What you don't know about your client matters

Male personal trainer and female client sitting down having a discussion.Receiving empathy and understanding is an important part of the journey for very deconditioned or overweight people when they are contemplating being more active or just starting out. Each person has a unique personal background, as well as exercise, injury and psychological profiles. Until these factors are considered, you can’t create the most effective approach and programme for your client.

Determining the psychological triggers of severely deconditioned or obese clients is the most important factor in helping them create lifelong change. All the exercise in the world will not create long-term change unless clients have dealt with the personal, professional, lifestyle and social factors that led them to put on so much weight.

Two local personal trainers have put together two excellent resources to help activity providers support their deconditioned clients:

Trainers must be careful to stay within their scope of practice and not offer “counselling” services. However having clients “open up” and share their feelings, fears, concerns and frustrations with you will provide valuable insight into their mind set and the psychological barriers they are facing.

Working with a psychologist or qualified counselling professional can help overcome these barriers depending on the client and situation.

Doing Sport Differently is a guide for people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. This useful resource from Disability Rights UK outlines the benefits of being active and provides guidance on how to get started.