- Discuss then narrow down to why
- Break down main goal to smaller goals
- Set a timeline for each goal
- Routinely check-in
- Be available for questions/feedback
As a Personal Trainer, your job is to help your clients achieve their health & fitness goals. But what happens if your client’s goal is unrealistic? Let’s look at some ways you can help your clients set proper goals that are achievable so you can set them up for success!
You may have heard of the acronym SMART. If not, I recommend you ingrain this acronym in your brain right now; it’s that important. SMART stands for:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time-Bound
A goal should be specific versus general in nature. For example, a general goal would be ‘to lose weight and get in shape.’ Asking your client more questions can help narrow down that goal to be more specific such as ‘to lose body fat so I feel better in a swimsuit this summer.’
A goal should be measureable. Losing body fat is a very common goal, but how do you know your client is on track if you don't take calculations starting from the beginning? To make this goal measureable, you should do a body fat assessment using calipers, bioelectrical impedance, or any other method of measuring body fat. That way you can keep track of the results.
A goal should be attainable. In this case your client wants to lose body fat so she feels better in a swimsuit for summer. With summer a couple months away, only so much body fat will be lost in that timeframe. It’s best to have your client understand that she will start to feel better about herself as she loses body fat and gains muscle mass over the next couple months, but it will continue after that as she continues to train with you during and after summer as well.
A goal should be realistic. Healthy body fat loss commonly ranges from 0.5% - 2.0% per month. Having a goal of losing 15% body fat in two months is not very realistic. Instead, set the client’s goal for something attainable such as 2.0% body fat per month until she loses the 15% body fat she desires.
A goal should be Time-Bound. Since your client wants to lose body fat so she feels better in a swimsuit this a summer, you obviously have a goal date in mind…summer. Summer starts on June 20th. If your client starts training with you on April 20th, you have 2 months to help her start feeling better in her body so she is confident to wear a swimsuit in June. Thereafter you can continue training your client to further progress her fat loss for another six months or so to achieve that 15% body fat loss goal you determined from the original body fat test completed in April.
All-in-all, by using the SMART acronym you can help your personal training clients set proper health & fitness goals that are achievable so you can set them up for success!