It’s safe to say the New Year’s crowd has slowly dwindled in numbers; where some of the faithful have stuck to their guns and many others have fallen off the wagon. As a personal trainer this is tough to witness. While there are a number of reasons for this happening (and not always the fault of the individual), one particular reason comes to mind: people have an all or nothing approach to getting into a fitness program. Instead of slowly adding exercise to their lives, they go “all in” at each session and work out every day as hard as they can. Burnout ensues, momentum is lost, and the best intentions cannot overcome the body and spirit breaking down to the point of exhaustion.
Having witnessed this over the years, I thought I might try a slightly different approach to beginning someone on their health & fitness journey…
Stop them early, and keep them wanting more.
After the initial sessions gathering information and recording baseline data, I will start a client through the first workouts teaching how to perform the exercises and the intention that goes into every movement and repetition (more on this in another post). They start to feel good, get better at performance, and look forward to doing more. And that is exactly what I want them to experience.
Earnest Hemingway said, “The best way [to keep momentum going] is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”
I want my clients to feel like they could do more when starting a program. Almost like “Hey, I can do more. Let’s go, let’s push it!” I want that feeling to carry over into the next session and create an internal drive so they look forward to coming in. All too often we can get overzealous and push ourselves and our clients to the point of complete mental and physical fatigue way too early. While we do need to challenge ourselves appropriately to see our bodies adapt to new stimuli, we need to do it in a calculated way.
By stopping our clients before they tax themselves too much in the beginning of a program, we can help to create an environment where they desire more during their exercise sessions, which then can keep them internally motivated and keep momentum going.