Defining Fitness Goals
When someone makes the decision to hire a personal trainer, they already have an image in their mind of what their goal looks like. With my educational background, I understand the science of how the body works and what you have to do to get the look you want.
On paper, it seems simple: Use more energy than you consume and you will lose weight. Physiologically, it is not that simple though. A lot more goes into losing weight and burning fat. There is also a whole other element involved – your emotions.
As a personal trainer, I feel a great sense of responsibility to address why my clients have a particular image in mind that they want to attain. It would be easy for trainers to play off any insecurities to convince clients that they need to continue working with them to reach that ideal image.
I feel it is my responsibility though to focus beyond what they see in the mirror and make training about their health and complete wellness. When setting goals, I encourage clients to reach for small milestones. This way they are constantly feeling successful as they reach each goal rather than trying to make a huge leap towards a goal such as a 50-pound weight loss.
I also address why they have the desire to reach a specific image in the first place. Not only do I want to make sure their desired look is realistic, but healthy as well. I want them to be in a place where they're happy with their appearance.
However, I want to teach them the worth of putting health first, then enjoy the benefits that come with it. For example, if a client says they want a six pack, I mention that yes it is great to have less fat stored around the midsection. The more fat you have around the abdominal area, the higher your chances are for developing heart disease and diabetes.
So, instead of encouraging them to maintain that idea that a six pack equals success, I teach them about a proper waist to hip ratio. I then make that the goal that they strive not only for which is aesthetically pleasing, but what's healthiest for them too.
I follow this in my own life. I have to walk a thin line between looking fit while also promoting a healthy body image. I want to have a lean physique with a healthy amount of muscle tone because I want to look the part of a trainer.
However, I don't want to make it appear as if you are not healthy unless you look exactly like I do. A healthy physique looks different on everyone. I get around the pitfall of setting a bad example by setting certain health markers and not body measurements as the goals I strive for.
Doing an hour of cardio though seven days a week just to be skinny is not healthy. Being active though for a minimum of 30 minutes a day is more attainable and a much healthier practice. Do what is healthy for your body and the aesthetic benefits will follow.
I want to give my clients permission to reimagine what a truly healthy physique looks like for them. Doing what is best for your body and being proud of the physique that comes from that is the true picture of health and the best physical goal we can all strive for.