Hey Motivators! You've tuned in for this week's summary of the conversations that happened in the Forums!

  • Check out this week’s awesome articles to share with your clients
  • Stevo wrote, Help The Clients We Can’t Help
  • Georgie Fear shared with us an incredible opportunity to review a pre-release media copy of her book, Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss!
  • Josh Hillis started a discussion about scope of practice and when to refer out clients dealing with psychological issues.
    • Jennifer Campbell Thanks Josh. Also following. We do need to screen people better because I believe those with EDs are attracted to the fitness industry. Also side note: this is the NASM trainer I spoke privately with you about. She has now taken her NASM affiliation off of all her social media profiles
    • Steven Michael Ledbetter This sickened me. I want to say first.When I was deciding to go to graduate school for psych, my therapist warned me that I'd find, "many people in helping professions are there seeking their own salvation."I'm gonna let that sink in for a second.

      Now combine that with my favorite gym slogan from Gym Jones, "there's a fine line between salvation and drinking poison in the jungle."

      After 3 years of daily ethics training, I'll tell you that ethics is rarely cut and dry, even when you think it is. That doesn't mean we should be lenient, attempt to draft clear standards, or call people the fuck out when they are acting outside how we interpret our professional scope.

    • Seth Munsey I constantly remind myself that I'm not a physical therapist, or a psychologist, or even a therapist. The waters can get muddy very quickly. Great article Jennifer!
    • Andy Fossett My only credential for mental health is that I once dated shrink... this is a very interesting discussion, and I'll have to spend some time reading all the links and resources later.One "dividing line" I've used when dealing with people before is self-limiting vs self-destructive.It's not perfect, and like anything, it can be a judgement call. But even in small degrees of willful self-destructiveness, I've found it just much, much better not to get involved beyond trying to subtilely and gently recommending the person talk to someone with more expertise.
    • Lisa Kinderman As a clinical psychologist and someone who treats EDs, most of the time there isn't a clear, quick, standardized way of screening for eating or exercise disturbances for non-clinicians. However, if you think about behaviors existing on a continuum, problems are typically coming up at the extremes--too much or too little. If a trainer and/or coach wrote me a message asking if I would consider being part of their consultation/referral network I would be THRILLED. I think we need more partnerships like this. Regarding the comment above about psychologists working via Skype, there can be ethical and legal issues with this mode of service delivery. Not that it can't be done--video conferencing can be crucial in under-served communities; however, I would be wary of a clinician who claims to provide services to a client without having seen him/her at least initially face-to-face or without being very clear about the parameters of the service. (There are psychologists out there doing wacky things, too!)


  • Shannon Khoury asked for advice on "selling fitness" and starting a gym.
    • Andy Fossett I don't think you can actually know who your ideal client really is until you've worked with a good number of people who aren't ideal. You can guess, assume, wish, and dream, but you'll probably be fooling yourself.
    • Josh Hillis I trained out of my garage for three years, nights and weekends, while I was working full-time at a Physical Therapy office.Just start working with people. What Andy said is legit. I thought I'd get into this to work with 25 year old dudes training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. What I ended up getting, and falling in love with doing, was fat loss coaching for professional 30-50 year old women.Work with a lot of people. As many as possible.

      Charge for it - because it will force you to upgrade your skills to match what you're charging. It's essentially accountability for yourself that you're providing value.

    • Josh Hillis One last thing, when I was new I knew I needed to provide more than $1.16 per minute in service (what we charged). And that I wasn't going to provide that with guru-like knowledge and years of experience (yet).So I provided energy, enthusiasm, listening, accountability, and bottomless support for their goals. For most of my clients, that was enough to make it worth it.And of course I studied making a difference for people like my life depended on it. And got better.

      But even your first day as a trainer - you can provide a lot just being who you are for them.

