When workouts alone are not enough ...
Since my 20s, I have been around a lot of people looking to get fit. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine the depth of their fitness commitments. We chat as they swear under their breath in a plank position. We laugh when they can’t remember how little weight they were able to lift on their first visit with me. And they breathe a sigh of relief when it’s time to stretch and head home. But unless they tell me their goals for partnering with me, I’ll never know what their true agenda is.
I recently took on a 60-something client who came to me looking not only to support her size-loss goals (she does love clothes), but also to help boost her energy levels, regain more physical balance and bring back the flexibility she once took pride in. She spelled out her concerns in detail. Among them, her future ability to (1) pull her jeans up from a standing position, (2) fully crane her neck to see cars behind her as she changes lanes on the freeway, (3) get up off a floor without having to get on all fours or grabbing for a nearby chair, (4) wear sleeveless dresses and tops again, and (5) get down to a single digit size that is appropriate for her height. Her fears and wishes are real ones, but younger clients rarely think about the things this woman is concerned about. I have to salute her for knowing precisely what she wants to get out of our time together, though.
This lady reminds me that everyone’s goals may be different when it comes to getting fit and losing inches. I enjoy helping all people who come to me as long as their goals are reasonable (no, I can’t guarantee you’ll be a size 4 in a month…). But I thought I’d give you a peek into the categories most of my clients fall into:
(1) The health-conscious client who likes company and appreciates my guidance as she gets fit or maintains her fitness levels. My regulars are great. They rarely cancel workouts, they come in ready for action, and they don’t complain about the number of reps or the weight levels I give them. They are simply sold on fitness. Some of these gals have been physically active all their lives, with periods of unavoidable inactivity, but are always able to get back into their “groove” in short order. These are lifers, and I admire the heck out of them because they place a great value in taking care of the one body they were given at birth.
(2) The occasional exerciser who hires a different trainer once every few years when told to exercise by a doctor. OR, they fear losing a relationship over their looks. Exercise becomes externalized for these souls, since they are doing it to please others and not for the intrinsic value of self-care. I can talk lifestyle all I want with them, but unless they “buy into” fitness, there isn’t much I can do for them long term. Progress is usually slow for them, because they don’t see all this as a change of life. Their eating habits (clearly 80% of any size loss regimen) are fuzzy because even if we discuss healthy eating, I am not always sure they’re telling me the truth about what they eat on a daily basis.
(3) The means-to-an-ender who usually comes to me in a panic. A class reunion, wedding or special event 6 months away and she wants to look more svelte. She works her butt off with me, learning all kinds of healthy habits, acknowledging how others are noticing the changes in her, and how much more energy she now has. My biggest fear, however, is that this is a short-term goal and the moment the honeymoon begins, she will stop being so concerned about the fitness level she spent 6 months trying to achieve. She’ll simply fall back into her old habits. She could turn into the “occasional exerciser” as the decades pass, but more often, she will abandon this at one point, reminiscing about how she great looked at the event.
(4) The paradigm shifter who finally “gets” it. Something amazing takes place in her consciousness, taking her from #2 or #3 to #1. She is mesmerized by the changes taking place in her. No – she is ADDICTED to seeing change. Suddenly she can wrap her head around all of it. She realizes that life is short, steadfastly refusing to let the years limit her. Her goals include a heightened sense of self-esteem, more energy to spend on her other interests as well as her loved ones, and a sharpness of mind that fitness offers entirely drug-free. I love ALL my clients, but these gals get special recognition because they are a rarity. They do work on themselves no doctor, life situation or relationship can aid with.
So which one are you? Can you offer me details on what you hope to achieve with me like the lady who simply wants to be able to pull up her blue jeans at age 75? What will change look like to you when even one of those goals is met? How do you think you'll feel?
If you think of fitness as a gift you give yourself and in the process, a gift you give your loved ones, it all makes perfect sense. Communication and goal-setting are the most important components of our partnership, and I will do everything I can to help you make those markers, all of which are movable as well as achievable when accompanied by a great attitude and a never-say-die determination.