Over the past 5 years i’ve been fortunate enough to have completed over 7,000 personal training sessions. I’ve tried pretty much every strategy out there when it comes to fat loss – both personally and with clients!
It’s very easy to overcomplicate fat loss, and i’ve found that by doing what i’m about to share in this post you can achieve excellent results with beginner clients. As a personal trainer our job is to educate our clients and build a relationship of honesty, trust and compliance. When you have these in place results happen and you can positively transform your clients lives.
We need to be honest with our clients and let them know how long it’s going to take to achieve their desired goals. We also want clients to be honest with us. It’s no use them telling us that they’re following our diet, when we know their not. When the numbers on the scales are failing to go down, we know as coaches that they are more than likely failing to follow our programmes. Honesty both ways is key.
We need to build a trusting relationship with clients to the point where they can be open and honest so that we can help them. We are there to help and not to judge. When a client knows you have their best interests at heart and that you truly want to help, and that you wont judge them for their shortcomings they will be more likely to open up and you’ll be able to build that all important trusting relationship.
Competent personal trainers can write up an excellent diet plan in less than 30 minutes. Although important, the most essential skill isn’t necessarily writing the best diet or workout program but getting clients to be compliant and actually following what you have set.
Getting Back To Basics…
All too often I see personal trainers overcomplicating fat loss with their beginner clients. They do stuff like carb cycling, low/high carb days, carb back loading, and all this fancy bodybuilding stuff! For the most part this is overly pretentious and although effective it doesn’t need to be done in the initial phases of coaching.
The smaller the changes you make to a clients life the better. Personally when I take on a beginner client i.e. somebody new to training or who hasn’t worked out for years – all i’m trying to do is…. CREATE A SMALL CALORIE DEFICIT. That’s all!
If I can get a client to workout 3x per week for the first month i’m happy. It’s nice progress, then once we’ve established a workout routine, we can then look to make further changes. Here are some of the small tweaks i’ll make with clients when starting out….
#1 Increase Step Count
I’m a BIG fan of counting steps. I’ll often recommend clients to pick up a Fitbit, and i’ll set them step targets to hit throughout the week. Once a client picks up a Fitbit i’ll then ask them to record their normal steps for one week and then based on the results i’ll add anything from 1,000-2,000 extra steps per day for the next week. Then i’ll continue adding more. Remember that for fat loss, we need to create a calorie deficit and that’s all. More movement = burning more calories.
#2 Keep a Food Diary
Before putting a client on a food plan, i’ll typically ask for a 1-2 week food diary. When clients keep a food diary they become more mindful of their eating habits and typically they will naturally make small changes by themselves i.e. eating less and choosing more healthier options.
#3 Multivitamin & Berocca
Again a small step, but something which is easy to implement – supplements. I’ll never add fancy supplements to a beginners diet but i’ll typically add in a multivitamin and a dissolvable Berocca tablet. I want to make small changes which are easy to sustain and taking a tablet 1x per day is an easy task and one that leads to further compliance later down the line.
I see so many personal trainers absolutely beasting their beginner clients in the gym! They’ll take somebody who’s never worked out and then get them to do a 1hr brutal HIIT & weights session, which makes them ache for days and unable to walk without limping!
I want clients to enjoy exercise, i’ll often get them to notice how they feel after a session. I want them to start noticing the feel good endorphins that are released because of exercising. I want clients to leave with a smile and feeling good. You can push clients without totally killing them, especially with beginners.
I want all my clients to learn when I train them. I like to explain in Laymans terms why we are doing what we are doing. I’ll also regularly ask questions to test them. I’ll ask them what muscles we are supposed to be working, i’ll ask them when they should breathe in and out and what they should be focusing on i.e. squeezing the muscle or focusing on a specific technique/training que which we’ve practiced. In between sets i’ll also teach them about different foods and how they react in the body. I want clients to learn skills that will help them forever more. Education is key.
#6 Drink More Water
Again something small, but highly effective. Proper hydration will prevent excessive hunger pangs and leave a client feeling more energised, promote healthier skin, and flush unhealthy toxins from the body. If a client doesn’t like drinking water i’ll often advise flavoured water (0 calories) or low calorie squash.
The above strategies are just a handful of tools I will use but combined together they lead to significant improvement. As we continue working together we can look at developing further and implementing more changes. As I said earlier all i’m trying to do is CREATE A CALORIE DEFICIT and make SMALL SUSTAINABLE CHANGES that positively impact a clients health and fitness.