By using these cutting edge strategies, you can help even your toughest clients follow the rules.
In the fitness industry we often joke that clients are looking for “the magic pill.” But here’s the real joke: even if such a pill existed, clients wouldn’t actually take it.
Compliance — people doing what they know they should — is a critical problem in the fitness industry.
[The medical industry too: miracle cancer and diabetes drugs prescribed by MDs are taken a shockingly low 55% of the time.]
That’s why, in this video series, we’ll share 5 strategies for helping clients — even the toughest ones — follow the “rules.” The rules we know can change their lives.
This video is about 4 minutes long.
As mentioned in part 2 of this video series, the left and the right brain’s relationship is sort of like a person riding an elephant.
The rider is the rational left brain. The powerful, but potentially unreliable elephant is the emotional, intuitive right brain — and often the brain that makes our decisions.
When trying to help clients do what they know is good for them, it’s important to do 3 things:
- Support the rider.
- Guide the elephant.
- Shape the path.
Support the rider
According to the Heath brothers, we can help support the rider’s rational brain in three ways:
- First, follow the bright spots.
The rational brain is easily rallied by the stories and processes of previous successes. Therefore, in the case of nutrition coaching, highlighting previous clients’ successes isn’t just about “marketing”. It’s also about helping future clients succeed.
- Next, script the critical moves.
Without clear, explicit, step-by-step instructions, the rider spins off into a world of what-if analyses. In your practice, get the rider’s tendency toward over-analysis out of the way by providing crystal-clear, easily measured habits to follow.
- Finally, point to the destination.
The rider needs to know where s/he’s steering toward. So point to the ultimate destination (wherever it might be) often. And let the rider know what it’s like there.
Guide the elephant
Next, we can guide the “right brain” elephant in three ways:
- First, find the feeling.
We need to help clients find joy in doing the right things while working through the fears that may make them “rear up” and avoid desired behaviors. This often begins with identifying clients’ key motivators (positive or negative) and speaking to them. It can also involve speaking to “Self 2” by helping the client tap into what makes them feel “flow”.
- Next, shrink the change.
The elephant is easily spooked by big obstacles, and the critical Self 1 will quickly kick in to explain all the reasons why this new project can’t work. However, very small, practical, daily actions and habits are easily absorbed; most often, the smaller the better. Just be sure the habits are directed at the client’s biggest limiting factor.
- Finally, grow the client.
In most change situations the client feels small in the face of the change they’re being asked to take on. This “feeling small” inspires the fear response, which shuts down change. Your goal is to help make the change feel small (shrink the change) while making the client feel large and confident in their own ability.
Shape the path
Lastly, we can shape the path in three ways:
- First, improve the environment.
Our environment determines success or failure, so we must help our clients improve their environments in order to succeed. Getting snack foods off the table and replacing them with fresh cut veggies is one example.
- Next, build habits.
When a client’s behavior becomes automatic, it doesn’t tax their willpower. And healthy “action triggers” really support this. For example, if a client starts drinking 500 ml of water (action) after brushing their teeth (trigger), the behavior can become automatic.
- Finally, rally the herd.
No one succeeds alone, so it’s important to create “support circles”. Introduce clients to each other, schedule fitness- and nutrition-oriented social meetings, and help clients build a “health-promoting network”. Elephants are social animals, after all.
Wrap-up and today’s takeaways
That’s it for part 3 of Cutting Edge Fitness and Nutrition Coaching.
For now, here are some key points.
- When working with new clients, focus their left brain on what matters most.
- Guide their right brain toward appropriate emotions and increased confidence.
- Shape their environment while building new habits and encouraging social support.
And check out the next video, part 4 of this series for more on creating lasting change through the development of new habits.
If you’re a coach, or you want to be…
Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.
If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.