Do you ignore what you cannot see?

If you live your life and career as a strength coach or trainer, how many times do you ask yourself how well you are helping your clients?  Is the work you are doing making a difference in the lives of others?

We encourage others to lead a healthy lifestyle, improve their sports performance, and gain muscle.

It is easy to get caught up in the things we can see like how the body can move effortlessly with training, how we can improve athletic performance, and how we can achieve fat loss and gain muscle. But, we seem to neglect the things we cannot see.

This article focuses on the art of coaching in hopes that you will find a deeper level of coaching to help your clients.

I have recently been challenged with a life altering circumstance that has made me ask myself if I am truly helping my clients as much as I think I am.  I believe it takes these unbearable circumstances for us, as strength coaches and trainers, to see through mainstream industry goals like improved strength, fat loss and home of fitness.  So, are you truly making a difference in your client’s lives?

How many times do you have a serious conversation with your client about what is happening inside of them?  When was the last time they saw their doctor and have they ever had a physical? What does that physical even entail?  If your clients are over the age of 40, how regularly do they see their doctor for physicals? As strength coaches or trainers, it can be so easy to put the effort into the things we can see and ignore the things we cannot see.

What do I mean by all of this?

On November 3, 2015, I lost my husband to a heart attack.  He was a strong, active man who had no family history.  He lost his life at 46 years old, leaving behind two young boys and his high school sweetheart.

I now live each day with regret and anger that I did not recognize the simple red flags that he was experiencing.  Having spent over 20 years in the industry, I felt like it did nothing for me in helping my husband.  How could I have not recognized the signs?  I knew better!

This is the classic mentality of “it won’t happen to me”.  This thought process may be something that hinders us as strength coaches and trainers.  We may tend to look at our clients and the effort they are putting into their workouts as “the icing on the cake”.  Your clients love your enthusiasm and encouragement during each workout and that you can lift them up when they arrive for their “dreaded training session”.

With all the bells and whistles we have available to us for athlete/client monitoring, I still believe we, as an industry, are missing the mark when it comes to encouraging every piece of the puzzle.  We are missing continued health screenings, physicals, blood pressure monitoring, and additional monitoring that could help your client recognize potential health risks.

We can get so caught up in a lifestyle of trying to be as healthy as possible.  Always striving to be stronger, finding the new trail to run, the new super food.  However, many of us are not questioning heart health or haven’t seen our doctor for a physical.  If we feel great we just keep moving along like nothing is going to happen.  We have the thought process that we are made of steel and as long as I keep “working out” nothing will happen to me.  The one piece of the puzzle that is ignored is taking care of the inside.

I failed the one person I loved most.  If only I made more of a plea to complete the puzzle, I know he would be alive today.  We were blind to any health risks because we had always led a healthy and active lifestyle.  The regret and anger I live with fuels my desire to educate others so they will not make the same mistakes we did.

Rhonda CattAs a professional in the Health and Fitness industry, we must play a stronger role in encouraging our clients to make appointments for annual physicals with their doctor and receive health screenings that can warn them of any potential health risks.

What do your first few sessions with a client entail?  How detailed is your assessment?  Do they fill out a health questionnaire?  Do you know their blood pressure prior to training?  How do you monitor your client during training sessions? Do you use a heart rate belt?

Can you make your assessment sessions better?

You potentially could save a client’s life by making small changes in the steps you take to assess your client and how you encourage your client to live their life.  We are not made of steel and “it could happen to you”.

We must make the same effort to be as strong on the inside as we do on the outside.

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Rhonda Catt

Rhonda CattNASM, CPTFMS Level 2Owner of Catt Conditioning Performance Center/Excel FitnessVernon, BC Canada
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