We are fast reaching that time of year were we make those dreaded New Year’s resolutions and for most they can be pretty profound, a big deal to us or others in our lives and difficult for us to attain. That’s why so many of them are never realised. We go for the goals, set them and try, but it’s hard, right?
I think that is because they are either not realistic and/or the way we go about achieving them is all wrong. As a Personal Trainer we’re taught about SMART Goals; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Framed. And in an ideal world that’s how I set out any client training programme.
The difficulty comes when clients are vague about what they want or where they need to be. This is what we’re paid for right? Well my starting point would be education about the achievable and then what the time frames involved may be for those long term goals? This could be quite tough for some clients to hear and understand. Being honest about it will help them step off on the right foot, though.
First and foremost we have to understand what floats their sporting or physical fitness boat. The reason for this is to understand what they enjoy. Enjoyment is key to ensuring they realise that long term goal. If it’s always ‘head to the grind stone’, then the chances of meeting long term goals diminishes very quickly.
As a trainer you will not always be there for the client to motivate them, but we can educate them on a whole range of fitness activities, training methods and safety issues so they can go out and do it for themselves. If we make very achievable short term goals then success will help breed success, keep you on track and maybe, just maybe get to that all important long term goal.
It’s about small steps, progressive learning and not trying to do it all in a very short time. I’ve done several conditioning classes for sports teams and the first few are based around learning movements, correct form for the exercises and their sport. Both are equally important. You’d be surprised how many sports-people that require control and poise in their given discipline, but compensate through momentum or rapid movement, rather than use the correct mechanics to move properly and generate that important accuracy and power. Stripping back to the basics is often required to relearn some techniques and it is often hard for senior athletes to unlearn the bad habits. Get these small steps right and the main goal can be achieved much more quickly and reduce the risk of injury through proper movement, posture and balance. Build on strength through technique then put the weight up!
So if you are a novice or have experience in the gym or your given sport, give yourself a chance at being successful. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Think about where you want to be and where you are now. Seek advice from people who you respect in your sport and who know you as a person.
By the way, this doesn’t mean don’t bother! Make those small changes, one step at a time, then look back and see how far you’ve come. You might just be surprised!