- Posted by Lily Hills
- On January 23, 2017
- 0 Comments
I got my first personal trainer when I was in my mid twenties, 65 pounds over my ideal weight and desperate for help. His name was Mark we had an instant “this is going to be great” feeling at our first meeting. He knew about everything about getting into peak physical shape from a physical perspective and our workout sessions were always intensely gratifying.
He was a pro and I trusted him completely. However, in spite of his significant expertise, the one area where he couldn’t help me out was in my overeating habits.
To be fair, I never told him I was a food addict. He didn’t know that even though I wanted to lose weight more than I wanted to win the lottery, I couldn’t control my appetites. I didn’t admit that after a sweaty session with him, I’d head straight to the refrigerator to “treat” myself for my hard work. I trained with him for over a year, and although I did build some significant muscle mass, I didn’t lose a single pound. And so, frustrated and confused, I quit working with him.
The truth is, I would have stayed with him for years longer had he been able to address my overeating issues and worked with me to gradually overcome them. I would have stayed with him and been a walking billboard on his behalf had he known how to help me lose weight by giving me not just the ideal workout routine, but equally importantly a specific approach for turning down the volume on the voice in my head that made me overeat, in spite of myself.
As almost every personal trainers know, you’re more than a fitness coach, you’re a life coach and at times a therapist too. So knowing how to guide your clients to overcome overeating is an invaluable tool that will not only keep your clients with you longer, but also drum up new business as your transformed clients rave about how you got them into the best mental and physical shape of their lives. And you don’t need a Phd to do that.
So how do you train your clients in moving beyond food compulsion? Or using food to deal with stress, overwhelm, depression, boredom, confusion or as a form of entertainment, all of which are at the root of excess weight?
The key is to give them peak performance trainings in mind management, help them to get their mind on their “team” by teaching and direct their thoughts in a way that brings to states of emotional equilibrium so that they don’t reach automatically for food they’re not hungry for. Because uncomfortable emotions are driving your clients overeating habits, guiding them in learning how to change their emotional state or find alternatives to food to deal with stress are key behavioral modifications.
First they need to understand how their mind works specifically.
Then they need to understand the biochemistry of stress, what it feels like
Then they need to know how to manage their emotions and dominate them.
You can choose your thoughts, just like you choose your friends, but it takes time.
So training your clients in developing mental muscle to accompany their physical muscle will put you in an elite category of the best trainers out there.
Your clients can lose extra weight, and it all happens one day, one meal and one thought at a time.
Part of what would benefit not just your clients, but anyone dealing with stress, is understanding how the mind and body work in relationship with stress, or any challenging emotion. In the simplest of terms, with every thought comes a chemical reaction in your body. Positive thoughts drop dopamine and serotonin amongst other good natural highs. And negative thoughts produce an excess of cortisol, neuropeptide S and adrenaline. That chemical reaction, although not physically painful, is upsetting because it produces that fight or flight response in your body. It can range from feeling like hot blood coursing through your veins to a “I want to escape my body because the feeling is overwhelming.
Well the first part is teaching them the nature of their minds. You and your clients have tens of thousands of thoughts running through your mind every day. And studies show that 90-95 percent of those thoughts are thoughts they had yesterday, and the day before and the day before. So most days you’ll wake up and think about the same problems, the same frustrations, the same judgments about yourself and others, the same worries about the future and loop in thoughts that surround the problem rather than the solution.
Negative thought loops lead to the desire to escape, if only for a moment, the torment that the mind can create. So ideally you want to teach your client how to manage that part of their mind that is redundant in nature and guide them towards thinking thoughts that are positive in nature.
Training the mind takes work. It’s as time intensive as learning to play a musical instrument. The difference being, once you train the mind, it is your slave for a lifetime. A trained mind is more valuable than a PHd and a million dollar bank account combined, because not only can you achieve the latter with a trained mind, but you can enjoy your life far more along the way.