Five Christmases ago I groaned with dread as the “resolution emails” started trickling into my inbox. For the average fitness/wellness provider/facility, the first 3 weeks of January is a whirlwind of activity as people resolve to eat better, workout more, lose 30lbs, detox, drop a jean size, stop smoking, drinking, give up fried foods, embrace spirituality, run a marathon and adopt an animal.
With each email I read, the more I wanted another martini, take down my website, delete my email account and not leave the house until June.
Each email listed all the goals the person wanted to achieve, all the reasons this has never been successful but how THIS year, it was going to be different. They used all the right buzz words (“it’s not about the weight, it’s about being strong”, “this is a lifestyle change”) but my gut was screaming “no”.
SO THAT DAY, I MADE MY RESOLUTION.
I was not going to accept a single new client between January and March.
I replied to each person informing them that I did not accept clients until March, but was happy to refer them on to other trainers. If they still needed help near the end of February, I would be happy to meet with them and discuss their options. A couple of people wrote back and said “thanks but no thanks”, there were a few who pointed out that I obviously had no idea how to run a business, and a finally a few who said “oh, that’s interesting. Why?”.
WE NEED TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP
Anyone (and quite frankly, any DVD or app) can run a person through a workout, but to care for a client, to understand what motivates them, to grasp what changes they really want/need to make, I need trust and time.
Someone emailing me over Christmas usually wants a 12-week transformation program. I create systems that mean you never have to need or think about a 12-week transformation program ever again.
I don’t want you to just fill in a form stating “My Goals”, “What I’m Willing To Do”, “What I’m Not Willing To Do” (everyone lies on those forms), I want to get to know you. Moreover, if you are stressed by the speed of your progress (OMG, it’s February, I’ve been living on 400 calories a day and I haven’t lost a dress size), you lose sight of the big picture — learning techniques to manage your health, the ups and downs of life and the reality of living. Anyone can live in restriction for a limited period of time, but why do that when you can learn to live in true freedom for the rest of your life?
These protocols I create are not one-size fits all. It’s about you and your individuality.
For the first 12 hours of face time you spend with me, I will spend at least 3 times that amount learning about you, analysing your movement patterns, researching, consulting, planning, coming up with Plan A, B, C, D.
I invest my heart and time into each person, I need the same from you.
TRUE TRANSFORMATION TAKES MANY ADJUSTMENTS AND TIME
I started seeing a dietitian in July 2015 (I’ll talk more about it in a later post) and here we are in May 2016 and I’m still working on what appears to be the same goals I started on nearly a year ago. Surely someone who dispenses health advise all day every day would be further along in her own journey. Even I have been frustrated, but intellectually and emotionally, I know and my body knows, this is the correct pace.
I have seen countless clients come to me after they have lost amazing amounts of weight only to have the weight come back with friends. This is damaging to their morale and their bodies. I have seen clients who are on so many meds they don’t know if their condition is worsening or it is just a side effect of all the meds they are ingesting.
When we pull on a thread to make a change, we never quite know where it leads and what will unravel. To have a plan that is not tailored specifically to you is just a waste of money. It is not worth my professional reputation for you to waste your money.
PEOPLE MAKE EMOTIONAL DECISIONS OVER THE HOLIDAYS
I love the holidays. I eat and drink with careless abandonment, catch up with family and friends I may not have had time for during the year, laugh until it hurts and relish in the joy of the season. I realise this is not the same for many people (thus I’m on call through the holiday season for my clients). For so many, the holidays are fraught with family dramas, loneliness and other dramas.
Someone might say something that cuts to the core of your soul and you make a decision to “change”. Usually a fairly dramatic change.
It is OK to want that change but it is unrealistic to think it can be done in 90 days. As a team, we make changes slowly so that dramatic changes become unnecessary and irrelevant.
MY JOB IS TO MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL
I don’t have to live in your body. You do.
My job is to help you make it a body you are comfortable with, are proud of and it does what you need it to do. A plan that is realistic for me might be totally improbable for you. When it comes to your body and your health, anyone who says “if I can do it, you can too” is spouting tomfoolery.
It is my job to respect your body and care for it as best I can. There is a method to my madness because each client becomes my family and I only want the best for you.