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The Fitness Zone

Monitoring Behaviour Change
June 13, 2012

One of the most important things a Personal Trainer can impart to their clients is a positive change in their behaviour. Without it nothing else works.

More than great squat technique, weight loss,or strength gain, a Personal Trainer's most important role when training beginners is to get the client to see exercise in a new light. At a quick glance it may seem that by joining the gym a person has changed their behaviour. This however is just part of the preparation and action stages of change, and they may not yet have reached maintenance'. If every person who owned a gym membership actually used it, treadmill cues would stretch out the door and around the corner.

Can a Personal Trainer actually change a client's behaviour? We can definitely influence it. I often use the analogy that every person drives their own bus'.A Personal Trainer's role is to hop on that bus and be the tour guide. Our enthusiasm and confidence is motivating and inspiring to the new member, as is creating a good relationship and understanding each person's barriers to change.

Critical questions to ask when pre screening are things like If you continue your current eating and exercise habits will you achieve your goal?, What are some of the barriers affecting your health and fitness goals?, and What has stopped you from starting sooner? Is this still a problem?

Here are some tips for creating positive behaviour change.

1. It's the why that makes them buy

Ask your client why' they want their goal. Why do they want to improve their health? This will help them connect with an emotion and empower them through those moments of contemplation to make positive behaviour-changing decisions like "Will I go for a run today?", "Should I do another set of squats?", or "Can I have cake for breakfast?". The answers are YES, YES, and NO.

2. Set simple, easy to achieve goals in short time frames

Well laid out goals will set a new gym member up with a clear path from where they are to where they what to go. When a client has a goal to lose 10kg, 15kg, or more, start with 1/2 kg this week or you could say 3kg in the next 6 weeks if that sounds better to them.

3. Ongoing personal development

For both you and your clients continuous learning is the key to success. Continuing education courses, books and CDs are all great ways to stay on track.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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