The fitness industry is at a pretty pivotal point at the end of 2015 and start of 2016.
As I see it, at this point as a fitness professional, you can either choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution.
Solution to what? you might ask.
Here's the problem:
The fitness industry is RIDDEN with "professionals" who give the good guys a bad name. Professionals who think it's okay to:
1. Work outside of scope of practice by dolling out meal plans and food shaming without the understanding and empathy it truly takes to help someone make a food-related change in their lives. There are educated specialists for this who get their information a bit further than T-nation.com.
2. Can't seem to understand the difference between "challenging" and "intimidating" and feel that the latter is an appropriate way to administer a workout. And on that note....
3. Can't seem to walk the line on what is good for our bodies and what is bad. Good: sweat, elevated heart rate. Bad: blood, vomit (ya know, the things that happen when your body is trying to tell you something is wrong here).
So, Fitpro, are you ready to be a part of the solution?
Here's a handy guide to help you navigate working with your clients in a way which is conducive to their FULL (read: mental, emotional AND physical) health.
You have a weight loss client who you're afraid is going to "fall off the wagon" this season.
Start by telling yourself "there is no wagon in life, man". Seriously- if you're trying to set your clients up for long-term success, sustainable habit building is the way to go, and sustainable habits are no part of any sort of "wagon".
Allow them to make adult decisions on what they eat and when and how. De-mystify the idea of holiday foods. If we force our clients to feel shame about their eating behaviors or foods, they're actually more likely to binge or eat past full during those "allowed times".
Instead, I suggest preaching moderation year-round. Don't let your clients get caught in the restrict-binge-restrict cycle. Lead by example that balance does not look like a 'cheat day' every week, but instead looks more like the occasional treat here and there when the craving is present. This leads to less over-indulgence all around, believe it or not!
Just take a chill pill and let them live their lives this holiday. The alternative would be making someone feel ashamed for partaking in holidays with their loved ones. Don't be that guy.
Workouts and varying schedules
These parents just have so much shopping to do and parties to attend, how will they EVER keep up their workout schedule?
Here's another great opportunity to lead by example! Use your social media during the holiday season to display less-than-orthodox methods of getting movement in. We all know our schedules are off over the holidays, and that's okay. Just because your client cannot make it in to see you 3x a week this month doesn't mean we need to concern troll their progress.
They might carry a little guilt for not making it in as much, and as a part of the solution, it's your job to dampen that. Equip your clients with tools to help them become more autonomous in their fitness and movement. Truth is, they don't need you or your facility to get moving. Help them feel that way. As backwards as it may seem, they'll love you more for it than if you sent them fb posts and texts about how "bad" they're being this season by missing a session here and there.
Your clients are smart and they can sense real and fake support from a mile away.
New Year's Resolutions
You know these are bull, right?
Should you take advantage of the fact that this is the busiest time of year for the fitness industry? ABSOLUTELY, you'd be a bad business person not to.
Should you take advantage of the vulnerability that many people experience this time of year with regards to the dissatisfaction they feel with themselves and their bodies? NO. Don't do that.
Help your clients in setting performance based goals for the next 365 days. This should scratch their "Resolution" itch. And feel free to explain to them why resolutions are set up to fail.
Resolutions are usually made from a place of guilt and reflection (oh man, I didn't do ANYTHING I wanted to do this past year, it got away from me so quickly. Next year, though, I'll do xyz). They're not autonomous because they're not decided to be made by the maker- they're decided to be made by the calendar and by society.
Coach your clients to create goals that are attainable, sustainable, realistic, empowering and outside of relation to the time of year it is. Help them make goals they could easily make any time of year- and help them reach them.
Are you ready to be a part of the #fit2point0 movement and become a part of the solution to the extremes, exclusionary practices and disorder in the fitness industry?
Join us in Huntington Beach, CA on February 20 and 21 to become a Body Positive Fitness Alliance Affiliated Professional and learn actionable steps you can take to help make your practice better, your clients better, and the industry as a whole a better place.