I am often asked who I consider to be the toughest client to train. I am usually asked by my students who are made up on exercise enthusiasts that are entering the field and want a leg up on who they may encounter to be a challenge with exercise programming. I am also asked my blog readers that seek similarities in our "war stories" regarding client participation.
I think back to the many, many different clients I have trained in over 14 years and 5 different facilities (including my own)...and I never really thought about who stood as a challenge to train until now. Was it the paraplegic who is embedded in a wheelchair? At the time, I wasn't sure why Paul felt that he should join a gym and continue his pre-accident workouts, but he taught me a few lessons. Why don't I consider him a tough client to train? Because he was a motivated fellow and I just needed some creativity on my part. He met his own set of challenges daily and our training together was minuscule compared to what he tackled everyday. So, no..he wasn't tough to train.
Was it the narcissistic CEO of Hartford's largest insurance companies? No...it wasn't him either. Although, Mr. Gheema was intimidating in stature and not very talkative, he was a "go-getter" and managed his time through a calendar and executive assistant. His sessions were booked through her and he simply reported to me at lunch time. He did what I told him to do and loved the different challenges I set for him 3x per week. So, no..he wasn't tough to train.
Was it the 93-year old blind woman? She was a treat to train. Although Mrs. Johnson was very limited in her capabilities, it was her ambition and fortitude that was limitless. Her style of training was different from others and I approached her with patience, sensitivity and care. She was routine-driven and our time spent training was a growing lesson for me. When she past away, I knew I had lost a good teacher in my life. So, no...she wasn't tough to train.
Was it the cancer-striken housewife that came to sessions even after her chemo-therapy treatments? There were plenty of times, I can remember Mary didn't feel up to training but she insisted that we keep going. Even when she knew I was regressing exercises and making them easy, she would scold me and ask me to keep things "as they were". At times, she would adjust her wig in my presence and cough violently, but she was a trooper that only made me work harder to see her get through every session. She lost her battle 2 years later, but I knew--that second to her family--she fought a good fight. So, no...she wasn't tough to train.
So who was the toughest client to train???
In all my years, the toughest client to train has been the regular guy or gal that is lazy, inconsistent and looking for a "quick fix". The client that needs to be entertained to forget they are exercising. The client that needs to be lured into exercises by saying things like, "we'll go slow" or "we'll only do it this one time"...or "just give me 6 reps (instead of the intended 10). This is the client that is has no self-motivation or willingness to empower themselves with the God-given gifts that they already have.
This is the client that becomes his/her own worst enemy. The client that inconsistently trains but consistently eats more than he should. This is the client that doesn't realize that the bigger picture is a life 15-20, 30 years down the road but only focuses on the now. This is the client that is toughest to train.... If you enjoyed this post, please share it and make your comments below telling of your toughest clients to train.