With the media bombarding us with images of radical transformations, stories about celebrity makeovers and countless fat loss success tales, clients are moving further and further away from a realistic perception of their work-results ratio.
In an excellent post here, Kassem Hanson talks about what clients should expect when hiring a personal trainer. Whilst I agree with most of what Kassem has to say, I think a lot of it is based on the results people consciously expect to get from personal training. Now I say consciously, because I see other trainers clients looking no different 6 months down the line, yet still happily handing over their hard-earned cash.
My impression of most clients, mine and other peoples, is that they often expect radical transformations, but have no idea of how much work is actually involved in trying to achieve them. They’re beguiled by transformation posters, or the sexy infomercials that promise washboard abs for only 7 minutes a day. The truth is, there’s not an exercise programme on the planet that will get you a six-pack with just 7 minutes work a day if your nutrition isn’t in order. Not only that, I’d challenge anyone to prove me wrong. (I’m not, but if you feel so inclined, go and check anyway, I’ll wait………………………………..You done? There’s nothing right? Told you so!).
In fact, one of the UK’s leading weight loss companies, who makes millions of pounds a year from their services and their products, very quietly acknowledge that possibly as little as 6% of their customers experience lasting weight/fat loss.
So why is this important? Because the chances are, almost anyone in the gym is there because of some promise or another, unfortunately without having all the facts. As a result their expectations are out of whack.
Consider the following:
- Eating healthy is just too expensive – Whereas dying young actually saves you money
- I don’t have the time to train – Because I HAVE to find out what happened in Emmerdale/CSI/Dexter
- You just pee supplements away – So as you sh!t food out, does that mean you won’t eat either?
- I have a slow metabolism – Which accounts for your lack of movement on a day to day basis
- I have a fast metabolism – So I don’t understand why I wobble when I walk because I’m slim
- I just want to bulk up – Because as a guy, there’s nothing more manly than not being able to see your penis because of your paunch
- Look at how thin long distance runners are, and all they do is cardio – Look at any athlete except sumo wrestlers, it’s not the sport it’s the fact that they’re athletes
So the above are some stupid excuses. However, there are some excuses that point at something deeper:
- I can’t afford a personal trainer right now – Because if it doesn’t work I’ll be fat and poor
- I don’t want to get too bulky – Because I’ve seen female bodybuilders and they’re sort of women so that could happen to me right?
- I don’t want to get too thin – Because although I’m 5 stone overweight, I’ve heard that being too thin can be just as bad
The key points here are that the excuse is not the issue and that most people need to look at the bigger picture. Just as in my last post I explained that the goal is not the motivation, the rationale here is the same. If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. Otherwise, you’ll find an excuse. And you won't care how long it takes. The truth is though; you won’t know you’re doing it. Whatever reason or justification you come up with will seem perfectly reasonable, (swimming can make you fat, because hey, look at whales). You’ll rationalise it to yourself as just being a stumbling block, (people die of hypothermia, so I’ll wait until summer to start exercising). You’ll even explain it with plausible regret, (I really wanted to get started, but my husband/wife’s just not ready for me to become a strong, sexy, confident and energetic partner, I need to take care of my marriage first).
But I get it. Really I do. Countless people better qualified and experienced than I have written about this in depth, but basically, you’re afraid of failure or you've failed too many times in the past. And if that’s the case, watch this video:
Now if having watched that you’re at all motivated to stop making excuses, then take action. It doesn’t have to be big, but do something now. And keep doing something.
"You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take". - Wayne Gretzky
The following are 6 easy steps for those people struggling to get started, keep going or just to see any progress.
- Eat breakfast every day
- Start drinking more water every day, moving towards at least 1.5-2 litres a day
- Make breakfast healthier by making sure it includes protein and at least one serving of veg or dark skinned fruit
- Start making your last meal of the day smaller
- Start making your last meal of the day colder by having a salad with it
- Start swapping out refined foods, bread, rice, pasta, for better quality alternatives
- Start having protein (meat/fish or eggs) every lunchtime
Take it from there. Assuming you’re overweight and you were to perfect each of those steps, in six months you’d be leaner. If one of the steps doesn’t apply, just move to the next one.