Flip Your Script

John J. Schessler, Wellness Coach/Personal Trainer

Fitness Communication

Good day, J-Stans! J-Stans? If you follow or read my work, that’s what your collective name is, lol. That’s not what this article is about though. This is more so a continuation of my Fitness Etiquette entry a few weeks ago. I googled ‘fitness communication’ this morning thinking not a lot would pop up, boy was I wrong!! I knew general communication in the gym is important but for this to be it’s own ‘thing’ came as a bit of a surprise.

Communication in any form is important because without it, we couldn’t convey our wants and needs to each other. Communication that is specific to health and fitness has its own importance within our vast community. Let’s start from the top-down, the client-trainer relationship or partnership. Personal Trainers or CPT’s for short, as a part of their initial certification are required to complete a chunk of their studying on their communication skills because that is the majority of our jobs…..talking, coaching and counseling. I always describe my job in ways of a bartender…remember Woody from Cheers? (I’m dating myself here, lol.) Woody was the bartender who listened to everybody’s issues and gave his own brand of home-spin advice. Trainers are kind of like that, our responses are usually more coherent though, lol. We use communication as a bridge to understand goals, barriers and wishes when it comes to their fitness journeys. Our number one goal for each of our clients SHOULD be to help them build something bigger than they thought possible for themselves. In assisting our clients through this process, the clearer the communication is, the better the outcome. Without proper conversations and conveying of wants, miscommunications follow and both parties become frustrated, leaving the clients full potential untapped and unused. As trainers, this means leaving them much better at the end of their journey than when they became our clients initially.

For the 98.5% of my client-base, goals are not about winning pro cards at competitions or medals but about functioning at a better level from day to day. They inspire me more than I do them and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’d rather be inspired by their hard work than them fawning over what is my my job.

I never expect my clients to use perfect communication 100% of the time or anyone in the gym for that matter, myself included. We all just trying to learn in the long run! However, when someone isn’t sure of how to do something correctly, I would hope they would ask before attempting. This is how people get injured and accidents happen.

Client communication starts at the moment the they meet with a trainer for the first time. It is the responsible of the client to let the trainer know their goals in a way that is clearly communicated so that expectations and a fitness plan can be made specific to those goals. True, goals change over time so even if the goals were not clearly communicated through the first meeting, it’s no big deal. Clearly stating the goals just makes things go easier. It should also be the clients’ responsibility to be truthful about questions asked to them by their trainer. The only way for us to know if you stay on track with your diet, workouts, etc., is if you are 100% transparent with us or we can’t assist you to the best of our training and knowledge. Just like any other relationship, open and honest communication between both parties will allow things to operate smoother, trust to be built and goals to be met and surpassed.

Obviously, I haven’t stated anything that people don’t already know but sometime it’s worth repeating for the people in the back or people who are new to this environment. The golden rule: If you don’t know, ASK! The only way to get smarter is to ask questions!

John Schessler, Jr. is a Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach and Men’s Life Coach located in Pittsburgh, PA. He is also host of the ManAlive! Podcast available on Apple Podcasts. Questions and inquiries may be sent to j.schessler@pghwellnesscoach.com.

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