As personal trainers, we often want to provide clients with all that they need to meet their fitness and wellness goals. We of course are superheroes and can transform clients into superheroes themselves solely through our training, right? Insert reality check here because we realize that’s just not the case.
What do you say when your client asks you about going to a fitness class instructed by another fitness professional? Sometimes our clients need other resources to boost their interest and offer a different perspectives on fitness. Maybe we are planning to take a vacation or go on maternity leave and won't be able to give them their individualized workouts. Perhaps our client needs to workout at times when we aren’t available. Here's a suggestion, upgrade your role to become more of a personal fitness manager in any of these cases and direct clients to other resources that will help them feel successful.
After you recover from feeling like they are cheating on you remind yourself that you are in charge of helping guide your client in the right fitness direction. They trust your opinion and your guidance for their total fitness regimen. That’s a great place to be! You have stepped up from being "just their trainer" to their fitness/wellness/lifestyle director. A new role, so where do you start? There are many popular options out there: Orange Theory, Boot Camp, Beach Body, Insanity, Cross Fit, Zumba, Peloton, Soul Cycle, Pound, Barre, Aerial and Hot Yoga...and the list goes on.
The first step is explaining the difference between personal training and group exercise classes. If your client is used to personal training then taking a class may be an adjustment. Remind your client that the class is not all about them. (What?!?) Help your client set the correct expectation.
As the saying goes, the show will go on! If a participant isn’t perfecting the move or their form isn’t on pointe the class will go on. It will not stop to correct form or adjust the pace. Describe a class like a broadway production and personal training like the rehearsal for the show. Group exercise classes are typically pre-designed where the flow keeps moving. Prepare your client to do their best but if they don't pick up on a move or understand what’s going on, the Insturctor won't stop. There is no perfection here. Encourage your clients not to compete with the experienced group exercise participant next to them.
As a fitness professional do the research and take some of the popular classes yourself! How can you recommend something to your client without experiencing it first hand? How will you know if the instructor is motivating and encouraging and if the class would fit your client’s needs or abilities? I make it a point to participate in different classes in my area to gain a true understanding of what the classes offer so I can refer my clients accordingly. Anytime I have been asked about a class I haven’t attended, my first thought is I have to put that class on my list to take.
Realizing I cannot provide everything to all of my clients opened up a new world for both me and my client. I have even offered to take the classes with my clients. That is a risky proposition yet it builds credibility and rapport. When your client sees you doing what they are and knows that you are willing to get out of your comfort zone builds an even deeper level of respect…..Winning!
Check the Fiteeza Blog for indepth reviews of current Group Exercise Class Formats. Lisa will be offering details and recommendations to help you guide your clients to other fitness experiences and keep you on their "A" list!