‘Are you crazy Sam? Blogging about clients that have left/quit?’ Possibly but here goes, and hopefully the rationale will be apparent.
Both were 1-2-1 Personal Training clients. Both are female. Both have specific goals – which is great because approaching your training with a goal that is realistic, that is measurable, that is time bound is great. It makes programming so much more straight forward so we can get into the nitty gritty of the training rather than spending costly time ascertaining just what it is we want to achieve. It’s a bit like going to the Doctors and saying ‘I feel generally unwell’ v’s ‘I have had a cough for 3 weeks. It is chesty, stopping me sleeping and I’d really like to get it sorted now’
Client A had undergone a considerable weight loss following Slimming World. Slimming World as you probably know is a calorie restricting weight management plan which a lot of people find success with, particularly if they have a significant amount to lose. What I don’t believe it always does (or does well) is support clients that want to build muscle. Like Client A. She showed me pictures of ladies that had muscle definition. A strong, toned appearance – something I aspire to myself! We agreed that it was a great goal – however the very science of muscle building needs some ingredients to happen. Firstly – your body needs to be well nourished including an adequate protein intake, protein being the building block for muscle grwoth. Secondly you need to challenge your muscles to fatigue 2-3x per week. This means strength (or resistance) training UNTIL FATIGUE – that is to say you can complete your last stipulated reps with good form but can’t do any more.
Due to her history with her nutrition Client A did not have an adequate protein intake. We looked at strategies for increasing but with significant overall caloric restrictions still firmly in place it was very challenging to hit the target.
Client A was also diagnosed with a joint injury (not caused by training but expected repetitive strain from employment). The nature of this injury made it impossible to include the large compound lifts (upper body press and pull, and lower body loaded movements) to generate muscle growth.
We were stuck and I was unwilling to ‘work around’ the injury knowing full well that the client would not achieve her goal and I would therefore be taking her money without giving her what she was paying for (incidentally I was chatting to a friend who has been in the industry for 17 years a few weeks ago and she said ‘a lot of coaches wouldn’t have done that Sam’). We looked training she could continue with to maintain her overall health, weight and cardiovascular fitness but for this particular client PT in my mind was not the most appropriate fitness product or use of her hard earned cash.
Client B approached me seeking to tone her midsection and strengthen her bottom and legs so her legs didn’t feel so tired after walking up and down stairs. Again a great specific goal. We discussed that unfortunately (there is no justice in it!) you can’t choose where to spot reduce fat from your body (ie the midsection) but that building lean muscle – particularly in the large posterior muscles (glutes and hamstrings) would increase the metabolism reducing body fat, and naturally strengthen the legs. She was a very active lady and I think initially surprised herself with her natural strength. We progressed her exercises over several months. For example we moved from TRX hamstring curls – TRX single leg hamstring curls – Stability ball hamstring curls – single leg stability ball hamstring curls. Increasing the volume as well as the intensity. This is called progressive overload. Personal Training should be progressive. When clients tell me ‘it’s not getting any easier’ I think ‘good – that means I am doing my job properly’. With no progressive overload your muscle growth will stall and your results plateau. Training to fatigue can naturally feel a bit uncomfortable. It shouldn’t hurt but you’ll feel tired, and well fatigued….you’ll likely experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) as your muscles go through microscopic tears and re-build. Unfortunately this didn’t feel like the right fit for Client B. She would prefer to attend once a week and do the same set of exercises each time with nothing new introduced, and no load increased. And that is fine. I respect that. But it is not Personal Training and it would not achieve what she wanted to.
So those are the ones I’ve lost. I am sure my bank account would have liked me to ‘work around’ Client A, or just ‘coach a list’ with Client B. But that is not me. I’ve been doing this for a while now and now as a mentor to student PTs I want to represent my industry with integrity.
If you are interested in Personal Training or Small Group please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set up a free no-obligation consultation to discuss. I have very limited 1-2-1 availability but spaces in my small groups and you will still get a training programme that is personalised to your goals. And progressive!