I found myself in an interesting Facebook thread – where the original poster was asking trainers what they did to ensure that they instilled success in their client’s programs.
Not in terms of sets, or reps, or rest…rather, in terms of competency and autonomy.
The responses I saw showcased a fairly large hole in the general skill sets in this industry. When faced with a question like that, we respond with what we know. MOST trainers are competent with program design. A FAIR number are competent with corrective exercise and motor learnings.
Very few actually know anything about how to develop motivation and self-efficacy.
This is called “coaching”, by the way.
Almost ALL of the responses dealt with some sort of exercise progressions, exercise form training, and equipment education. None (save a few from Coach Stevo, who is the CEO of Habitry Co. and an AASP certified Sport Pych consultant – and myself) actually talked about intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy.
Look. When dealing with rank novices, exercise programming is going to be secondary to motivation approximately 100% of the time. We need to establish the foundations first. I know its a cliche, but you can’t build a house on a shitty foundation.
So don’t start a journey to health and fitness on a bad foundation, either.
I’m trained in Corrective Exercise, Nutrition, Neurokinetic Therapy, etc. I get it…programming and movement are critical.
However, when I get a beginner trainee, straight off of the couch, with NO exercise experience, the last thing I’m worried about is how quickly I plan on progressing them from hinge drills with a dowel to single-leg Romanian deadlifts.
Are you kidding me?!
I’m just concerned with getting them to show up 2-3 times per week! To the average trainer, that loves to work out, this may seem absurd, but to a beginner, this is a huge deal.
I can’t execute even the most perfect diet and exercise plan if they don’t actually show up to work with me! Without them there, all else is useless. Therefore, the first thing I’m going to do is develop intrinsic motivation.
- I’m going to put the client in control, with active goal setting and assessments.
- I’m going to let them know that they have what it takes to succeed.
- I’m going to make it known that we are a part of a team.
Autonomy. Competency. Relatedness.
Self Determination Theory – Bolstering intrinsic motivation since 1985
If you get them motivated and confident in the gym, everything else will fall into place and beginning to alter habits and make progress will be an absolute breeze.
So let go of all the fancy stuff and start where you need to be starting: at the beginning. There will be plenty of time for RDLs, Drop Sets, and Deadlifts.