If You Care About A Person’s Health, You Can’t Focus Only on the Physical…

Chris Cooper once wrote that if you care about your clients, you can’t stop at them, and need to extend that care out to their family, friends, and colleagues. 

By the same token, if you care about your clients health, that can’t stop at just physical health, or physical fitness. Sure, we may prioritise or concentrate on exercise. At the same time we understand that there’s more to it than the workout alone.

If you have performance focused clients, and they’re fighting with their partner and worried about making rent, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to give their best effort come The Open or a qualifier. Stress is stress.

If we have a muscle gain or fat loss client, and they’re not sleeping and feeding themselves on nothing but energy drinks and coco-pops, we’ll need to address this with them if they’re going to achieve their goals. 

Maybe our clients just want us to give them workouts. It could be they don’t understand the impact outside the gym, or they’re defensive about their “bad” habits, or skeptical of the impact other areas have. A lot of us like to compartmentalize our lives, when in reality all aspects blend into each other. 

As one of our Principles goes: “Everything is everything.”

The easiest and least threatening way to start addressing this is in the warm up or cool down; check in on them. We all know the first answer to “how are you?” is always “fine” so we’ll begin to go a little deeper, and invite them to share what’s going on outside the gym.

  • “How’s your sleep?” 
  • “Feeling well fed for today’s session?”
  • “How’s the work/family situation?”
  • “What are the stress levels?”

Once we’ve listened and empathized, we can slowly make suggestions. It’s important not to rush, make sure they feel understood and not judged, and invite cooperation by the use of questions:

  • “What area outside of the gym would be easiest for you to try improve a little bit this week? Would me checking in help here?”
  • “Would you like to work on some simple stress reduction strategies while in the gym with me?”
  • “What will help you reduce stress in your life outside the gym? How can I support you?”

The more we show an interest in the person, and not just an athlete, the more they’ll trust us to help them with their complete health and fitness, and the greater impact we can have on our clients. 


Curious about a more robust understanding on how to implement Mindset work? Check out our Mindset Coaching course here!

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