and be in full condition for each session. This will reduce the gains you will make with each exercise session. It can be very easy to do too much exercise.
9. Benefits Of Sleep & Supplements – A poor sleeping pattern will drain energy levels and make weight loss more difficult. I encourage clients to get their sleep right first and this makes a hell of a difference. Get to bed earlier and aim for a good 8 hours sleep will make such a difference to people’s energy levels. I also encourage my clients to supplement with vitamin C and fish oils. I use Phil Richards Performance products and my clients do and we swear by them.
10. Short Term Programs Often Don’t Work – I do 4 weeks, 6 weeks programs but I try to encourage clients to start with a 12 week program. It takes a good 3 months to make some serious changes. If you do something for 3 months you are much more likely to continue doing it than you are for 4-6 weeks. I don’t mind doing the short packages say in the build up to a holiday, wedding etc. but on the whole I much prefer and find the success rate is up with at least 12 week packages. Also the clients who sign up for 12 weeks normally just keep going.
So there we have it.
Maybe I’ll do another one of these in another 3 years and see what else I’ve learnt.