I came across this yesterday and I love her take on things Obese People Are Not Lazy. In particular, I love this paragraph SOOO much and I agree with the sentiment 100%
“…Trainers, competitors, fitness enthusiasts–YOU have the know-how. Don’t hoard it! Give it away! And it may not be as simple as giving someone a diet to follow. You might have to actually ASK THEM how they feel, what struggles they are having, and take responsibility for their results. My mentor Alwyn Cosgrove talks about this often – he puts it on the backs of the trainers to get their clients results. It’s convenient to simply say that our client is noncompliant and doesn’t want it badly enough – it easily takes the onus off us. But, why do we get to be off the hook? They are paying US to help them be more compliant and learn to want it. So let’s take on the challenge….”
As trainers, so often the view is that it must be the client’s fault, they must be cheating, they lack commitment or focus, they don’t want it enough and speaking as both a trainer AND a client “…They are paying US to help them be more compliant and learn to want it…” is exactly right. As a PT client, when everything is going well its great but when I am having a bad week and failing at everything I need someone to understand why, to ask me how I really feel, to want to help, to give me a nudge back on track and be there until I am. Demanding? Absolutely, but I am investing my time, my money and my trust why wouldn’t I expect 100% service?
In my opinion the best thing a PT can do to help his or her clients is to be a client themselves at some point in their career – there is nothing like being the other side of the fence to make sure you empathise with your clients, you appreciate why they think that some exercises are undignified or that they look silly, you understand why trainers need to get explanations and instructions right and you understand about motivation. There is something about changing the power dynamics that really changes the way you relate to clients – from my own experience as a client I make sure that when I train other people I always ask them how they are, find out what is going in their lives, understand their stresses and try to offer some advice.
But back to the original concept of this post! One of the key things we should all do whether we are trainers, clients, gym members, friends, colleagues, partners, neighbours whatever is to stop passing judgement on everyone we meet based on how they look, whether they are overweight, fat, thin, old, young, it doesn’t matter. None of us can know how or what their lives are like until, as the old saying goes, we walk a mile in their shoes so, lets all try and being a little less judgemental and a lot more supportive!