The first-time stepping foot in a gym is confronting, even when that gym has the slogan “Fun, Friendly, Fitness” like Geelong’s Gym. The hive of activity, loud music and sweat soaked t-shirts are pretty intimidating for new-comers. When a new client starting a personal training membership comes in for their first session, the unknown is somewhat unnerving.
Your first PT session
Imagine for a moment you are a new PT client sitting in the foyer waiting to start your first session.
You have decided that you’ve had enough and want to make a change. You recognise having the support of a personal trainer, the accountability of set appointment times and proper guidance is going to give you the best shot of attaining the results you’re seeking. You know having someone to answer to other than yourself means you are more likely to follow through with your new commitment.
If only it were that easy! There is one stumbling block often overlooked by clients and trainers alike. How you approach starting your personal training program makes all the difference. Let me explain.
During the first session we allow additional time to answer some simple questions about why you are here and to conduct your first series of measurements. Right from the outset I’m conscious of the language you’re using in our conversation which starts off being generic and broad with classic statements such as “I want to get fitter.”
As we continue, I dig a little deeper to see whether you are going to open up and get specific. Once we’ve broken the ice, you start to do this on your own which saves me from having to pull out my full arsenal of probing questions.
“So, what does get fitter look like to you?” I ask.
You reply with, “I want to lose some weight and I’ve noticed that when I go for a walk up to the top off my street I’m puffing a lot more than I used to and I don’t think a short walk should take that much effort.”
This is a great start because we can see how your current lack of cardiovascular fitness is impacting on your everyday life. We continue to get more specific and paint a very clear picture of where you want to be, which is to lose 5kgs and to be able to jog 5kms. You want to be able to jog around the river while your 5-year-old son rides his bike with you. Amazing!
The Power of Language
As we’re setting your goals, the language you use gives me every indication of how confident you are of being able to follow through and achieve what you say you want to. And this is where the gold lies.
Starting statements with “I want to try” or “It would be good if I could” compared to “I am going to” or “When I” will make all the difference to your level of confidence and your overall commitment.
If you tell me, “I would like to try lose 5kgs. I’ve done it before but then I went back into old habits and put more weight on and I’ve never been much of a runner,” without realising it you are already paving the way to give me explanations (excuses) as to why you didn’t stick to our agreed action plan and reach your goals.
However, when you say, “I really need to do this, I’m committed to working with you for at least the next 6 months and I’m going to do what it takes to lose a minimum of 5kgs, having the energy to run around and play with my son,” it’s a completely different mindset from the outset. I know that you are ready to make the change because there is no plan B, maybes, ifs or buts.
It all starts with the inner dialogue
Hopefully this simple example shows how when starting a new fitness program, the first hurdle we need to overcome occurs before you’ve lifted a single weight or stepped foot on a treadmill. A personal trainer will help you build confidence, change your language and find new limits. But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether you are going to follow through and it starts with your inner dialogue and your language.
Change your language, change your mindset, change your results.