I've been a personal trainer for almost a decade. Over the years, I've noticed a phenomenon: people who worked incredibly hard in the gym were achieving their desired physiques but still not feeling satisfied with the results. These are the same clients who often suffered from terrible cravings, digestive issues, stress and poor sleep.
The truth is, even if we're happy with the number on the scale and the body in the mirror, these markers aren't necessarily accurate reflections of our bodies' complete wellbeing. This is why I left these kind of metrics in the dust long ago and believe strongly in the philosophies that drive both my personal training and coaching. My approach may be somewhat unconventional, but I've found that when I share these guidelines with eager, open-minded clients, their overall wellness is elevated.
So here are ten things most personal trainers don't do, but should.
1. They don't ignore the scale.
The scale isn't an accurate reflection of someone's progress. Instead of weighing in, I have my clients find a favorite item of clothing that makes them feel confident and have them try it on once a month. How they feel in the garment is reflective of how much work they have left to accomplish.
2. They don't allow for wiggle room in a diet.
A variety of factors should determine your daily intake of food, not an arbitrary number of calories assigned to you. Learning to listen to your body as you go about your day is key to really becoming healthy. Our bodies send us messages, telling us what we need and when we need it. We need to use these cues to make decisions about how we fuel ourselves instead of looking externally for rules and regulations.
3. They don't focus on long term consistency.
Rather than focusing on short-term intensity, I create routines that inspire my clients to move, to motivate them to try something active every day. It's difficult to sustain an intense exercise regimen, especially right off that bat. I've watched clients beat themselves into submission, hoping to see dramatic results. But ultimately, these hardcore bursts of activity aren't sustainable and these people often end up back at square one because they weren't able to maintain the furious intensity they'd demanded of themselves.
The body responds best to a balanced, consistent routine over time. When you create a new pattern of workouts that suits your personality and is geared to your individual body's needs, you're 99% more likely to create new habits and achieve (and maintain!) your fitness goals.
4. They don't advocate for meditation.
Whether we realize it or not, our physical behaviors and habits are driven by both our conscious and subconscious thoughts. Not only does meditation provide time for the reduction of stress levels, it also gives us the power to reprogram our thinking and transform our behaviors, which will inevitably permeate into everything we do — even a workout.
5. They don't believe in natural superfoods over chemical supplements.
It can be incredibly overwhelming to walk through the aisles of a vitamin store or try to decode one of the countless articles about supplements in a fitness magazine, but the earth gives us everything we need. And digesting something in its most natural form will bring the ultimate benefits and results to your body.
6. They don't use essential oils.
Our crazy modern lifestyles don't always create optimal conditions for physical wellness. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and environmental toxins can leave our bodies unbalanced and energy deficient. From cleansing and weight management to supporting every system of the body, essential oils provide the tremendous support you need to restore balance and feel your best.
7. The don't promote and practice bio individuality.
There are countless "cookie cutter" diets and nutritional suggestions out there that inevitably lead to yo-yo dieting and patterns of failure. The truth is, no one diet works for everyone. Your body is an incredibly designed system that knows exactly what nutrients it needs in order to achieve its perfect weight and optimal health. I teach my clients that the intake of nutrient-dense foods will always be better than calorie restriction. What works for one person isn't necessarily going to work for another, and only by looking inside yourself can you determine what is best for you.
8. They don't view a client's whole-picture wellness.
Achieving our fitness goals requires a combination of elements working in concert: a consistent exercise routine, a nutrient-dense diet, proper sleep, regulated hormone levels and a low stress environment. This is why when I work with clients I look at how all areas of their lives are connected and make sure they have support in all of them. By doing this, I am able to create a program and support system that serves their entire well-being.
9. They don't encourage clients to eliminate unhealthy behaviors by adding healthy ones.
Deprivation often breeds unhappiness, so instead of taking things away from my clients, I encourage them to add new, healthier behaviors to the mix. It turns out that when we focus on incorporating new healthy habits in our lives, we often let go of what no longer serves us. When we focus on what serves our body well, we shed the desires of unhealthy habits and cravings.
10. They don't surround themselves and their clients with positivity.
When we surround ourselves with people who support our desires to live a healthy life, our success increases exponentially. Having a friend to take yoga or spin class with, or perhaps meeting someone new in a wellness workshop, can truly give you a newfound desire to create and maintain a lifestyle enriched with balance and wellness.