Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Helping them to want it!

Just got back from doing Cardio Coach #1 at the gym. It was hard, especially since I'm not 100% yet, but I'm definitely on the road to recovery. (Incidentally, I still love Cardio Coach!) I'm listening to "Sunsets" by Rachel Portman (from The Lake House soundtrack -- really beautiful), eating a South Beach Diet lunch (I know you're supposed to be mindful when you eat, but it's just not happening today), and knowing that I start picking up kids in about 30 minutes.

What's on my mind is motivating clients to get what they want. I take this training business VERY seriously and want my clients to win in what they're working towards so badly I can taste it. So how do I help to translate that desire on their behalf into action on their part? I mean, at BEST I'm with them 3 hours a week. To get all mathematical about it, that means I'm with them 1.78% of their week. So with that small amount of time (even less if it's someone who comes once a week), how I can best spend that time in a way that gives them more than a workout, but helps to create positive change in those "other" 165 or so hours they're not with me? Therein lies the challenge!

I'm reading a book titled "It's More Than Just Making Them Sweat" by Ed Thornton. One of the points he makes has to do with making the experience of working out pleasurable, not because it's easy, but because of what is accomplished. He quotes a writer who states, "The way to happiness lies not in mindless hedonism, but in mindful challenge." And maybe that's part of the answer. Helping people find their inner athlete, so they can feel the happiness that comes from accomplishment of any kind, and in this case, physical accomplishment. The "look what I just did!" excitement that kids have when they master a skill or beat their own record.

Speaking of kids, I'm taking on a new client next week. And I so badly want this girl to experience success and health and energy and all that can come with having your body work for you. That's probably why I'm so focused on this today. In fact, I was up in the middle of the night thinking about her -- what I can do to make exercise fun and challenging and encourage her to find her inner athlete.

Speaking of the inner athlete, that's part of what I want every single one of my clients to find. As last picked for everything as a child, I know what it's like to avoid activity. That's probably why it's so delightful to feel strong and athletic as a grown up. Today I was doing handstands at the gym, and I was thinking, "You know, I think these probably reduce your age by 50%, but I'm probably about 23 years old when I do these!" Nothing like some positive thoughts to reinforce behavior, right?

But honestly, although most women who seek a trainer are looking for outward changes -- less fluff, more muscle, looser clothes -- and all of those things are fantastic, I really believe that through exercise you are just getting the tip of the iceberg if that's all you want. How about the confidence that goes with feeling strong? How about the loveliness of a body that moves as you want it to? How about the feminine power of enjoying your sexuality with the man you love? Now THAT'S something to get excited about! (But I may have to tone it down for my brochure!)

Yesterday's Workout

I was in the training room trying out some exercises I was going to do with a client today. Tim heard me slamming a ball against the wall, came up and accused me of yelling at him that he's a lazy man and needed to workout. He's perceptive, that husband of mine! :) So together we did the Crossfit workout of the day, which was 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 squats, and 100 situps. Tim did every single thing as prescribed, and I'm crazy proud of him! I made the squats more intense by squatting to an 8" box. Did the situps as rx'd. Pushups were from knees, cuz of bicep tendon still getting better. And did 50 jumping pullups, then did 50 ball slams with a 16 pound ball. Hard, but fun workout!


Laurie said...

Wow, you are on fire! Great post with lots of great questions, I hope you weren't looking for answers :) I wonder though, especially with different people that I see at the gym, do they want to be athletes or do they just want to look good - you can sort of tell the difference (at least I think I can) when you watch them do their thing. I, personally, want to be a kick-ass, rock climbing Gabe Reese of an athlete (at a mere 5'3")

Colette said...

I think that some women initially just want to lose the extra weight, and that may be all they are thinking about...at that moment. Once those muscles start to show and the energy increases, the kick-ass attitude comes.

Maybe you could give your email to your clients and whenever they need some "emotional" help...like telling them "it's not worth eating that" or "you can do it" they can write to you and you can respond (or even give your cell number, if you'd be willing to give that out).

It is great to hear how much you want to help your clients. You are such a wonderful inspiration!!!

Brit-Man said...

You're doing a great job Leslie and you should be so proud of yourself.

You're a great asset to anyone you work with, and I know you can do fantastic things with anybody.

What you could could possibly do, is Print out motivational phrases, "YOU CAN EAT PROPERLY", "BELIEVE IN YOURSELF"

You could have a small list of about 4-5 things, and then print them out about 2-3 times for clients.

You then tell the clients to post these in prominent places, like a desk at work, a fridge door, or a wardrobe door, so the person gets those words to read on a daily basis.

That might help.

Or another way might be to record something like motivational tapes. Just your voice speaking onto a tape for about 2-3 minutes, just encouraging people to do the right things, and then they can listen to it whenever they want to, with a walkman for example.

Whatever happens, GOOD LUCK.

:-) :-).


Shelly said...

This is a great post about some great questions and ideas! Here are some of my ideas:
1) Ask your clients to write things down, whether or not they want to share them with you. Goals that can be measured, reasons why they want to improve their fitness (oh and better sex is definitely on my list!). Once a week, they have to identify what they did over the past week that was positive.
2) Meeting with a trainer once a week is very motivating. I know I'm going to have to face Jeannie on Thursday morning! and I don't want that to be my only trip to the gym. It helps me plan my workouts during the rest of the week.
3) Having the opportunity to listen to music while at the gym is one of my top 10 reasons for working out. Ask clients to build playlists to use with you and without you.
4) If you can motivate your clients to stick with it whatever their goals, I think they will discover their inner athlete and greater self-confidence. They will have to rewrite their goals. The journey is never-ending. I especially appreciate having written about the journey (both on and offline). I have a pretty good diea of how far I have come and that is strong motivation to keep going, especially when I slide backwards.

Amy said...

What a wonderful blog Leslie! You demonstrate that you are a REAL person. With diligence, motivation, support and self love, anyone can achieve their fitness goals. And on those days where you just don't do as well as you would have liked (and everyone has those days)...start again! You truly inspire me...