“But I just want to tone my muscles.”
“I want to do more cardio to lose weight.”
“I’m afraid of getting too big.”
When trainers hear these phrases, many turn their response into a lecture. A chance for them to show the client how much the trainer knows, the trainer’s lecture delves into what the science says, what to do instead, and worse: how the client is wrong.
“You may be right
I may be crazy”
In the classic Billy Joel song, You May Be Right, the battle on being right is waged throughout the song.
In the examples above, too, there are many trainers who are undoubtedly correct when they start correcting a client and explaining how tone doesn’t exist, cardio isn’t good for weight loss, etc.
But there is a huge problem when YOU are right:
THEY are wrong.
When a client is wrong, that is unfortunately a time when that client could come to question that you can help them achieve what they’re asking for. After all, you just told them they are wrong, and in turn, they may wonder if you are the person who can help them get what they are looking for.
However, I think approaching a client and their requests (even if they are wrong) differently starts with a three step process.
Here’s my recommendation on how to answer a client who, although they are wrong, can still be right.
- When you, as the trainer, hear these sayings, instead of instantly correcting the client, nod your head in agreement. After all, you know what they want. Now is not the time to launch into an instant lecture.
- Give them what they want (tone, increased heart rate or sweat, etc) via the correct methods so that they feel the difference (adding muscle, doing circuits)
- Ask them for feedback on how they feel they are doing, getting closer to their goals, etc. Use that feedback to adjust the necessary variables.
Repeat steps 1 – 3 as necessary.
You can still be a scientist while having the bedside manner of an experienced therapist. Those two are not mutually exclusive.
Remember: you may be right, but if you let the client know that, you may be crazy.