I remember many years ago, long before I was a trainer, sitting on the couch at a party with a coworker who told the group she had a trainer come to her house every Saturday as she crossed her fingers behind her head. I distinctively recall looking at her flabby arms and concluding her trainer must not be that good if at 25 that’s how her arms look. There are various reasons a person with a trainer doesn’t look fit and now that I am a trainer, I know that how the client looks, shouldn’t reflect on the trainer.
I have clients that on the outside look healthy but they have injuries and/or conditions preventing me from pushing them as hard as I would like to. Cardiovascular wise I can push them very little and when lifting weights we have to take longer breaks to lower the heart rate to the doctor recommended range. Since I can’t push them to go faster and heavier, unless they have a great diet and are active throughout the day, the results will be much slower.
At times I feel like a nagger for telling my clients to watch what they eat and the portions, but I can work with a client every day and if they don’t watch portion sizes they will not create a calorie deficit that will results in weight loss. That doesn’t mean starvation but eating smaller portions of a Mediterranean diet (fish, fruits and vegetables) every few hours. I can keep informing my clients of proper nutrition, but I can’t control how well they will listen.
At times I wonder if clients really believe that working with me 2-3 days a week is enough to see results or they know better but don’t want to put in the effort on their own. Results come from moving every day for at least 30 minutes. That doesn’t mean going to the gym every day, but spending time being active, whether that is vacuuming, running behind kids, walking the dog or playing Frisbee. Results don’t come from meeting a trainer few times a week, they come from increasing the energy consumption and reducing the caloric intake daily.
Certain conditions make it hard to stay on the right track. One of my clients is an emotional eater who overall does very well at balancing work, school, diet and exercise. She will stay on track and regularly lose weight but suddenly gain 3 pounds in a week to be told stress triggered an overeating episode. We have been working together for over 6 months and she also sees a therapist but it takes time to find the right balance in managing it. Depression and certain medications also affect results.
Recently I saw an image depicting Cookie Monster in bed, biting on a cookie, surrounded by jars of cookies with the caption “I don’t lose weight because of my trainer”. There are many reasons for a person with a trainer not to see results. A trainer can motivate, push and educate but the ultimate results lie in the client’s hand. Clients must want the results enough to make the time to exercise and eat sensibly, have the patience to see results and, if needed, get help.
About the Author
Aris Akavan, ACE certified Personal Trainer & Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach, is owner of Body Fitness by Aris. Her mission is to assist others in leading a healthier lifestyle by balancing exercise and proper eating habits to achieve the ultimate body & mind wellness. Aris leads by example as she practices what she preaches. She leads an alcohol free and smoke free lifestyle and has worked out while following proper nutrition practices for over 10 years. In the last few years she also started participating in 5k races, adventure runs and triathlons. You can visit Aris at any of her following: