Why I Refuse To Do 30-Day Fitness Transformations!
Why do I Refuse To Do 30-Day Fitness Transformations?
Does disordered, restrictive eating habits, constant food focus and being addicted to over-exercising sound appealing to you?
As a personal trainer in Dubai and an online fitness coach for clients around the World, I am often approached by prospective clients wanting to make a change. Which is incredible! I love supporting people in the process of changing themselves by getting physically stronger and eating better. It reminds me of how I made a decision to change my own life, and I love being able to share what healthy feels like, with so many people! But sometimes, those prospective clients have very unrealistic ideas of how much they can change their physiques by doing a short term 4-8 week program. When people approach me with an expectation of achieving a rapid transformation, I always make sure to listen carefully and discuss their expectations exhaustively.
The last thing I want is to give my clients unrealistic expectations or to sacrifice their mental and physical health to achieve an aesthetic goal.
Unfortunately, there’s no set manual that every person can use to get the same results. Not everybody can get the desired result within 4-8 weeks. One client can do the same workout as another, but achieve drastically different results. That’s why a coach should never promise a client a certain outcome. If the client’s body responds slower and they don’t reach the results they were expecting at a given time, there’s a risk of the client feeling cheated and defeated. They might give up altogether or leave to find another coach, who’s willing to go to more extreme lengths to get the results “promised”.
ompared with other women. I WISH I had had a coach back then, who’d told me the harsh truth: “Take your time. Wait a year. Learn how healthy feels and enjoy the process.”
I have witnessed many rapid and incredible results from my clients, but I have also worked with people where the results happen more gradually and require more meticulousness and long term efforts. That’s why I always try to discuss the probability of slower results with my clients when setting goals together.
My coaching practice isn’t based on quick fixes, and I never compromise health for results. My responsibility for my clients’ health, is more important to me than getting amazing before/after pictures to promote my fitness coaching business. I would rather try to talk to my client to make him/her see the amazing (albeit slower) results they are making in a sustainable and healthy way, which is usually something my clients appreciate in the end. Teaching an understanding of the process is a huge part of my coaching strategy. I know 30-Day Fitness Transformations and before/after photos are a great marketing tool, but I also know what comes after, if the results are achieved too quickly and unsustainably: Disordered, unhealthy, over-restrictive eating habits, constant food focus and symptoms of over-exercising, injuries and banned substance abuse… Or massive weight regains, run-down self-confidence & negative self-talk if you “fail” to comply with your rigid regimen in the long term…
Determining what is “too quickly and unsustainably” is, of course, individual and varies from person to person, but usually, I’m able to tell after the first week of coaching someone, what will be a sustainable pace for them. I believe we as coaches have a responsibility to tell our clients what will be a safe and healthy way for them to lose weight, depending on their background and goals. After delivering that message, we then need to be the authority we’re hired to be and remind our clients that we take everything, including their health, into consideration when deciding how intense a fitness regimen we put them on. That is our responsibility as coaches. If someone wants to do a crash-diet and gamble with their health, there’s enough silly diets and workouts on Google. If someone pays for guidance, they should be getting just that, including the honest truth about how (un)healthy and realistic their goals and expectations are.
The Dark Side of Before/After Pictures
Unfortunately, the use of before/after pictures in the marketing of fitness trainers have made it harder to be the voice of reason and patience. Many clients have gotten the wrong idea of what’s achievable. 30-Day Fitness Transformations are shown everywhere and it gives a false impression of what’s achieveable to reach in a month.
The issue is, there’s so much those pictures don’t tell us, they could even be false, and worst of all: They make people compare themselves to others. Comparison is the most poisonous tendency in our society, and it leads people to self-loathing and feeling disappointed by not achieving the same results as someone else. It is very hard to make someone understand, that even though they’ve done their best, their results aren’t as good as someone else simply because their body reacts differently. This might make the client believe the coach lacks the ability to help them, when, in fact, they would reach their goals if they only believed in their coach and kept going. Unfortunately, it is hard for someone to continue working hard if they feel like they’re failing. Even if they are, in fact, making great (but slower) progress (than someone else). Of course, as coaches, we need to listen to our client’s goals and desires and do our best to help them reach them in a manageable time frame, but we also have to be the voice of reason and tell them if their goals aren’t healthy to achieve in the timespan they have in mind. We also need to them what IS a healthy and attainable period to achieve their goal, and then help them reach it or help them adjust their goal accordingly if the time frame is unmanageable. Nothing is unachievable, it’s just a matter of how much effort and how much time that is needed to obtain that result.
I believe I have such strong feelings on the matter because I’ve been through it. Before competing in my first bikini fitness competition in 2012, I got sick with a stomach infection 2 weeks out. I had only been strength training seriously for around one year when stepping on stage, and I’d lost over 20 kg. in the last 9 months leading up to that competition. After pushing my body too hard for too long to achieve the right look for the stage, I got extremely sick and had to eat “forbidden” foods to recover as my stomach couldn’t handle any type of meat or vegetable. 1 week out, I looked like sh*t and had to endure 6 days of liquid foods, some days fasting on only BCAA’s, to get “stage ready”.
Needless to say, the recovery process after this was long, and to be quite honest, I suffered from disordered eating and “food focus” until I decided to go “all-in” in 2017 and even after that, as I spend months to fix my relationship with food and accept the fat accumulating on my body. That’s 5+ years of run-down self-confidence, negative self-talk, over-restricting, binging and exercising to make up for foods that I ate, all caused by the desire to look a certain way by a certain date, so I could step on a stage to be c
And if I, as a fitness professional, with all the knowledge and tools that I have available to me, had such a hard time dealing with the body’s desire to bounce back and regain the lost body fat (and then some) following a rapid weight loss… How must this affect the average person who hired a professional to reach a fitness goal, achieved it, only to deal with what comes after?
This leads me to one of my favorite quotes about fitness, one that I read many years ago, but it has stuck with me ever since because it holds so much truth:
“Fitness is never owned, it’s rented. And you have to pay rent every day.”
Unless you’re prepared to deal with the dark side that comes after that rapid weight loss and your impressive before/after pictures taken only weeks apart, seek out a better way of achieving your fitness goals. A program that you can realistically continue with, continuously. 30-Day Fitness Transformations are never sustainable in the long haul.