    • Steven Michael Ledbetter I think the best way to "sell" is to state your values, then listen. Listen to find the people who resonate with those values, then listen to find out what problems those people are having living up to those values. Once you learn the language they use to talk about those problems, you can communicate with them about how to solve them. But if you skip in there (which we all did as baby trainers trying to impress everyone with our book learning), they won't hear you.All of my most successful, loyal mofo clients have been the result of me creating a safe, judgement-free space to explore health, fitness, nutrition, behavior, expectations, and their peers, then just listening. I have trained all kinds of people, but the people that I seem to have the biggest draw with is women between the ages of 45-90 who are simply out of fucks. They just wanna move better, feel better, and shoot the shit with interesting people so they feel compelled to come back the next day. I could have never told you that was my market until I created a space and started listening. Even now that I have a weekly column for MyFitnessPal that goes out to 80mil people, the emails that I get looking for training are still from that population.It's weird; it's not sexy; and I don't care. It's the best population ever. I've never sold them a thing, but they paid for my entire graduate school education. :)
  • Claudio Espinoza shared Why Self-Awareness Is The Secret Weapon For Habit Change
  • Lauren Koski shared all the progress she’s made since joining the Motivate Collective!
  • Darren Moroney shared, Hacking Willpower: Research tricks for boosting self-control
    • Steven Michael Ledbetter Writing a research piece about willpower without mentioning Baumeister (but mentioning like, 3 of his students oddly) is like writing a research piece about thermodynamics and not mentioning Newton. Also, the "Stanford Researchers" was Carol Fucking Dweck and it was about some odd limits of the strength model of willpower. AND reframing is a really hard skill to teach in a blog post. My recommendations for how to deal with ego-depletion (Baumeister's term) is to gain some self-awareness of the conditions when you become ego-depleted then structure your decisions around those so you have great fall back plans. Like, "do you run out of fucks at the end of the day because of a terrible commute? Let's work on planning and preparing your dinner ahead of time so all you have to do is heat it up."
  • Jamie Chenelle shared with us her success at building an online community for her gym!
  • Omar Atlas asked for advice on where to learn more about evidence-based life coaching.
    • Steven Michael Ledbetter I've met awesome, evidence-based life coaches with very clearly defined ethics and scope of practice as well as wide referral networks and decades of experience. I've met straight up charlatans. And I've met everything in between it seems. I think the problem with life coaches is the same as personal trainers and chiropractors: there are awesome ones; there are whack jobs; and almost no way to tell on paper which is which. (P.S. Jessi Kneeland is getting her life-coach cert and seems rad)
    • Matt Talley Depending on how you might define it, it's definitely a big part of my coaching style. In fact it's the exact reason I keep my client base small and never enjoyed myself or felt as rewarded when I got to over 20 clients at a time, which has been my upper limit for a while.So long as I don't think the person has serious enough issues (feelings about their issues really) that they need to be seeing a mental health professional (and I have a pretty low bar for serious I think), if they are willing to talk about their relationships with friends, spouses, family, their past, their deepest philosophical or religious views, etc. I am not only willing to talk about that I very much enjoy it.
    • Susan Jimenez I'll step in here, though there seems to be a bias against life coaching here, while most posting don't really know what life coaching IS. I call myself a life and wellness coach. I am not certified through a coaching curriculum, though. And there are several certification programs out there. Just google 'Life Coaching' to find out. I have taken several life coaching courses, which, by the way, involve a lot of communication training, psychology, human growth and development, listening, and a mix of emotional intelligence training, and motivational interviewing, and more. Working with a life coach is a way to make yourself and your goals in life a priority. People who work with a life coach are go-getters; they want to make the best use of their time, energy, and they want to see their vision a reality. They often seek life coaching when they are in some sort of transition: looking for a new job/ new career; starting a business; working on a project that is requiring them to step out of their comfort zone. People who hire life coaches are taking themselves seriously, much the way people who hire personal trainers do. They are willing to seek out an expert who knows how to ask them the questions that will reveal their brilliance. Working with the right life coach is incredible & can help a person accelerate their successes and can help one get in touch with their purpose, values, beliefs, and their mission in life. It's a way to make one's life meaningful. What you all are here talking about, in terms of 'habit change' and lifestyle change dove-tails right into what some of my clients seek coaching for. I love holding a space for my life coaching clients to have what they want and listening to them for the bright, brilliant idea, then helping them be creative in their thinking. It's every bit, if not more, awesome than teaching them to move in the gym.
    • KC Ushijima I have the opinion that personal training is life coaching with health & fitness as the catalyst. The best case scenario is that it opens people's eyes to make little improvements/habits in their life in and outside the gym, and they take action. Worst case scenario is that they see chaos and disorder in their personal and professional life and actively ignore it for the gym. "The gym is a place to improve life, not escaping it."When I work with people in the gym, I find myself using more pop self help & business books like Stephen Covey's 7 habits, Jim Rohn stuff, Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, Daniel Coyle's Talent Code or Gladwell's Outliers, Good To Great, and Dan Millman's Way of the peaceful warrior. I also dabble a little with NLP.
  • Matt Dowd asked for advice on helping a client lose weight by asking her to do something she is probably against.
    • Georgie Fear Oooooh I love these! Detective Calories is in the house!The best way to flesh out a "this looks fishy" food diary is in person, or over the phone, not in writing. That's because 1. You need to ask a lot of questions and 2. it's verrrrry easy to piss someone off when the written word has no friendly laugh, smile or intonation to it.1. Tone. Pretend you're taking to your best pal about a puzzle to solve together, 'let's find the missing calories', as opposed to grilling a defendant on the stand.

