Happy Humpday everyone. Now that pleasantries are out of the way, whoever the hell is making my summer disappear faster than Usain Bolt leaving work on a Friday, please knock that shit off now! I mean I have nothing to really coerce you with except beer and some useless sports knowledge, but come on!
Alright I'm done, on to the thing you're probably here for. Letting your clients pick their poison is not laziness, in most cases, if you have a decent coach and worth at least half of what your paying them, then it’s probably not. When writing programs and coaching clients I will often let clients do a little bonus work after they’re done their finisher (conditioning) at the end. I believe this to be something that both, does me good in terms of retention and in moving the needle for a client towards adherence.
I mean some smart guy, that’s been doing this for longer than me, said this not too long ago. I’d say there’s something to this line of thought at the very least, no?
Example, a client was looking for a more chiseled (and scary) upper back, some of you may call this yoked. To help get them there, they would finish their program and I’d put together a circuit of upper back exercises to help that sucker grow. After the first few times of writing the circuit myself I started to give them options of adding in favorites. Sometimes I’d make it a mystery box and tell them to pick circuit A, B or C on the white board. In any case, it wasn't too long afterwards that she got started getting compliments/people started getting petrified when they saw my client's yoked-ness, success!
Performance goals need a little extra work to be met within a reasonable, not so frustrating, amount of time too. Again, I’ll put together a little something that helps them move toward that goal and after a few sessions, let them contribute to the cause.
Now if I start letting the client have input and they seem to be suggesting one too many exercises that aren’t doing them any favors AND their program adherence goes sideways, I get the override. I’ll probably take back full control for a week or 2, then bring them back in on it. I've rarely found that I had to do this, never for longer than a couple weeks.
Like I said before, this system plays into both adherence and retention (they usually go hand in hand). With the client having the input at the end, kind of like a piece of candy or desert. They get to include something they like in the session too. Thus, when they like what they’re doing, they are much more likely to adhere it. The more adherence to a program for a client, the results begin to show and thus they continue to come back to keep chasing that goal or look.
There's also the added element of trust with this. My client is already trusting me with their programming and improving their quality of life. I think it's best I give a little trust back and believe they will pick the BEST options for them. Around and around we go, my client becomes the most awesome version of themselves while enjoying it, simple right?Sometimes they might pick one they just like, and has no value to what they're working for. That's OK, as I stated before, just sprinkle it in sparingly.
To sum this up, as a client if a coach is asking you your thoughts on your training and what you want to do, get excited and contribute with your goal in mind. As a coach, don't do this out of laziness, have a purpose to it, your clients will thank you later for your trust. That's what I got today everyone, go out there and get after it!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS