10 Reasons Your Clients Aren’t Losing Weight
We have all experienced it: A client comes to you and says they’re frustrated that they are not losing weight. They insist they’re following everything you have told them to do, but it doesn’t seem to be working. So, what’s going wrong?
As a personal trainer, you’re generally only with your clients for one hour a day. However, you must still look at what’s going on the other 23 hours to help them meet their goals. Weight loss mistakes for each client are going to be very different, but they all typically fall into similar categories. Let’s review 10 common weight loss mistakes clients make so you can help them get back on track.
Many trainers forget nutrition is just as personalized as the physical training they give their clients. Every client is going to have different needs, preference, daily routines, activity levels, etc. This means their nutrition—particularly when their goal is weight loss—must be personalized. Simply because one plan may have worked for one client, does not mean that it will work for others.
Reassess your client’s nutrition plan to be sure it fits their unique needs. And don’t forget to routinely reassess as they work towards their goals. As their fitness and habits change, so may their nutritional needs.
Missing Food Log
One of the biggest pitfalls for clients is not logging their food. It is so easy to underestimate exactly how many calories you’re eating daily or even per meal. Clients need to pay attention to exactly what they eat. This ranges from the portion sizes, the beverages they are drinking, and even the snack they reach for here and there.
For trainers, it is important to know how to educate your clients on these things. A little bit of education could save them anywhere from 200-500 calories per day! Guide them in the right direction with goals for each macronutrient—protein, carbs, and fats.
We are in a society of instant gratification, and weight loss is no different. Client’s want to see the difference right away. We can joke but many clients say, “Well, I ate healthy for one or two days, so why hasn’t anything changed yet?” As personal trainers, it’s our responsibility to teach our clients how to be consistent and the result will come.
Our clients sometimes need reminders that the weight they want to lose didn’t just happen overnight. That means it’s going to take some time to lose hit those weight-loss goals. Our job is to guide and support our clients through that process.
All or Nothing Mindset
Many times, we see clients try to give everything up all at once. When they do this, their likelihood to crave certain foods becomes higher, and they end up not only indulging but overindulging.
Give your clients flexibility with 150-200 calories a day of something they enjoy. Or, instead of completely cutting out sugar, just start with simply reducing how many sodas they drink. With a bit of wiggle room and a gradual change, their likelihood to stick with a healthy diet long term drastically improves.
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. If your clients are not getting enough sleep, its possible their hormones are out of balance. This can lead to an increased appetite, which makes it much harder for someone to achieve long-term weight loss goals.
Additionally, a lack of sleep can impact mood and patience. Your client could be more likely to reach for comfort food or opt for the drive-thru instead of making a healthy meal.
Encourage clients to track their sleep with an activity tracker. A little extra insight can go a long way in helping them make better choices.
It’s important for trainers to not only have a good balance in their client’s workouts but also have a plan for progression. Don’t let their efforts plateau. Your clients should have a balance of both strength training and cardio training, ensuring to not over-train one area or the other.
You should always have a plan to progress your client. Even during resistance training you can increase reps or sets, or decrease rest time each week to help them keep progressing on the right track.
Number on the Scale
When your client is losing weight on the scale, they feel great; on the flip side, however, when the scale doesn’t reflect their efforts, it can be difficult for them to understand. It can lead to demotivation for clients. Especially if they are newer to fitness. They may not understand that there is still fat loss and they are likely also gaining lean muscle mass, so it is not going to reflect in the number on the scale.
It’s important for you as their trainer to have other methods of tracking their progress to help take the importance off that number on the scale. Body measurements and body fat assessments are good alternatives to showing change rather than the number on the scale.
Multitasking During Meals
Ask your clients not just what they are eating, but where they are eating. If they are eating at their desk or standing up, they may not be chewing or digesting their food well. Especially if they’re distracted, like working and eating at the same time. They may not even realize the amount of food they are eating, increasing the number of calories they are taking in, sometimes even up to an extra 500 calories per day.
Have your clients track where they eat for a week. Just as with food logging, they may not realize just how often they engage in bad habits.
Justifying Food for Exercise
We have all heard the phrase you can’t out exercise a bad diet. And it’s true. So, remind your clients that just because they came in and worked out with you for an hour and did what they are supposed to does not mean that they get to go eat pizza or a burger right after.
Review calories in and calories out. Go over the value of nutritious food versus junk food. There is a time for those cheat meals, but your client should understand that doing so daily will delay them in reaching their goals.
The opposite of too many calories—too few calories—can be just as bad for weight loss. You’ve probably had a client ask, “Well, if I eat less, I will lose weight faster, right?” Wrong. Our bodies need food to fuel our everyday lives. If you are constantly under-eating, your body can start holding onto fat more than normal to sustain those everyday tasks. It is important for your clients to understand that they need to eat enough and the right foods to hit their goals.
Overall, its important as a personal trainer not only to understand how to provide your client with an effective workout plan but also to understand the nutrition guidance needed to hit their individual goals. If you want to learn the ins and outs of nutrition and how it works with personal training, check out the ISSA’s Certified Nutritionist program.