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We both know how this goes.

You have an ideal client. They’re motivated and committed to your training plan, but with one glaring exception… when it comes to rest & recovery.

No matter what you do, or how you programme it, they always seem to use their scheduled rest day as a day to “catch up” with sessions they’ve missed, or despite their best efforts, find it super hard to train at low intensities.

So what can you do?


You know that resting and recovery is the best way for them to improve with their training, but they just can’t seem to get past the idea that doing nothing means that they’re not progressing.

Do you just let them get on with it and wait for the inevitable injury to force them to stop training?


Of course not!

But how do you stop it from happening?


Well, the first thing is to acknowledge that the reason this is happening goes way beyond your training plan. In fact, it’s very rarely anything to do with you at all.

Clients who struggle to relax are often struggling with extremely high, or persistent levels of stress that they just can’t get away from.

It might be that a family member is seriously unwell, they might be having problems at work, or at home, or life just feels so busy that exercise is their only way of having some “me” time.

It’s often the case that high intensity exercise (including pushing themselves hard in a training session) allows them to feel some kind of stress release – but actually, it’s just adding more physical stress to an already emotionally stressed person.

And THAT’S a surefire way to get injured (which neither of you wants).


Since there’s very little you can do to remove the stress in their life away from training, if you REALLY want to help your clients to get the rest & recovery they need to be able to continue to train without injury or illness, then be sure to include these three crucial elements into your recovery session planning:


1. Structure

When people don’t have structure or some kind of outlined guidance, they resort back to what they’ve always done. In the case of exercise, this is training at a normal intensity in something that feels familiar.

For example, the instruction to “do something active but not intense” is likely to lead a runner to going out for a run (doing something active that feels familiar) and while the intention might have initially been to jog more slowly or a light pace, after a few minutes, their minds have wandered back to the stresses at work and before they know it, they’ve been training much harder than they had planned.

2. Different

Oftentimes it’s the familiarity of the activity that allows your client’s mind to wander and leads to training harder than they (or you) had intended.

By choosing a different activity, something that’s less familiar, they can focus on the task at hand and are less likely to train too hard.

This is often why trainers and coaches programme some kind of mobility training, like Yoga or stretching to do on recovery days – yet without that structure we mentioned before, clients simply don’t do it because thinking about what to do is too much effort!

3. Relevance

The problem with programming some kind of mobility training on recovery days is that clients often fail to see exactly how it will improve their performance, it’s not specific enough for their individual needs for them to see the relevance, they worry about doing it wrong without supervision, or it’s the kind of training that they hate.

They want to feel like everything they’re doing it going to help with their individual training needs and that it’s challenging.

Instructing them to “go to a Yoga class” or “spend 30 minutes stretching” just isn’t going to cut it.


But the most important thing you can do for them is to recognise that their failure to rest and recover is NOT a problem with them.

And it’s not a problem with your training plan either.

It’s a symptom that your client is struggling with the amount of stress in their lives.

As their individual coach, you are in a perfect position to be able to help with this in ways that go far beyond the scheduled rest day.

Using the SMARTT® Methods, you can factor reducing both emotional and physical stress into every single session you teach or write in every part from the greeting to the strength training – including the recovery day!

This is super important to you because emotional and physical stress are the two LEADING causes of injury and are hugely powerful limiting factors in performance too.

So if you want to be able to help your clients improve their performance, improve their mental and physical wellbeing AND reduce the risk of injury, I’d like to invite you to check out my Amazon best selling book “The Coaches Guide to Long-Term Injury Prevention Success” where you’ll discover revolutionary tips and strategies to help you give your clients what they need most to succeed.

Check it out here

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