I was in the gym with a client last week and a rather outspoken member interrupts us and loudly says “That’s what I need, someone to yell at me!”. My lovely client responded by telling this member that I actually don’t yell, that I’m a really nice trainer.
This little interaction got me thinking about a few things. Can I still be an effective trainer if I don’t yell at my clients? Why do women feel they need that aggressive push? Am I missing potential results by not being a bit “meaner”?
It’s true that we all need a little motivation here and there in order to push ourselves to a level we may not go to on our own. But is yelling, or even talking aggressively, the way to do it? Heck NO! In fact, I think that by yelling at your clients to push through the hard stuff, you are putting them at more risk and you become a LESS effective trainer! If you’ve purchased some Personal Training sessions, or have gotten yourself to an exercise class, you’re already showing a level of intrinsic motivation. You WANT to be there. I am not forcing you, you did that all on your own. The decision has to be up to you, otherwise it will never stick! Staying consistent with your fitness goals ultimately comes from within. My goal is to empower you to see that you have the strength and drive already inside you, it just needs to be realized. But if I’m too busy yelling at you, all that does is make you feel like you probably can’t do this without me. And I don’t want my clients to need me, I want them to feel empowered, to feel that I am supporting them in a balanced way. That I am there for them, but ultimately they CAN actually do this on their own!
The other part of this is that I have NO idea what is going on inside your body at the time or our session, I don’t fully understand how a particular session/exercise is feeling for YOU TODAY. We have SO much going on in our lives! From kids and spouses, to career, to aging parents, to grocery shopping, home renovations, and everything in between. Sometimes simply showing up to your session is a HUGE win. If I yell at you to push it harder, and you’re already stressed to the max, what do you think my forceful communication is going to do to your stress levels? It’s going to create a heck of alot more tension in your body, and possibly even lead to injury. The whole of your life, your stress, and your thoughts, become rooted in your body, in your fascia, and in your muscles. If you’re stressed and exhausted you are more likely to injure yourself. This is NOT the time for you to be yelled at to push further, to lift more, go faster, and do better.
My goal is for you to leave feeling BETTER than when you came in, NOT beaten and submissive. Those who seek the adrenaline rush from intense bootcamp style training are likely the ones who need to actually chill out the most! We may feel that temporary endorphin rush post workout, thinking it’s great for stress relief, but in the long run, it actually contributes to your overall stress load in a negative way. We are so hard on ourselves! If we don’t leave the gym feeling like we absolutely killed it, like our muscles are complete noodles, and our bodies are drenched in sweat, then we didn’t “do it right”, or we didn’t “work hard enough”. If you think these thoughts, I want you stop! Just be proud that you got to the gym. If you moved your body in some capacity, if you made it to the gym and picked up a weight or two, THAT’s SUCCESS!!
So NO, I don’t yell at my clients, I don’t tell them to do 5 more reps when I can clearly see that they need to set the weight down. I don’t push them past their limits just to burn a few more calories. I am the Compassionate Trainer. I’m the one who asks you how you’re feeling today, how you slept last night, and whether you’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately. I’m the one who encourages you to pick up a weight and do a set amount of reps if it feels OK for your body TODAY. If you were pressing 40 pounds last week, but this week you feel like doing 20, I don’t judge. There is only support, acceptance, and complete compassion.
That, to me, is what being a trainer and coach is all about.
In Wellness, Krista Boulding