As a personal trainer, you’re usually going to experience the vast diversity of the general population walking through your door for a consult. Even if you work within a specific niche such as female only training, weight loss, or sports performance, no two people are the same. In your first consultation, you’ll be asking them “Why” to investigate the emotional and situational motivations behind their new push to step it up and reach out to a PT. Of course, the common stories are wanting to lose or gain weight, become better at a sport they love, rehab an injury or just feel better in their own skin.
However, the truth with the grand majority is that in some way or form, they will likely have some negative thoughts, behaviors, or patterns linked to their historical fitness and nutrition experience. Whether it’s low self-esteem, unhealthy eating binges, or excessive exercise tendencies, there’s often a past or present “demon” to face somewhere. They can vary from very mild comments about their love handles, to completely heart-wrenching stories of bullying or eating disorders. The responsibility of a PT is immense to ensure this person is supported and encouraged in the most healthy positive way possible towards success. This is why it’s crucial as a coach to be aware of the healthiest goals to set with your clients to set them up for holistic wellness success. After all, how can they be an athlete in the future, without the most core of fundamental health dialed in first? Here are our examples of health goals to use with your PT clients you can track that will nail those basics from the get-go!!
Traditional Examples of Health Goals (That are healthy)
Okay, so let’s presume we’ve done the initial chat with our new client and we’re now onto body testing. We’ll take body composition measurements with our chosen available kit (Bioelectrical Impedance machines, Callipers etc) so we can get a good all-round impression of what our client’s overall health is looking like. These are the healthiest goals to start focusing on to set holistic wellbeing markers for our clients.
Body Fat % to Muscle Mass Ratio
Whether a client is overweight, at maintenance or underweight, having a healthy body fat percentage to muscle mass ratio is always a good place to start. Set a realistic goal for each measurement to best place your client in their healthy ranges. Remember this will be uniquely matched to their individual daily needs and exercise demands.
You’ll have a rough guess at visceral fat using Bioelectrical Impedance, having this as low as possible means the less fat clinging to internal organs, therefore the lower health risk long term. People can appear “athletic”, yet have a high visceral fat, so this isn’t to be overlooked.
The recommended “normal” healthy reading is 120/80, so set your client’s health aims that will assist in normalizing their blood pressure where possible. Stress can have a big impact on this, so look lower down this article for other goals that can link to stress reduction.
Resting Heart Rate
A low resting heart rate is optimal for overall cardiovascular and physiological health. Cardio training and regular restful practices like yin yoga can assist in lowering a heart rate over time.
Recovery based health goals
It’s not enough to simply exercise well, the recovery element of a training program and active lifestyle is just as important. Setting goals to improve the quality of your client’s recovery will not only help their overall wellbeing but also instill a level of care and discipline towards their day-to-day life that will support what you’re doing in your training sessions together. Better recovery, better fitness results, it’s that simple. We can use trackers, bands, and apps to record all elements of recovery for our clients, so whatever level they are at, there’s awesome data we can use to measure their health goals outside of coaching sessions alongside progress tracking.
Water intake and hydration
We all know that humans function poorly with low hydration, yet many of us most likely don’t drink the recommended 2 litres of water a day. Get your clients to track and improve on their water intake, and swap out sugary drinks for naturally flavoured, infused water.
There are amazing apps, wristbands and watches that can help us track our clients sleep habits. Whether it’s setting goals to get an earlier night, or encouraging wellbeing practices which lead to a deeper more restful REM sleep, improving sleep quality is vital to exercise recovery.
Easy for some, hard for others, getting proper rest marked into a weekly schedule is vital for all round wellbeing. We know our clients love to push themselves, impress us as their coach and their loved ones, but sometimes a lack of real restorative rest only has a negative impact. Encourage goal setting around rest days, and restful practices such as devoting time to deep breathwork to soothe the central nervous system and ground them.
Nutritional health goals
Discussing and planning healthy nutrition with a client is just as important as scheduling their workouts. Using our Nutrition Tracker we can observe, tweak and optimise our clients nutrition to match their caloric needs.
Macro split goals
When we begin to assess our clients nutrition, we’ll get a good idea of where they currently are in terms of grams/Kcal per macro group (Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein). Placing them on a healthy target macro split percentage for their unique needs is the first health goal we usually go for as coaches. It’s not going to happen overnight and might take a while to get dialed in, but giving realistic macro split goals that set them up for success is where you’ll start off on the front foot.
Vitamins and Minerals
Through the above nutrition tracking, we’ll also get a good idea of what kind of vitamin and mineral intake our clients are getting. Setting general dietary goals to increase the amount of nutrient-rich foods is a great way to start clients engaging more with the actual food quality they consume, and will educate them continually on how to keep themselves well holistically.
