What is the Approach to Setting Realistic Fitness Goals With New Clients?


    What is the Approach to Setting Realistic Fitness Goals With New Clients?

    When it comes to setting realistic fitness goals, the expertise of fitness professionals is invaluable, as demonstrated by a personal trainer who recounts a soldier's remarkable weight loss journey. Alongside expert advice, we've also included additional answers that provide a broader perspective on effective goal-setting strategies. From celebrating current successes to establishing specific, timely benchmarks, these insights offer a well-rounded approach to achieving fitness aspirations.

    • Start with Understanding Current Fitness Level
    • Celebrate Current Successes, Introduce Small Changes
    • Start with Small, Attainable Targets
    • Evaluate Health, Set Achievable Challenges
    • Focus on Consistent Workout Habits
    • Incorporate Personal Interests into Workouts
    • Establish Specific, Timely Fitness Benchmarks

    Start with Understanding Current Fitness Level

    Setting realistic fitness goals with new clients involves understanding their current fitness level, health status, preferences, and lifestyle, while considering their long-term aspirations and potential limitations.

    My most recent success story with a client was a soldier who was about to be discharged from the military because he was over the height and weight standards. He had been on a diet for months. His diet consisted of only eating once a day, and he had lost 11 pounds in two months but was not meeting his goal, and he had plateaued. I put him on a diet where he ate five times a day and lost 8 pounds in his first five days. He continued to lose weight and dropped almost 30 lbs in 30 days. Long story short, he was able to achieve his desired weight and continue his career in the military.

    Christian Houston
    Christian HoustonPersonal Trainer, Patriot Fitness

    Celebrate Current Successes, Introduce Small Changes

    Introducing a new fitness regimen can be overwhelming and difficult to kick-start. My approach when helping individuals focuses on two things. First, identifying areas of success: what they are currently doing well (and celebrating that with them). Secondly, we begin to build on their current fitness state by making small changes that push us toward their fitness goals we are trying to achieve.

    For example, a client is frustrated with their progress from a fitness perspective. They are only able to commit two days per week to exercise. After encouraging them on their commitment to two days per week, we look for areas of opportunity to increase the demand of those two workouts. It could be adding one additional set to a multi-joint movement, decreasing their rest period between sets, or finishing the workout with some form of higher-intensity, short-duration sprint work. All three of these examples only add a few minutes to their routine and, based on their individual goals, is what we would collectively choose to implement.

    Once we have made these adjustments, I monitor how well my clients can adhere to those changes on a weekly basis. During our check-in calls, I'll see how well (or not so well) my client is adjusting to the changes. Each week we reevaluate, correcting our course of progression if needed. More often than not, these minor tweaks to their current routine can start a snowball effect of the client being open to more changes. Two days per week becomes three; they start to want to hit targets on weight lifted or timed cardio improvements.

    Tamia Moya-Mantilla
    Tamia Moya-MantillaPerformance Health Coach, Cenegenics

    Start with Small, Attainable Targets

    A practical approach to setting fitness goals for new clients is to start with smaller, more attainable targets. These initial goals serve as stepping stones that build confidence and demonstrate progress, which can be incredibly motivating. By focusing on these near-term achievements, clients are less likely to become overwhelmed and more likely to stay engaged with their fitness regimen.

    Reflecting on these accomplishments also creates a foundation for setting future, more challenging objectives. Everyone desiring a healthier lifestyle should start small to go far—begin your journey by setting your first small goal today.

    Evaluate Health, Set Achievable Challenges

    When working with new clients, it's vital to thoroughly evaluate their current physical condition including any possible health limitations. This helps in crafting a fitness program that recognizes their starting point and avoids pushing them too fast, too soon, which could lead to injuries or discouragement. Understanding where they stand helps trainers to set appropriate challenges that are ambitious yet achievable.

    Personalizing a routine in this way ensures that clients are neither bored nor overstretched. Take the first step towards a tailored fitness journey by booking an assessment with a professional trainer.

    Focus on Consistent Workout Habits

    For individuals just beginning their fitness path, it's essential to emphasize the importance of regular exercise over trying to lift the heaviest weight or run the longest distance from the start. Creating the habit of working out consistently forms the bedrock of long-term fitness success. When consistency is the focus, intensity and complexity can naturally increase as the client's capacity improves.

    This approach leads to sustainable habit formation that encourages lifelong health and wellness practices. Kickstart your fitness transformation by committing to regular, manageable workouts.

    Incorporate Personal Interests into Workouts

    Pairing a new client's personal interests with a well-structured workout plan can significantly enhance their motivation and adherence to the program. If a client enjoys certain activities, incorporating these into their fitness routine can make exercise feel less like a chore and more like a pleasure. Structured plans that consider individual likes and dislikes can greatly improve the chances of long-term success.

    This balance ensures that clients remain engaged and look forward to their workouts. Find an activity you love and integrate it into your fitness plan for a rewarding exercise experience.

    Establish Specific, Timely Fitness Benchmarks

    Effective goal setting in fitness includes establishing benchmarks that are not only specific but also tied to a timeline. These measures of success allow clients and trainers to regularly monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the training program. It's about meeting certain targets by specific dates, helping clients to stay on track and motivated by visible, quantifiable changes in their fitness levels.

    Regular progress checks serve as opportunities to celebrate victories and recalibrate goals. Set a date for your next fitness milestone and work towards it with focus.