Knowing When to Shift Gears

Like a lot of gyms around the world Catalyst was forced to shut down for a few months in March due to the pandemic. Having already done some online coaching we were well prepared to make the pivot. We divided clients into programming groups or avatars based on the equipment they had access to and their training goals.

With spring in the air in Ontario I developed a RUN+ Avatar for a group of my clients as most of them were runners or wanted to work on their running with their new found spare time.

Michelle, one of my favorite clients, was grouped into this avatar. She is strong as an ox but struggles like a lot of people with finding the enjoyment in running.

With schools closed and her work shifted to home she figured she had no better time to run her country roads and see if she and running could fall in love.

She put in a great effort, the Run+ avatar had clients doing Weightlifting and CrossFit 3 times a week and running twice a week.

For the first two months Michelle was killing it! She wasn’t LOVING the running but she was doing the work and seeing improvements in that area.

Over the next few weeks I started to notice that Michelle was only doing one of the run workouts, then none. Then the CrossFit workouts began to suffer as well.

In a check-in call she admitted to me that she was struggling with motivation. She felt that she had set a goal for herself and was failing. Because she felt she was failing at running she felt that attitude carry over to the rest of her workouts and couldn’t muster the excitement to do them at home.

As a coach I had to make a decision – do I try to make a square peg fit into a round hole, or do I switch gears?

I started my negotiation by taking running off the table and asking her what she LOVED to do. I already knew the answer but I wanted her to hear herself say it.

“Lifting heavy and rowing.”

Michelle’s programming changed immediately. I still sprinkled in some running but I programmed for what she really needed – not to fall in love with running, but to stay in love with fitness and mental health.

Michelle’s workout completion scores quickly skyrocketed and didn’t come back down.

Our general recommendation is to do Goal Review sessions every three months at a minimum. Successful coaches will make a habit of doing informal goal reviews more often as their metrics or gut feeling prompts them to do so. Assuming we know what our clients want and need a sure fire way to get things wrong.

Always ask. And don’t be afraid to shift gears as needed.

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