Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

What do I do when a client starts putting on weight? How do I tell someone that their butt is looking bigger this week than last? You might think this is a strange question coming from a trainer, but truthfully, I think it’s a dilemma that many trainers face.

When a client comes to you looking to lose weight, it’s easy to talk about. You are so focused on achieving their goals, on keeping them motivated, that you talk about losing weight all of the time. It’s easy because you’re both excited about taking the weight off.

But what happens when you have someone who is already fairly thin. She watches her calorie consumption carefully so she assumes she will stay thin. The problem is that yes, she isn’t getting a lot of calories but the calories she does eat are really high in fat, so suddenly it’s starting to catch up to her. How do I approach a situation like that? She is very sensitive about it, so if I ask her what she’s been eating, or suggest she do a little more cardio, her defenses immediately go up and she reacts very strongly. I mentioned to her once before that it looked like she might have gained a bit and her response was so intense that it really made me realize that even people who we think might be calm and collected really might not be as stable as we think. Of course no one wants to hear that they are putting on weight, but isn’t it my job as their trainer to mention it?  That’s the question, when should we speak and when should we keep it to ourselves?

I think that most people are aware when their bodies are changing, they can feel it in their clothes and see it in the mirror so do we really need to reinforce these negative things? I think it comes down to how you say it. You don’t need to say you’ve gotten fatter, you need to lose a few pounds, you can say something like you know, you’d feel great and have a lot more energy if you were to lose another five pounds. I try to get it across in a positive manner. There is so much pressure on all of us to look perfect that I don’t feel that reinforcing the negative by focusing on how much you’ve gained or how much you’ve ate is going to do any of us any good. Positivity will take you all the way! I think for my client the best way to approach it would be to start mixing up her training and then get feedback from her abut how she feels.

I think the best thing for all of us to do when we’re not feeling great about ourselves is not to just sit there and say I’m fat, I’m awful, but really look at what we’re doing and be brutally honest with ourselves. Sometimes it’s better to face reality and have the ability to move on and make the necessary changes.