Oh, you can talk the talk but can you walk the walk? I have a confession to make, I haven’t always been a shinning example for my clients and for a while it was, “do as I say not as I do.” Now, I am not saying that I was hitting the drive-thru on a regular or surfing my coach when not in session but I managed to pack on about 60 pounds that I didn’t need. Mostly, this was from eating heavy portion and pretending like craft beer didn’t have any calories in it while finishing off a bag of chips. Under the eyes of the exercise gods I was a major sinner. I actually remember training an individual at a private studio and over hearing another training comment on how out of shape I looked. Yep, it was that bad.
The thing is I had it going on. A busy personal training schedule, full time enrollment in graduate school and a girl friend that was an amazing cook. I became very good at making excuses as to why I wasn’t hanging around at the gym after training sessions for my self-care. Well, I have a paper to write, just a couple of hours until my next client, I need a nap, and going out with my girlfriend later need to rest up. Excuses, excuses, excuses and you know what they say about excuses.
Finding balance is your life is a skill that takes time to develop and a lot of trail and error especially if you were brought up valuing certain things over others. Just because you are bringing home the bacon doesn’t necessarily mean that the people in your life are happy with you or that you are making the most of your life. I have met so many people that have well paying jobs that have completely forgotten what it even means to take time for themselves and just relax every once in a while.
Teaching your clients how to balance their professional lives with personal while still fitting in exercise and social events takes some time but can be very rewarding.
Here are some strategies.
Develop an Individual Wellness Plan: What does healthy living even look like for your clients, how do they feel about exercising on their lunch break verses exercising after work. I use these plans to get an understanding of what we need to work on and what the end point even looks like for my client. This also is a useful reference for those times when they are feeling a little less then motivated, have them review their desires and push through with action
Push the Minimum: You don’t always have to hit two-hour, no-pain-no-gain sessions in the gym, how about just going for a walk, or paying just a bit closer attention to what you eat that day. One of the biggest de-motivators that I see are my clients perception of the work they have to do. Have conversations and ask them, “if they don’t feel like running is going for a walk all that bad?” If I can just get them to commit to the minimal amount we often times find that they want to do more once they get going.
Plan, Plan, Plan, Then Plan Some More: When I decided it was time to lose that extra weight that I was carrying around I had to mark when I was working out and when I was eating on a calender. If your clients are already using Outlook or Google Calender encourage them to put that workout on the same scheduler they use for PTA meetings. If they plan to fit the self-care in then they to have to scramble to find the time.
Develop a Support Team:One of my favorite stories that I got from a client recently was how they got smacked on the hand by their eight-year-old reaching for more chips at a Mexican restaurant. The more people your clients make aware of the effort they are putting in the more little hands they will have smacking them when they start to stray from the path. Accountability is huge and it is just one of the things that goes a long with coaching individuals and my clients tell me all the time if I wasn’t there they would not be sticking to their program. I say, the more the merrier, encourage them to get as many people in their life as possible involved.