So Thursday was Thanksgiving in the United States. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing… all the fixings and all the desserts and according to (what we at the BPFA refer to as) fit1point0 trainers – all the calories.

As a non-fitpro, I have been on the receiving end of “don’t eat that, eat this” or something similar since before I can remember. I played soccer from ages 8-29 including high school and collegiate soccer, competitive Kettlebell Sport lifting, strength training and have tried all kinds of movement-based activities over the decades. That means I’ve come into contact with tons of coaches/trainers/nutritionists and most of them have been the type to criticize what you’re putting on your plate or sharing those memes that say YOU ATE IT, NOW NEGATE IT! I was even brainwashed into an MLM and called myself a coach while I was only slangin shakes.

That being said, when the holidays come along, they are all out in droves. Constantly reminding you that if you eat that piece of pie, you better be ready to do 25 burpees… if you eat that stuffing, you owe them wind sprints… if you so much as enjoy any of your food you’re consuming, you owe them your money and your life. I know a lot of trainers are coming from a good place, but shaming people for what they eat is never a good idea. There’s a very small percentage of people who respond well to that kind of treatment and can maintain a lifestyle circled around shame and restrictive eating, but most of the population (myself included) will respond negatively.

As kind of a “HEY, DON’T BE AN A-HOLE AND JUST LET YOUR CLIENTS ENJOY THEIR HOLIDAYS” PSA, here are a few things we, as clients, don’t want to hear around the holidays:

  1. “You’ll lose all of your progress!”
    • If you are training your clients properly, eating a slice of pie will not set them back. They’re going to be miserable while hanging out with family/friends if they’re constantly thinking “OMG my trainer is going to kill me if I eat this,” all while watching other family members/friends enjoying their food. And besides, you don’t know if they don’t already have some family member/friend that constantly judges what’s on their plate… you don’t want to be THAT person to add more negativity to their lives.
  2. “Eat this, not that.”
    • Okay, I’m all for making suggestions on healthier alternatives, but making your client feel obligated to eat some low calorie, non-fat alternative may trigger them to overeat. Also, do you know if they have food allergies? What you suggest could possibly kill them rather than save them a few calories that day. This can also be stepping into breaching Scope of Practice since most Personal Trainers aren’t Registered Dieticians as well.
  3. “That’s going to go right to your *insert part of body here*!”
    • Again, don’t be THAT person that adds more negativity. This does not work for most of the population. I have wide hips, a big ass, and big thighs. I was told constantly that eating a certain item would go straight to either one of those body parts. Do you know what that did to me? I’m 31 years old and only up until this year did I stop hating those parts of me. I still have some issues, but they’re not nearly as bad as when I was younger. This might not be true for EVERYONE, but it wouldn’t hurt to just never say that to anyone ever.

I understand that most trainers (at least now in 2017) will find that this doesn’t apply to them, but you’d be surprised… some trainers need constant DON’T BE AN A-HOLE reminders. Being a trainer has never meant pushing someone so hard to get to their results, but somewhere along the line, it became that. Letting your clients enjoy their holidays won’t kill them and as stated in the beginning – if you’re providing them with sustainable training habits, you won’t even have to say that eating an ENTIRE pie is probably not the best idea.

So again, DON’T BE THAT TRAINER and Happy Holidays.