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10 Things a Trainer Would Tell You

By Mitchell Keyes, NASM-CES, NASM-PES, RTS-123, MAT Graduate

Not every Life Time client works with a trainer, but trainers are there witnessing members’ journeys every day.

Whether in a working relationship or from a gym floor distance, we see the progress and frustration, the struggles and successes. Of course, I’d recommend the services of a health and fitness professional to everyone who comes in our doors. I’ve seen countless clients thrive with the personalized guidance and support – whatever their performance level or individual goals.

For those who haven’t worked with a trainer or are on the fence, however, you might wonder what a trainer’s perspective would be on your fitness process. What basic pointers would a trainer tell you right from the start? What suggestions or stories could he or she share? In the spirit of that exchange, let me offer ten tips from a trainer’s experience.

You don’t need to do it all at once.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. However, part of Rome was built in a day. Build your success one day at a time, keeping the end in mind. I have clients who celebrate small victories to help build their confidence on the way to the end goal. We start by just writing down two things that they are grateful for each night before bed. Then the following week, we might add 5 minutes of relaxation techniques each day.

Abs are not made in the kitchen.

Think one step further back…. Abs are made in the grocery store! If you don’t buy unhealthy food, you won’t have to worry about eating it at home. However, you must know what you like to eat (and then know how to cook it). Of course, you must know where to find it first in the grocery store. I’ve gone with clients on grocery store tours and appreciate how they walk away empowered to make healthier decisions in the long run. It’s a great experience to do together!

You won’t lose weight by just sweating more.

If you haven’t heard by now, weight loss is not about calories in versus calories out. If it were, a calculator would suffice instead of a scale or body fat scanner. Each body is unique. The way each body loses weight is also unique. I have had some clients who have lost four pounds per week and others who lost half a pound per week. So, the two-a-day workouts might just be stressing your body more than they’re helping you lose weight.

You won’t bulk up by lifting weights.

Proper strength training has a multitude of benefits (e.g. controlled cravings, better energy management, etc.). It’s one of the most underrated activities for any and all fitness goals. Most often, it’s my female clients who express concern about bulk. Great changes in body composition can be accomplished more efficiently through strength training. Rest assured, the result is leanness, not bulk.

Healthy eating should taste good!

“The latest clinical study shows that cardboard doesn’t taste good.” Yes, healthy eating can and should taste delicious. I have even gone to clients’ homes to help them try out different spices and tastes in the kitchen. It’s a fun and educational experience for them to learn what their tastebuds respond to – all while keeping it nutritious.

If you don’t have a goal, you’re wasting your time.

Even if your goal is to maintain your health or fitness, that’s a goal. Have something that you can measure to hold yourself accountable. Make it SMART (be specific, figure out how you can measure it, identify why it’s attractive to you, why you feel it’s realistic, and when it’s time to accomplish/reassess). I will also sit down with a client regularly to see if his/her initial goal is still as meaningful to him/her as when we set it. If a goal isn’t truly motivating anymore, it will not spur change in behaviors and habits.

Your food quality doesn’t have enough vitamins and minerals in it to allow you to be the best you.

You need a quality multi-vitamin. When you select a brand, keep in mind that you don’t want something that you’ll just excrete because it’s loaded with binders and additives. Make sure your body is absorbing what you are consuming. I have had clients bring in their current supplements. We line them up and examine them to truly see what’s the best bang for their buck.

Assess early and often.

The most frustrating thing that a client can experience is a plateau or – even worse – regression. Eliminate as many variables as possible when you start your plan to prevent the majority of road blocks you may encounter in the future. If you aren’t assessing your progress, you will most likely reach a plateau and see that progress taper off. I have clients reassess in some capacity each month to ensure we are always taking steps in the right direction. Sometimes little improvements, such as better sleep, are best assessed and tracked in a daily journal. Every positive change is a great accomplishment!

My job is to coach you the other 23 hours/day.

As a health and fitness professional, I want to teach you, motivate you, and inspire you to change when you are not with me in a session. If when you leave you make poor choices (e.g. lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, etc.), that won’t help either one of us. You are my walking billboard, and I want you to succeed.

Don’t diet.

Think of diet as a noun – not a verb. Diets and meal plans are temporary and ultimately set you up for failure unless you genuinely own the full process. Allow yourself some grace to maintain your sanity, but don’t let that set you back. I want my clients to learn how to eat well for lifelong results, not quick fixes. Eat well, and you will live well – for good!

Thanks for reading. If you learned something new, please share this post on your favorite social media channel.

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The posts on this blog are not intended to suggest or recommend the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease, nor to substitute for medical treatment, nor to be an alternative to medical advice. The use of the suggestions and recommendations on this blog post is at the choice and risk of the reader.
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