A Little Bit of Tough Love

Being a trainer, like most jobs, takes some skill and finesse. And every now and then, not to get all cliche and such but, it requires some tough love. Most of the time, I am very patient with my clients. I am understanding of the fact that life happens and it’s not always (in fact it is never) orchestrated beautifully and conveniently. I am more than happy to help people work through the obstacles that they feel are keeping them from obtaining their goals…but every now and then, I get fed up. I get sick and tired of hearing excuses. I get frustrated with all the BS stories I am expected to believe, as if I had the word stupid tattooed on my forehead, in reverse no less, therefore making it possible to read it when I look in the mirror. Well, guess what? I don’t.

As I was trying to decide what to talk about in this post, I kept thinking of the conversation I had with one of my past clients about a year ago. One of the reasons she hired me as her trainer in the first place was  because  she felt that she needed some accountability, which is not uncommon in the least for any of my clients. I asked her a question regarding the things I had asked her to do over the weekend, had she completed them or not?  She let off with a string of excuses longer than the Mississippi River. One by one I shot them all down with a solution as to how she could have avoided that particular thing from becoming an issue and keeping her from fulfilling her “homework”. No sooner had I done that when here came another excuse. After the tenth excuse in a row I was beginning to get irritated. Really Irritated. But of course, being a professional trainer, you can’t just start getting upset with your clients. you can however, give them a dose of tough love. So guess what I did? Yep…

I looked her straight in the eyes and said, “I can shoot down every single excuse you throw at me, my dear. Care to throw any more out there to test my claim?” I smiled warmly at her, letting her know that I was kidding but that I also meant what I said. Then I said to her in a softer tone, “I can do that simply because I used to be in your shoes and was the one throwing out the excuses when the bottom line was this: I was not fully committed to change yet. If that is the issue as I fully suspect it is, then let’s address the problem rather than throwing out excuses to cover that fact up, shall we?”

She smiled. A tear slowly ran down her cheek as she said, “Yeah. You got me. My heart isn’t in it all the way. I want it, I want to reach my goals, I do, but, it is so hard to do the things I know I should rather than the things I want to do. The things I know I should do hurt and don’t taste as good as the things I want. So when I’m in the moment where the choice has to be made, I’m weak.  I choose what I want instead of what I should. I’m sorry, you must be so disappointed in me.”  I surprised her by saying, “Actually, I couldn’t be more proud of you. You have finally admitted to yourself that your heart isn’t in this.  Now, that being said, there are ways to go about making sure it is, but not until you’ve admitted to it first. So, what do ya say we focus on solving the problem rather than continuing to mask it?”

From that point on, she did amazing. She went on to be successful in reaching every single one of her fitness goals. A little bit of tough trainer love can go a long way. How many of you are being real with yourselves? Get tough with yourself and see what happens, you don’t have anything to lose…except the weight you’re trying to lose anyway. 🙂

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