We Are Terrible at Helping People Lose Weight…


So, I don’t know if this should be called a secret, or a confession, or an admission, or what, but I feel like it’s time to point out that the Personal Training industry is pretty terrible at helping people lose weight, or at least at losing weight and keeping it off—hello Biggest Loser.  (Did you see the recent New York Times article?)  If all the might of a major TV network like NBC, with all the resources they have, can’t help people keep off a hundred pounds or more, no wonder it’s tough for us “little guys.” 

With almost 13 years of trying to help people with their health I can say this: The majority of people who hire a personal trainer for weight loss, doesn’t lose weight.  Those who do usually gain it back.  Only a small percentage (ugh I hate to admit this) probably 10% or less, actually lose the weight and become a different person permanently.  Yikes. 

We Have to Do Better. Raise your hand if you’ve gone to a Personal Trainer (our business included) with the hopes of losing weight, getting a different body, and you haven’t had success.  It’s frustrating isn’t it?  Imagine how frustrating it can be for us!  We dedicate our life to this work and less than 10% of our customers are actually successful.  Ouch!  Talk about something to keep you, and us, up at night.  We have to do better.

More Bad News. Man, last week I told people change is hard, not easy…now this.  So before my marketing directors strangle me for more bad marketing copy, let me share another epiphany I had.  You know what other industry is terrible, dare I say possibly even worse at helping people lose weight—yeah…it’s every other field that seeks to offer solutions to the battle of the bulge.  Weight watchers, general practitioners, nutritionists, chiropractors, Beach Body, Crossfit, Solid Core, Orange Theory, you name it.  They might contend otherwise, but I would argue none of us are knocking it out of the park statistically. 

So what’s our problem?  Why are we (the health industry as a whole) so bad at this?  Well, I think the answer has a lot less to do with the particular services we offer (though some are better than others), and more to do with our ability to create frameworks that facilitate the change process. 

Dramatic instrument of real and lasting change. One of my fitness industry heroes (Michol Dalcourt) has a great ability to see the future. He thinks, and I agree, that Personal Trainers of the future will be more than exercise specialists—the good ones, the ones who create real change, will also be life coaches.  We will develop the skill set to ask our clients better questions.  If we can catch the vision to develop the skills of a life coach, Personal Trainers, possibly more than any other industry (because of the sheer number of hours we spend with our customers each month), have a unique opportunity to be some of the most dramatic instruments of real and lasting change. 

Fostering Community. To take Michol’s vision one step further, I think the trainers of the future will not only need the skills of a life coach, they will need the ability to foster community.  No one I know of does this better than Trina Gray.  She’s a master at it.  She’s actually the one who came up with our new tagline “We Coach the Whole Human.”  In one, 60-minute coaching call she got us outside our own box helping us see what we’ve not been doing well—creating the meaningful connections (the community) that fosters lifestyle changes that actually take root.  Thank you Trina! 

Realizing this led Nina and I to develop what we think may be the most promising framework we’ve seen for facilitating the change process.  We call it:

The TRUE Lifestyle Transformation Formula
Better Questions + Personal Plans + Accountability

You don’t just need another plan. Anywhere you go, to any health practitioner in any industry, they can give you a plan—take this pill, drink this, don’t do that, move more, eat less, lose weight, etc. You can download plans from the Internet all day. Few people need another plan! What we see as a real need is something to bookend the plan. To develop better plans we need to ask substantive questions about why someone is stuck in the first place.  After the plan is developed, it needs to have some teeth, some layer of accountability to hold us to it, and to cause us to revisit it regularly for adjustments and new goals. THAT, we believe, is where real and lasting change will occur. 

Accountability Group. Based on that belief, we are doubling down of our efforts to be better coaches and facilitators of meaningful connections.  Learn about our TRUE Accountability group starting soon! It’s time to finally make those changes you’ve been wanting. 

Change is coming!  Game on!  


Comment as Anonymous change
May 24, 2017
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