In an industry teeming with the latest trends and quick fixes, it’s time for every fitness and wellness to professional to take a step back and ask:

Are we truly serving the best interests of our clients?

The fitness world in particular is oversaturated with what’s new and what’s hot, often leaving the essentials of real health and wellness in the shadows. The lure of industry-driven fads can be tempting, but it’s our duty to sift through the noise and focus on what genuinely benefits those we aim to help.

The basics of human health and performance don’t change overnight. The principles that have stood the test of time are often overshadowed by the prospect of a quick fix. Our role as coaches isn’t just to walk our clients through a workout but to educate and empower them to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer in fitness. Each client brings their unique history, challenges, and goals to the table. Recognizing this, we must craft our coaching strategies with a critical eye, distinguishing between what is genuinely beneficial and what is just a trend. It’s time to look beyond the superficial goals set by industry fads, and to prioritize the overall well-being of our clients above all else.

This blog post is a call to action for trainers and coaches everywhere. It’s a reminder to dive deeper, to question widely accepted practices, and to continuously seek knowledge. Our clients deserve more than just a workout; they deserve a partner in their journey towards long-term health and wellness. Let’s commit to being that guiding light, pushing beyond the boundaries of the conventional fitness industry to foster genuine, lasting change.

Building a Foundation with Education and Truth

Rule #1 for any trainer or coach has to be to arm yourself with knowledge and experience that goes beyond the fleeting trends pushed by the fitness industry. There is a clear divergence between what is marketed for profit and what genuinely benefits our clients’ health. The industry is very good at marketing that can lead you astray from your primary mission: to foster sustainable health and fitness.

Educating Ourselves Beyond Fads

Every coach should be a voracious learner. Read/listen/watch whatever you can about diet, movement, stress, physiology, behavior… anything you can get your hands on that will help you to understand and coach your clients better. This isn’t about chasing the latest diet trend or workout craze but about understanding the fundamental principles that govern human health and performance.

Action Step: Commit to reading at least one research paper a week on topics relevant to our practice. Attend workshops and seminars that focus on evidence-based approaches to fitness and well-being. And don’t content yourself with listening to the one researcher/expert that you like. Challenge yourself by finding different opinions and ask yourself what those different perspectives have to offer.

The Value of Truth in Coaching

Our relationship with our clients is built on trust, a foundation that requires honesty and transparency. In a world where so-called scientific backing is often manipulated to serve commercial interests, it’s our duty to question and verify the information we share and the recommendations we make.

Action Step: Before endorsing anything – food, exercise, meditation techniques, supplements, workout equipment, etc. – try it yourself and do your research. Look into the scientific literature that supports its claims. Be prepared to discuss these findings with your clients, highlighting both the benefits and potential drawbacks. That’s the kind of honesty that builds trust and educates your clients to make informed decisions about their health.
Assess, Repair, and Rebuild: A Strategic Approach to Exercise Prescription

The cornerstone of any effective program is a comprehensive assessment. I don’t mean a quick once-over of your client’s current physical state, but a deep dive into their overall health, including any chronic conditions, musculoskeletal issues, and mental-emotional well-being. This holistic approach forms the bedrock of a truly personalized training regimen, ensuring that you’re not just treating symptoms but nurturing the whole individual towards optimum health and fitness.

Assessing Before Acting

The first step in any coaching strategy must always be a thorough assessment. This is your roadmap… your guide to understanding the unique intricacies of your client’s health and fitness landscape.

Action Step: Learn to use a comprehensive system of assessments like the one we offer at the CHEK Institute. Your assessments should evaluate physical capabilities, dietary habits, lifestyle factors, and stress levels.

Comprehensive Assessments are crucial

The insights you gain from this sort of comprehensive approach will empower you to tailor programs that address your client’s specific needs, laying the groundwork for effective and sustainable progress.

Repairing and Rebuilding: Beyond the Gym

Our role as coaches and trainers goes far beyond supervising workouts; we’re also responsible for helping our clients recover from those workouts. That begins with correcting imbalances and strengthening weak areas, and setting a stable foundation upon which to build.

Action Step: For clients exhibiting signs of chronic disease or musculoskeletal disorders, prioritize exercises and activities that focus on restoration and rehabilitation – begin by restoring flexibility and what I call work-in exercises, and then move up to restoring stability, and finally building strength. Until your clients have functional flexibility and stability, strength training won’t benefit them – in fact it will likely injure them.

Challenging the “One Size Fits All” Approach

In a world where cookie-cutter gym routines are the norm, you must tailor your exercise programs. The idea that a single regimen could meet the needs of every client is not just simplistic; it’s fundamentally flawed.

Action Step: Develop exercise programs that are as unique as the individuals you serve. Use the information you gathered during the assessment phase to create tailored workouts that address specific goals, challenges, and preferences. This could mean adjusting exercises, intensity levels, and even recovery strategies to align with each client’s physical condition and aspirations.

The most critical part of our work is crafting a path that resonates with the personal journey of each client. By assessing and coaching them through a corrective conditioning program with a focus on individual needs, you will significantly improve their health and fitness, and empower them to make more healthy decisions themselves.

Educating Clients for Long-Term Health and Wellness

When you work in the industry for as long as I have (40 years!) you realize that you will always be challenged to clear the murky waters of dietary misinformation. This challenge is compounded by the widespread acceptance of quick-fix supplements and “miracle” diets. You’ll also realize that if you aren’t responsive to your clients’ stresses beyond the gym, you’ll never get the results that they’re looking for. Beyond exercise, these are two critical components of coaching.

Unraveling the Web of Dietary Misinformation

There are countless diets out there now – ever hear of the cotton ball diet or the cabbage soup diet? They’re all fleeting trends riddled with contradictions, and they leave our clients bewildered and misinformed. As a coach, it’s your job to cut through all the hype about the latest diet. This is exactly why I’ve developed a system to tune clients into the ways that their bodies tell them about their dietary needs. Teaching them to hear the voice of their body eliminates the need for any formulaic diet.

Action Step: Host educational workshops or one-on-one sessions focused on the fundamentals – eating an organic, whole food diet. Teach your clients to read food labels and avoid inflammatory foods. And lastly, teach them to understand how their bodies react to carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Those simple principles will go a long way to restoring them to health and vitality.

Embracing Mental and Emotional Balance

Stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil can affect the body in so many ways – breathing, digestion, posture, and the immune response to name a few. Adding a heavy workout on top of those stress reactions is a sure-fire recipe for fatigue, injury and illness. As a coach, you need to be able to recognize the signs of stress in your client and be prepared to adapt their programs to their stresses.

Action Step: Incorporate stress management techniques into your training programs. This could include mindfulness exercises, the work-in exercises from my book How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!, or simply a walk in nature. Educate clients on the importance of sleep, relaxation, and leisure activities in their recovery process (what I call Dr. Quiet and Dr. Happiness). By fostering a supportive environment, you can help your clients achieve not only physical strength but also mental resilience.

Conclusion: A Call to Holistic Action

Getting fit takes more than simply putting in hours at the gym. It requires a careful balance of physical training, nutritional wisdom, and mental-emotional well-being. We have the privilege and responsibility to guide our clients through this journey, and that we’re not going to fulfill that responsibility with quick fix exercise fads and junk supplements.

If you really want to help your clients, commit to a holistic approach in your coaching – one that values the individuality of each client and addresses their needs comprehensively. Together, let’s reshape the narrative on coaching, transforming it into a powerful force for health, happiness, and well-being… the force we all know it can be!

CHEK Academy