Let’s face it. As a fitness professional, walking into a gym and working out is second nature for you. You’re as at home and comfortable on the gym floor as you are in your living room. You may even spend more time at the gym than you do at home. It’s where you feel at ease and in your element. You’re confident, you’re with your tribe and feeling every inch the badass trainer you are.
Not everyone feels the same way you do. And it’s important for you to snap out of your comfort zone and be aware that not everyone feels comfortable or connected to gym culture. Recall a time, place or situation when you felt vulnerable and remember how you felt. No fun, right? Uncomfortable. You bet.
Now imagine, just for a minute, the vulnerability issues new gym members might feel: fear of how they look, how others might judge them, afraid they may not be able to do the exercises, the mirrors, loud music, the list goes on and on. On the flip side you may have clients who feel at home in the gym and have been working out routinely. They may be on auto-pilot and in need of a mental realignment; struggling with their progress and need to be brought back to paying attention and intentionally focusing on their workout, or need a word of encouragement and a reminder of how far they’ve come.
It takes courage to step into a place of vulnerability and yet, it is in that place of vulnerability that change can happen. You can make a difference here if you are aware of and sensitive to your client’s vulnerability. You can be a mindful badass trainer.
To create and hold space for your client requires you, as their trainer, to be fully present, listening without judgment, meeting your clients where they are ~ no matter where they are. It’s important for you and your client to be aware of where they are mentally and emotionally in addition to the physical assessment you routinely offer as part of your expertise and service.
Health and wellness include all of who we are.
Cultivating a relationship that compassionately holds a person in their vulnerability translates into more success for you and your client. As humans, all of us want to be seen. We never know the whole story. Remember that the next time you meet with your client. Don’t assume you know how they feel, take a few minutes to assess what might be happening beneath the surface. When you intentionally bring your full attention to your client and expand your awareness of where they are mentally and emotionally, your client will grow to trust you.
Meet your client where they are with empathy. Not sympathy. Empathy. There’s a big difference. Sympathy carries a feeling of pity or “you poor thing” energy which, instead of empowering someone will support “victim” consciousness and their hopes you won’t be too hard on them. Forget that. No one wins in that scenario. Empathy is about understanding and relating to how another person feels. You’re still going to push your client to their limits on the gym floor, but with a twist ~ with your heart understanding we all have tender places of vulnerability. You’re here to witness a fellow human in theirs and support them to tolerate feeling uncomfortable, to push beyond where they imagined they could go and celebrate their successes.
You will notice that your clients will respond with more ease moving through resistance when it arises. You will expand your ability to design fitness programs that are customized to meet them where they are, that prove to be sustainable. As a result, you will retain more long-term clients (who get results!) and feel more connection with your clients as they challenge and stretch themselves and feel their inner badass come alive.
Creating and holding a safe space for your clients, knowing and accepting where they are mentally, emotionally and physically, bringing your full attention to your client during each session–these are practices integral to fostering your clients’ success in the gym.
Trust me, your client will know if you’re not fully present. They will pick up on your feelings of boredom, your watchful eye on the clock or on the hot body across the room. Exactly what they’re not looking for in a trainer. Be a true witness to your client.
In our online course “The Mindful Trainer”, we provide you with all the secrets of how to connect with your client on a deeper level. Click Here to see the course: "Mindful Trainer"