Over the past few years I have trained quite a few people to become fitness leaders. I’m lucky enough to help train people to motivate and inspire others to move their bodies, to correct form, to protect and advocate for clients. I love the educational aspect of fitness and I truly adore watching new trainers find their voice and realize the power they have to change lives. It is a very cool process to be a part of.
There is one phrase, however, that a lot (and I mean a lot) of new trainers like to throw out to their clients. But before I get there please know that I know you’re using the words that might inspire you. You’re trying to help. I understand that, so don’t get all bagiggity when I tell you what not to say. I know you’re not trying to be hurtful. However…
A few years ago when I first started to “train trainers” I had one student who would walk next to new clients and say “Hey! Good job! We all start somewhere”. The immediate, immediate response was a shy smile, a thumbs up and a droop in the client’s shoulders. What happened? Well…you just told someone that all the work they had previously done isn’t apparent and was seemingly for nothing At least that’s what the clients told me after when I spoke to them about their reaction to that phase. They may have just started. Or…they be on month 5 or month 12 or year 2. You just don’t know what a person’s journey is.
“We all start somewhere” can be one of the most demotivating phrases a fitness trainer can use. I have repeatedly seen new trainers say these words and elicit a carbon copy response from their clients. I love motivating and inspiring people and pushing people to do things they never, ever thought they could do. As fitness leaders, that’s our primary job. But we need to be very aware that the words we use effect our clients just as much as the exercises and workouts we plan for them.
Sure, if you know for certain your client hasn’t worked out for a very long time, you may choose to say “we all start somewhere”, but even then I’d hesitate. It’s just not a phrase that instills confidence. It’s a little demeaning. There are many, many other phrases you could choose!
Let’s encourage people in other ways. Good job. Keep working. That takes a lot of strength. I see your determination. You got this. Give me just a little more. Can you push a little further? You should be super proud of yourself. Do you see what you just did?! Use phrases that motivate. That you could say to anyone at any point in their journey.
My advice to new trainers? Ban the phrase “we all start somewhere” or any version of it you can think of. Empower your clients with the strength that have on the day you’re training them. Particularly if you’re new to training them. You have the power to motivate and inspire, but the opposite is also true…you have the power to demotivate and dishearten.
Use your power for good, fitness leaders. You can make a difference in every single client you work with. Be the positive and light that they need. Be their cheerleader and their champion. Always be confident and always be respectful. Refuse excuses and use words that empower…that’s your job.
Now go…lead…fiercely and strongly.