These days, more and more people understand that there truly is a mind-body connection.  The power of positive thinking can really go a long way towards improving the physical state of our health.  Along the same line, negative thoughts can block any success or progress by distorting our views of ourselves, which brings about self-doubt, lack of confidence, inaction, etc.  Life is meant to be lived moving forward though, not backwards.  It’s easy to be happy when life is going great… but if your client is going through a tough time emotionally, it can be difficult to see past those mental blocks.  Here are some strategies they can utilize to push forward and get back on the path to physical success. 

Build Resilience

Webster’s Dictionary defines resilience as “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.”  In other words, the more resilience a person has, the greater their ability to handle the negative effects of stress.  You can help instill this in your client by keeping training sessions with them upbeat, fun, and positive; helping them set and achieve small goals; finding the silver lining if one of those goals is tougher to achieve than expected; and reminding them to put themselves and their health first. 

Turn to Yoga

Yoga can be tremendously helpful in facilitating physical and emotional gains to foster the mind-body connection.  If your client is living in a constant state of stress and worry, they are likely finding it tough to slow down, breathe, and relax.  Encourage them to start a yoga practice, whether they follow along on a DVD or attend classes at their gym.  Even if they only practice once per week in the beginning, it will help them factor in the relaxation time and take the mental break that they desperately need while getting in a workout.  Most yoga programs also incorporate a component of meditation, which is a good practice for strengthening a positive mindset. 

Refer to a Qualified Professional

As I’ve mentioned in previous Ask the Expert questions, depending on your client’s situation, it may come to a certain point when it crosses the line of your expertise as a personal trainer.  We know that exercise is a huge mood booster but sometimes the situation at hand calls for more substantial measures.  Of course you want to be there for your client and help them through a hardship; however, part of helping them involves recognizing when to refer out to an emotional health professional. 

Remind your client that it’s okay to have bad days and it’s perfectly normal to run into roadblocks…  How we handle them is what makes the difference between staying in that negative space or accepting that a setback happened and moving beyond it.  Coach them on maintaining a positive mindset so that they can learn to see these challenges as opportunities for growth instead of proof of failure.

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Maureen Faherty

Maureen Faherty

Moe oversees corporate wellness and fitness initiatives as a Wellness Specialist for a financial services company and all their U.S. locations.She is also a Personal Trainer at Harvard Business School and the creator of Fitness MoeJo, a blog in which she shares advice, personal experiences and inspiration on maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle.

She has a B.S. in Business Administration from Framingham State University and a M.S. in Physical Education/ Strength & Conditioning from Bridgewater State University. She is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and with USA Weightlifting as a Sports Performance Coach.

Moe lives in Boston where she keeps busy crossing things off her fitness bucket list.
Maureen Faherty


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