There are many reasons a new client might stop personal training. Some are outside of your control, such as: budget, career demands, and family obligations. But many are within your control, and it’s important to identify and address those factors early in the training relationship.
One common reason clients quit training before achieving their New Year’s resolution is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Re-engaging muscles after months, or even years, of inactivity is, well, a pain. You can’t really blame your clients for questioning why they’re spending time and money on something that makes it hurt to raise a spoon to their mouths. To ensure your client roster is still full in June, be mindful of the pain they may be feeling and help them prepare mentally and physically to overcome it.
Start with a conversation
Help your clients understand that DOMS is normal and temporary. Talking to them about it, sympathizing, and enthusiastically celebrating the gain that comes from the pain will help them see beyond it.
Focus on warm-up, cool-down and recovery
Teach your trainees how to warm up, cool down and stretch effectively. Emphasize that it’s important to take these steps whether they are training with you or exercising on their own.
Make sure they get some myofascial release
Don’t tell new clients to foam roll – teach them to foam roll. The foam roller wasn’t patented until 2004 and didn’t gain popularity until the last several years. If it’s been a little while since your newest clients have been inside a gym, it’s likely they’ve never seen a foam roller, let alone used one. Even regular gym-goers are hesitant to give foam rolling a try on their own. Show them how to roll so they keep showing up for the long haul.
If they haven’t used a foam roller, a Hyperice VYPER will really blow their minds. This textured, vibrating foam roller will help your rookies and veterans recover like elite athletes. The VYPER is especially nice for newbies because the vibration makes it more comfortable than regular foam rolling.
Teach active recovery
There is a good chance that a client suffering from DOMS won’t get moving again until your next session, but their sore muscles need blood flow. Encourage them to do light workouts such as walking, hiking or gentle yoga.
You can recommend a heart-rate monitor to make sure blood is pumping at an elevated level without too much exertion.
Recommend hot and cold therapy
Some like it hot, some like it cold, but almost everyone finds heat or ice soothing when muscles ache. Designed for all parts of the body, products from Elasto-Gel can be frozen or heated in the microwave and used again and again.
Shake up their diet
Protein shakes can help muscles recover more quickly, relieving the pain of DOMS. Flavorless Klean Isolate is a good option for first-time fitness drinkers. It delivers protein and amino acids to repair muscles and ease soreness.
In many ways it’s your job to make clients’ muscles hurt. But if you also make it your job to empathize with and ease their pain, they’ll stay around long enough to reach their goals.