Balanced, interesting meals
No one really wants to eat bodybuilder-style plain food day in, day out, apart from well..bodybuilders. It’s common to hear horror stories of PT’s making a busy mum of 3 try and keep up with a routine of cooking separate meals and preparing lunch boxes for themselves on top of their kids. It’s setting them up to fail, and also creating way more stress than is necessary. Give health goals around varied, interesting meals packed with color and different tastes that suit them. Creating a healthy relationship with food for your clients is key to a lasting partnership with exercise and training well.
Chew your food, slowly
It sounds so simple, but it’s something that more or less everyone doesn’t do. Getting clients to observe and improve their chewing has more benefits to their internal health than whether they do five or six thousand steps round the office. It also gets clients to become more present when they are eating, taking time to rest, appreciate their meals and relax!
Lifestyle health goals
Promoting a healthy lifestyle is just, as if not more important than watching the pounds drop off the scales. The following elements of holistic health are just some ways you can help them to feel well and contribute to a killer training schedule, whilst measuring progress through goal setting.
Getting a regular schedule of sleep, relaxation and recovery all contributes to a healthy circadian rhythm. All too often we hear of clients having poor sleep hygiene and reporting feeling drained and unable to get up in the morning, or falling asleep at their desk and downing coffee. Setting health goals that contribute to normal hormone releases of melatonin and serotonin in our clients will have them thanking us for a more productive day at work, feeling more alert to play with their kids, and generally being happier through better quality of life. This is especially important for any clients who perform night-shift work like nurses or warehouse operatives who experience frequent problems with their circadian rhythm as a result of a back-to-front routine.
Yin and Yang
Identifying early on whether you have someone who’s very active, extrovert and high energy by nature, or someone who has lower energy and is more introvert is important. Understanding how you can set health goals around daily practices which balance them out more will help their mental and physical health for the rest of their life. Set goals around Yin-based calming downtime practices for fast-paced “I never stop” clients and Yang-based energy-boosting practices for the naturally slower-moving individuals.
It’s all about balance
You’ll find people who are too hard on themselves and never allow themselves to have a pizza or wine in pure fear of compromising their fitness. Or, you’ll have the opposite with some weekend warriors who could wind back the beers each Saturday as it’s slowing down their progress even more. Encouraging balance through healthy goal setting around less drinks or less caffeine or a planned “eat what you like” meal every so often, setting these goals will keep clients in a healthier frame of mind either way.
Unplug and get into nature
We ALL spend too much time on some kind of device these days. Setting health goals around less screen time and more clocked minutes absorbing nature in a quiet, reflective way will ensure that your new client is becoming more present, and therefore helping their overall quality of life. Getting in more Vitamin D for those who are inside a lot will also help their bone health through better calcium absorption as a bi-product, win win!
Mindset health goals
The final piece in the puzzle, our minds. Keeping our client’s brains and thought patterns healthy is an often overlooked health goal to set. The following mindful behaviors contribute to better mental health and therefore keep your client in a better state to receive information, learn and stick to everything else you’re giving them.
Checking in with yourself
Set them a goal to check in with themselves every morning about how they are feeling and write it down. It doesn’t have to be anything more than how their overall mood, energy levels and mindset is towards their training. When we spot individuals who are rushing around and rarely take time for themselves, this is a great goal to set to help them tune into what’s going on underneath.
Talk to yourself like you would your best friend
If you’ve heard a lot of negative talk from your client about themselves, their physique or their appearance, this is the one to start with. Reminding them that they wouldn’t speak to their best friend like that, they’d be supportive, encouraging and kind. Getting them to counteract every negative comment with a positive one, and then write down the positive comment in their journal is a wonderful health goal to put into practice.
Say what you mean, mean what you say
If you’re hearing a lot of excuses, and they rarely let themselves down on promises to drink enough water or do their home workout, get them to set goals to hold them accountable. They won’t want to hit a losing streak on your tally, so it’s going to make them see more progress overall and improve their day to day lifestyle too!
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Letting negative experiences go is hard for newbie fitness clients and elite athletes alike. Set healthy goals around positive affirmations at the end of every day to get your clients clients focused on their wins and best achievements helps them forget the lifts they failed on, or when they had a bad week of food because of work commitments or family dinners which can make them down from being too hard on themselves. Get them to write down reasons why they are awesome, and how awesome their body is through what it can do and you’ll soon see them glow.
Put into action these examples of health goals to use with your PT clients today that will leave them better than you found them!
Using all, some or even one of these goals in tandem with your PT sessions will promote a healthier all-round lifestyle, positive mindset, and better mental health for your clients. The intuitive TrueCoach platform and app for personal trainers have been expertly designed to help you track, record, and monitor progress for all different types and examples of health goals. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you to deliver the absolute best coaching service possible for your clients.
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