Helping personal training clients set realistic expectations is not an easy task. Failing to set achievable goals will quickly lead to disappointment or – worst case scenario – a lost client that wants nothing to do with fitness. Consider the following ways you can help your client stay consistent, adopt a healthier lifestyle and set realistic expectations. Discuss Client’s Goals Start by having an honest conversation about what your client’s goals are. If your client is expecting to see a six pack in a few weeks’ time but is only willing to commit to one, hour long session a week, you will need to be honest about how unrealistic that goal is. Offer an achievable objective. The danger of proceeding without have an honest discussion is that it could leave to feelings of discouragement and self-doubt – worst case, they will abandon living a healthier lifestyle. Create a Workout and Diet Program Develop an exercise program and eating plan that will help them reach the fitness goals you’ve discussed. For many client’s, consistency and commitment are an issue. With work, distractions and the chaos of everyday life, it’s easy to push health and wellness to the side. However, if your client’s workouts are fun and the eating plan makes them feel better, their workouts will quickly become the highlight of their day – consistency and commitment will no longer be an issue. Ultimately, the fitness program you create should make your client believe they can achieve anything they set their mind to. Set Short-Term and Long-Term Goals Many clients make the mistake of comparing their current physique to their “dream body” every single day. This quickly becomes detrimental to their fitness goals. Explain to your client the importance of enjoying each and every achievement – no matter how small. In addition to writing down their long-term goals, encourage them to set short-term objectives. Can they do one more pushup than they did last week? Can they add 5 more pounds to their barbell squats? In the end, these short-term achievements will inspire and encourage your client to stay true to their long-term fitness goals. Establish a Good Working Relationship While it is important to set and maintain healthy boundaries with your clients, don’t forget to communicate your support. Spending time critiquing form and stressing proper nutrition is necessary, but your coach and client relationship should involve much more than that. Each client will respond to feedback differently. Some can handle constructive criticism, while others need lots of positive reinforcement. Find a healthy balance between honesty and encouragement. This will demonstrate that you support your client’s goals, and it will help build a strong working relationship with them. Emphasize the Importance of Patience At some point, every individual who embarks on a fitness journey will face a situation where they must be patient with themselves. For example, many clients give up on their fitness goals after overindulging during the holidays. “I’ll never get back on track.” Whatever the situation may be, it’s important to remind your clients of the role patience and self-acceptance play in their fitness journey. They must realize the importance of forgiving themselves and embracing their mistakes as opportunities to learn. The best way to avoid unrealistic client expectations is to repeatedly emphasize the fact that “it’s about the journey, not the destination”. Boost their self-confidence by reminding them that the wonderful part about their fitness goals is that they are just that – they are their goals.