Monday, February 6, 2012

Is the Interventionist Inside of You?

When you refer to yourself as a coach, you can't help but think of yourself as a "interventionist". Everyday, personal trainers have the opportunity to impact someone's life and create permanent changes. We intervene in a client's world and shake it up. As I stated in this blog post, trainers can either help clients become stronger both physically and mentally, or they can simply skewer them with negativity and help them simply "workout". There is a psychological factor involved in coaching. The power to intervene can make a positive impact on a client if the trainer can handle that huge responsibility.

All day, every day, my clients sit behind computer monitors punching away at their keyboards feeling absolutely no stimulation. The only heightened brain activity comes from playing a game on their smartphone while they are sitting on the toilet. Sure most people scour the Internet for ideas, and original thought...but most simply come away with a feeling of "on the outside looking in"--having no drive or motivation to capitalize on  the triggers that stimulate them. 

If you think your client chooses to exercise with you simply to "look" better, you are missing the forest for the trees. Clients want to look and feel better because they want more out of their life. It starts with feeling better about themselves. Personal trainers help that cause with exercise. 

Personal trainers have the ability to change a client's outlook on life by injecting inspiration, positive energy, and introspection. We use fitness as a vehicle to do this. As a therapist uses a couch and notepad, personal trainers use squats, dumbbells, deadlifts, and barbells.  The job of transforming their bodies is a tangible service and one that we "study" for. But the real service is transforming their thoughts, their outlook, their attitude, and their self perception. Ask yourself, can you handle those responsibilities?

When I meet a client that feels run down, low energy, and feels like he or she is simply going through the motions of life, I know they need stimulation. They need to uncover something about themselves. People go through self-discovery phases at different times in life depending on where they are in life. If they need a tool to "uncover" something new about themselves, and that tool becomes me (the personal trainer), I will work within my means to get that accomplished.

Self-empowerment is a positive discovery thrust upon people by different means. In personal training, our means is fitness. This can come in many forms: weight-training, yoga, Zumba, or triathlons. In my business, I choose lifting weights to make my clients stronger and and feel better. Most general population clients come into my facility feeling like they are shackled to their desks all day. I make them believe that there is plenty of potential in their lives while minimizing the idea of working 9-5 simply to feel "scarcity" still. Building their strength levels gives them a feeling of empowerment because it provides them the freedom to function without hesitation and apprehension.

The first time my client deadlifted 225 pounds was remarkable. The guy had never even lifted a weighted barbell off the floor in his life. Today, he deadlifted 335 pounds.

What impressed me the most about this new personal record? He knew he could do it before I slapped the plates on the bar. That is empowerment. That is what I am most proud of.

Changing behaviors is not easy. Everyone changes on their own terms. As interventionists, we cannot "force" change. But we can continuously influence in a positive manner. Like regulating gas mileage in your car, we can influence the MPG depending on how we drive the car. Want to make $60 in gas last a while? Drive with a steady foot, watch your start-ups and keep the speed at a moderate level--without flooring it. That's how you affect your MPG.

How do you influence your client? Every trainer has different methods of coaching. Some use motivational tactics, some use smiles. It begins with have self-confidence as a trainer, first. When you believe you can coach anyone...or almost everyone...than you are on your way to making an impact on everyone you come across in your life.


  1. I'm not a trainer but I've been on the receiving end of what you describe -- "If they need a tool to "uncover" something new about themselves, and that tool becomes me (the personal trainer), I will work within my means to get that accomplished."

    That is precisely what working with my then trainer (and now new trainer) did for me. I was that low-energy person and with help I got some fitness goals, some help re-prioritizing, and uncovered something huge. Help from a trainer impacted me, my family, friends, there are tremendous ripple effects too.

    I just can't say enough about the enormous positive influence a trainer can have. I rely on that connection today as I continue to up the ante on my goals and aspirations.

  2. Exactly the reason why I wrote this! Thanks for reading Cort!


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