      2. Secondly, take care NOT TO LEAD the person into answers, thus introducing bias. This is tough one for beginning coaches and dietitians to learn, but you don't want to say "You use lowfat milk, right?" because the client will be tempted to please you or follow your lead. Better to ask "what type of milk is it?"

      3. The main goal is to look for things that aren't there, but logically would be, and ask if there was something else, and to clarify portions in case they're got some "portion distortion" going on.

      4. "Anything else? Ask it many many times.

      5. Triangulate by asking the same thing a few times. Often the second or third pass gets something to come up. For example: As you go through the day, "Anything between breakfast and lunch?" .... and then later. "Is there a candy bowl or break room at your work? Is there food in there that you sometimes partake in?" and then "Any coffee breaks during the day?" All ways of looking at the "blanks" between breakfast and lunch.

      Okay, then to the log itself. There are often some flags and clues.

      6. One is an absence of beverages. No water, coffee, tea, juice, nada? "What did you drink with this meal?" "Did you have anything to drink during your workout?" "Can you recall what was the first thing you drank in the morning?"

      7. Specific portions for some things but not others. For example, "1 cup cereal, 3/4 cup 1% milk, a medium apple, coffee with 2 packet of sugar and cream". (<-- ask about the cream and the answer they give, ask if they measure it. If yes, HOW do they measure it?) If they say with a spoon, ask if it's a measuring spoon. A standard tablespoon can hold way more than a measuring tablespoon.

      8. Rounded tablespoons. Ask if the tablespoon of nut butter was measured (see #7) and ask if they *level* the tablespoon. I will often apologize in advance before asking that one, kind of like, ok, I'm going to ask an anal retentive question, but you've been so patient and stuck with me this far and I really want to solve this mystery with you so you can see that weight loss..."

      9. Licked fingers, fingers in the jar, etc - I ask about this every time nut butter shows up. "So if we had a video of you making sandwiches, would there ever be a finger in the jar or maybe an extra swipe?" SMILE. This can be awkward, you don't want them to feel accused!

      10. Moms: "do you make lunches for your kids? Does a bit of their food even end up getting eaten? It's tough because kid food is often so finger friendly that we can pop a goldfish or two without even thinking!"

      11. "While cooking - how often do you taste the food? How many bites would you say you have?"

      12. "When you're doing the dishes or cleaning plates, is it tough for you to throw out uneaten food, I know it can be for some people!"

      13. No condiments. As in a baked potato with nothing on it. A hamburger with nothing on it. Toast with nothing on it.

      14. Cooking oil is often omitted. "Can you tell me how you cooked those veggies?" (in a pan). "Do you do anything to keep them from sticking to the pan?" (if they add oil, then go into the measuring spoons bit) "when they're done, do you add something to them for flavor or seasonings, or just have them plain?

      15. And the big payoff one I have learned to ask "How many days a week do you eat like this?" (motions to page)... because sometimes it's "hardly ever, this is what I plan but hardly ever achieve!" or "5 days a week, but the weekend are my cheat meals"

      16. Ask about "bad days." "Is this how you eat every day, or sometimes is there a day when things are just off and something gets in the way?"

      17. When was the last time you ate at a restaurant?

      18. "What do you enjoy most when you're going to have a treat?" (going for something not on the log)

      19. What is your favorite type of alcoholic beverage? How many of those would you have a week?" Do you ever order something else instead? Oh, and check wine portions, I have had clients who pour a 10 ounce glass of wine.

      20. If they are using myfitnesspal or livestrong, look at the actual numbers on the entries they selected, because there are user entered ones which are wrong. If your clients 4 ounce chicken breast has only 50 calories, it's a bad entry.

      21. Sometimes people will just pick the default portion size and not change it to reflect what they actually ate. So they pick 3/4 cup cereal, and they just poured a bowl.