Losing Weight Isn’t The Goal

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GF_2016_FinishlineThe number one reason people will consult with a personal trainer is to help them lose weight. At Northwest Personal Training we like to take a unique approach to helping our clients reach that goal.

Many of our clients start off with this approach – “As soon as I lose the weight or get fit, then I’ll start doing the things I’ve always wanted to do”. But I like to take the opposite approach with my clients…give it a try!

First, have your client set an activity goal (like running a race etc.) and in the process of training for the event or activity your client will get in shape!

And it’s such a positive, motivating focus. For example, let’s say your client sest a goal of finishing a 5km fun run. Setting this kind of goal, because it has a deadline, provides a compelling reason to stick to the program and not miss workouts. In contrast, if your client’s goal is to lose 10 pounds in 2 months, if they get off track, they can easily negotiate with themselves and say, “Well, I guess I can wait an additional week or two to achieve my goals.”  But if they get off track with their training program while preparing for an event, they can’t call a race organizer and ask them to postpone the event because they aren’t going to be ready. You can also use the activity/event as a friendly reminder and a way to push your clients to work with you and stick to the goals you have set.

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In addition, once your client crosses the finish line, that’s something no one can ever take away from him or her. Your client will always have a medal, finishers’ t-shirt and photos from crossing the finish line.  Whereas, with weight loss, your clients could lose the weight and then gain it all back next month and feel like a failure….and then you are out a client! There is a lot of status associated with conquering a tough challenge or finishing an event and so by encouraging your clients to sign up for an event you are helping boost your clients confidence and self esteem that comes with reaching a goal.

I have also found that when someone succeeds at a goal such as this, they inherently look towards the next goal – it’s just human nature. So then your clients may desire to attempt a 10K, half marathon, full marathon, a challenging hike, triathlon, bike tour, learn to paddle board etc. It’s a positive spiral that benefits your clients and your training schedule! Whereas, with weight loss, it’s a negative spiral. Some people may lose the 10 pounds but they are still not happy. They then desire to lose another 5 pounds and get rid of this fat and so on and so on. Some people who have the most ‘perfect’ bodies have been those that struggled with their body image the most! For all these reasons, I try to keep the focus away from Body Image and instead focus on behaviors, events and actions.

At Northwest Personal Training, we use a form titled “Fitness Wish List” to help our clients set goals that will bring forth success. We start by having clients write down:

  • Anything they have ever thought of achieving with regards to their own individual health and fitness.
  • Which goal, if they achieved it, would make this year unbelievable?
    • Have you ever wanted to:
      • Hike the Grand Canyon
      • Complete a marathon or triathlon
      • Cycle through France
      • Learn to Scuba Dive
      • Learn to Paddle Board
      • Learn to Rock Climb
      • Cycle the Oregon coast
      • Stick to working out 4x/week consistently

The only rule with this wish list is that none of your clients goals can be related to their body. Have them stay away from listing a goal such as losing 10 pounds or 4 inches off their hips. Keep this list positive and focused away from body image.

I encourage you to try this approach with your clients this summer and let me know how it goes #LivingLifeToTheFullest

Yours in health, fitness & business,
Sherri McMillan

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