A Definition of hard Work and Commitment

I don’t usually do many guest blogs but Brett Klika’s recent piece that he wrote for StrengthCoach.com was so good I just had to share it. Brett works at Todd Durkin’s Fitness Quest 10 when he is not writing and lecturing.

The most significant thing I’ve changed my mind about in the last year is my definition of “hard work and commitment” as it pertains to personal training client’s effort. This stems from quite a bit of reflection after having the opportunity to work with many diverse populations from around the U.S. and the world in the last year. I’ve began to communicate this new perspective in my speaking, writing, and consulting.

For years I had found myself getting repeatedly frustrated with client’s level of commitment to their exercise and nutrition program. This sentiment is shared amongst personal trainers both in the U.S. and abroad. This frustration reached a point at times where I actually questioned the validity and effectiveness of my career pursuit.

In the last few years, I have traveled quite a bit speaking in both the personal training and corporate worlds. I’ve spoke with trainers, clients, and every day people from all over the world on the topic of personal fitness. It has become apparent that there is a disconnect between what our clients really want and need, and what we are providing as personal trainers.

The fact of the matter is our clients don’t want to be like us. Many of them are wired to be fulfilled by different life pursuits than rocking a 6-pack on Facebook. They know that to attain success in their given pursuit, they need their health. This is where they bring us into the picture. They tell us their goals which are quite often just an echo of what their spouse, friends, doctor, etc. has been harping on them for years. They may or may not be truly interested or have any idea what is involved with achieving these goals. What many of them want to say is “I just need to figure out how to tolerate physical activity so I can get these people off my back and not feel like such a slob”. This isn’t in the well-accepted script however, so they default to the norm, “Lose weight, more energy, improve health” etc.

When we take these goals at face value and start piling on unfamiliar and un-intuitive expectations, it becomes overwhelming. They come to us because they either don’t like, or are unfamiliar with exercise and we cram it down their throats in hopes to create spitting images of ourselves. Imagine if you were to take time out of your day, money out of your bank account, drive out of your way, and do something you don’t like to do while someone reminds you repeatedly of your shortcomings?

I speak quite a bit on financial and business development in personal training. How many trainers go home and do what I recommend after they carefully outlined their goals for me? How many of them shorten their 3-hour daily workout to do some business planning to grow their career each day? I can tell you. Almost none. Even though they were gung-ho when we were talking about it one on one, it didn’t happen. Why? Because personal trainers for them most part aren’t good at business. Numbers, administration, and analytics are not intuitive. They are confusing and challenging to the point of being avoided for many. That’s why we are in a profession with the median income at about $30,000 a year with a college degree. Is it fair for a financially successful person to call us “lazy and unmotivated?”

Our business acumen as trainers is our client’s exercise and nutrition. If you as a personal trainer were to use a business coach, how would you want them to treat you? How drastically could you change your behavior in a short amount of time? You have always related to the world around you physically, now you have to do it through numbers and other intangible concepts. The point of this level of empathy is not to disregard our expectations for our clients. We may, however, have to learn to read their true needs better. We can’t assume that every client that comes through our door wants to be like us. This will save a mountain of frustration for both parties.

We need to offer education, accountability, and support that matches their (not our) specific needs. Our focus should be to provide an educating, motivating, and enriching environment that creates a positive experience with physical fitness and wellness. The clients that want more will seek and do more. The ones that don’t will still make a marked positive change in their lives and avoid succumbing to the masses of diseased and defeated Americans. Either way, neither we nor our clients can lose.

Defeat only comes when we let frustration and unrealistic expectation get in the way of our much-needed mentorship.

Brett Klika C.S.C.S. www.brettklika.com

For a copy of his new e-book and exercise program “The Underground Workout Manual- Exercise and Fat Loss in the Real World” visit www.undergroundworkoutmanual.com.


14 Responses to “A Definition of hard Work and Commitment”

  1. mboyle1959 Says:

    I think the NASM and ACE are the best two.

  2. I actually got my degree in Finance and have just recently “re-found” my fitness. I have become very passionate about it and am going to pursue getting certified as a personal trainer. Any advice on which certification to get would be great.


  3. […] A Definition of Hard Work and Commitment by Brett Klika […]

  4. mboyle1959 Says:

    Bill- interesting point. I think it gets harder to play as you get older. I’m all for hiring a trainer if you have money. People waste money on lots of worse things. I have a wealthy client who likes to say “you will spend money on your health. It might be a trainer or a nursing home but, you will spend it.”

  5. […] post on the strengthcoach blog about the disconnect between the trainer and client.  Read the post here.  I really liked the post and thought that I would share it with […]

  6. Bill Ingemi Says:

    Isn’t part of the problem with the “training” of Joe Public not so different than the problem of single sport specializing in youth today? Nobody “plays” anymore so we have to “train” to be healthy. Even with the health & wellness information overload people still have to pay someone to hold their hand to perform some degree of activity. Guess somebody has to take advantage of the ills of our culture.

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