She was fuming. So angry and disappointed that she just walked out. She loved her training but she couldn’t take it anymore, so she left the weights she was using on the floor, grabbed her bag and left.
Lucy was a youth social worker with a particularly stressful caseload. She loved working out and particularly enjoyed lifting heavy weights, but one day, after an exceptionally draining day at work, she’d gone to her beloved CrossFit class to destress.
She thought that by focusing her frustration on a heavy barbell she’d be able to forget the stress from work…at least until she got home anyway but it didn’t turn out like that.
The coach was great. Very experienced and knowledgable, but when he tried to help her improve her technique, her frustration bubbled over.
He was only trying to help in the best way that he knew how, but after a super stressful few weeks and an exceptionally draining day, the last thing Lucy needed was to focus on the things she was doing wrong and to be reminded of her poor technique.
But that’s the way of the industry isn’t it?
They teach fitness coaches how to “correct” and “fix” problems, using language like “poor technique”, “dysfunction” etc. – but human bodies are MUCH more capable than our tiny little logical minds can comprehend – and the movement that we’re taught to see as problematic isn’t something that needs “fixing” at all.
I mean, when you’ve cut your finger do you need to tell your body how to fix it? Let’s face it, even a broken bone will heal if we leave it alone.
The difference is, if we leave a broken bone to heal on its own, it might not heal straight, which might cause us problems later on – but the cast we put around the affected area isn’t designed to TELL the body how to fix itself, it’s designed to HELP the body do the job that it’s already perfectly capable of doing for itself.
Yet for some reason, when it comes to movement (one of the most complex tasks a human body can perform), the fitness industry teaches that somehow, we know better…and it’s causing HUGE problems for us and our clients. Here’s how:
Using language like “wrong”, “dysfunction”, “poor technique” or even just pointing out the faults in our clients’ movements will, over time, create a situation where our clients trust what we say over how they feel. This creates a huge disconnect between them and their own bodies because it gives them the impression that they are wrong and we are right (whether we intended that or not).
This is problem for us because if they don’t pay attention to how their body feels, they can’t give us the feedback we need to help them in their training.
They won’t be able to tell when they’ve done too much until it’s too late, and they won’t be able to notice the small aches and pains that lead to bigger injuries until they have so much pain it stops them training (after all, we keep telling them to do “one more” when they want to stop).
But it isn’t just a problem from a feedback standpoint. When our clients are so disconnected with their bodies, they’ll squeeze in extra training sessions when they should be resting and they’ll add more weight or train for longer than you recommended – which completely undermines you and your coaching advice.
Is There A Better Way?
Since the industry has been so good at teaching us how to notice “problems”, it doesn’t take an experienced coach long to identify them in clients, but rather than focusing on the problem and building the session around “fixing” it, a more helpful way for you, your clients AND their technique is to focus your session on HELPING their body move better.
Let’s take the warm up for example.
Most coaches will focus their warm up movements on raising body temperature and heart rate (quite rightly), but what if you could do that AND help your clients to improve their movement at the same time?
That way, you’d be taking their focus off the problems they’re having, giving them what they actually want (which is to just get on with their training) and helping them to get better results at the same time…not to mention reducing the risk of injury while you’re at it!
How cool would that be?
I know what you’re thinking…sounds too good to be true, right? Sounds difficult to create, right?
Actually, it’s MUCH simpler than you’d expect!
In fact, here’s a quick video I put together so you can see it in action – and I’ll even talk you through what’s happening!
So next time you start to point out your clients’ flaws, or focus on their problems, just remember – there IS a better way!