The Absentee Client (an enlightening rant in the key of @#!!&*#@!)

Dear YOU,

“You can do it!”

There’s an important word in that sentence – YOU. Where are you? Why aren’t you here, at our appointment? I set up the weights ahead of time and that helped make ME a little stronger, but the bar sitting on the rack isn’t making YOU any stronger. For us to achieve the goals you stated you would like to achieve, YOU need to be doing SOMETHING!

Let me be a little more clear: I’m not saying that you must use my weights, or my gym, or even any “gym” at all for certain goals. We may develop a fitness plan that involves bodyweight and outdoor activities. It is irrelevant to my point. Regardless of what the activities, exercises, or therapies are, YOU have to DO them at some point. Knowing the plan and doing the plan do not get the same results.

How do we know this? Because I enjoy teaching, here’s a simplified definition for you:

SUPERCOMPENSATION = your body’s ability to attain a post-workout fitness level greater than the previous fitness level, in order to be ready for the next workout.

Supercompensation sets in after the workout’s recovery period. That higher level will be sustained for a certain amount of time, depending on the individual, and is usually a few days. If you train again within the supercompensation period, you will again improve your fitness level, and so on up to peak genetic potential. If you do not train again within the supercompensation period (wait too many days before another workout), your body will say “use it or lose it” and you will regress back to your initial fitness level.

Stimulus, recovery, supercompensation, return to baseline

This is a long-winded way of saying GET GOING! For results to happen, you have to put the time in. And then you have to put the time in AGAIN, probably a few days later, sometimes even the next day and the next day after that depending on whether you are a novice or advanced athlete. Corrective exercises and rehab should be done every day or every other day. (There will be more information on this in a future follow-up post on periodization. I haven’t forgotten!).

Where is this all coming from? The recent slew of people telling me they exercise once a week and their goals are to lose 40 pounds, have ripped arms, have a six-pack stomach, and get back to playing a full-contact collision sport on the weekends. I’ve had people say they need to lose 30 pounds and want to train with me, but they only want to see me 2x A MONTH. They’ll “just go do stuff on their own”, like walk around the park on the weekends (if they aren’t too hung over), and check in with the plan twice a month for more advice. “Starting next month, because I don’t want to start this month, what with work and all.”

Let me know how that works for you….

Some people come to me with financial difficulty in affording a trainer. I understand. It’s your money to spend how you will. If you can afford it, investing in your health, pride, and happiness is a pretty good start, I’m just saying. (Despite the unfortunate realities of income vs the cost of better quality food choices and gym memberships, etc, the ability to improve your life via exercise should not be the sole realm of those who can afford a personal trainer. There are less expensive options.) Regardless, walking in the park on weekends is not enough stimulation to cause your body to improve. You are not 80 years old. Up the intensity, grandpa! Running 2 minutes to catch your train is not sufficient activity for the day. There is no magic pill for your goals. I repeat, THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL FOR YOUR GOALS. Whether or not you see me, whether or not you join a gym or an exercise class, you have to BE THERE. Show up and put in the time!

Despite my personal feelings towards group fitness classes and the gimmicks they use, they at least work at getting a lot of people off the couch and moving. I’m not going to tell you that you have to enjoy lifting weights. Many people find it tedious and boring (not anyone who experiences my witty banter, of course) and have no motivation to stick to a plan like that. That’s fine. If it makes you show up and participate, I’ll accept it for now. We can slowly wean you off that nonsense by explaining exactly what going to spin 2 nights a week and “rock hard abs 8 minute video” are NOT doing for progressing you towards your particular goals and ARE doing for progressing your physical therapist’s and orthopedic surgeon’s bank accounts (that’s a whole other post). And most people find they DO really enjoy lifting weights when they see the actual results that happen over time and the confidence that comes with being stronger and fitter.

Stop making excuses. Stop saying work got in the way. Don’t say you can’t find the time. Make the time. It may require a lifestyle modification. If the desire is really there, you will find a way. You might need to make a way. If you haven’t, you don’t really have the desire, you just like to pretend you do. I won’t program for someone who plans to exercise twice a month. These are YOUR goals, not mine. To summarize: GET YOUR A** IN HERE.

Only The Strong

One thought on “The Absentee Client (an enlightening rant in the key of @#!!&*#@!)

  1. I feel your frustration! I find it challenging not to get upset when a client is missing sesssions, showing up late, or just not really caring in general. That’s where we come in to motivate them and help them RE-focus! Good post, Thanks!
    Nick Outlaw

Comments are closed.