“Alright Mrs. Parks”, the instructor begins, “When optimizing caloric expenditure and there is a consequent adipose tissue volume reduction during steady state aerobic exercise performance, you must at the same time avoid any energy provision by means of anaerobic glycolysis as this undesirably exhausts muscle glycogen and you should reverse these intercellular energy sources for optimum mitochondrial function during resistance exercise. It is imperative that your target heart rate reach a level no higher than 70% of max to enhance stroke volume, and that you monitor this heart rate at regular intervals throughout the 20 minute aerobic activity.” Of course, at this point, Mrs. Parks, while seemingly attentive, makes absolutely no sense of any of her trainer’s instructional comments. She nods her head in agreement and understanding, only because she doesn’t want to appear stupid to the trainer.

All too often, great personal trainers have a difficult time expressing themselves in lay terms. Or they expect too much of their clients, in terms of comprehending the lingo. Being too in-depth can be as bad, or even worse, then being too vague. Translate exercise and nutritional education and guidance into ways that clients will understand, remember and be able to apply daily. As an example, try the following approach to conveying the above information to a client:

“Mrs. Parks, if you are going to perform your aerobic activity segment just prior to the weight training segment, you need to focus on using fat energy during the aerobic segment and muscle energy during your weight training segment. To regulate your pace, carry a conversation with me during the aerobic segment. If conversation is difficult, slow down. Also, avoid running too fast or traversing an incline because the muscle burning that occurs when doing aerobics means that you are using energy from the muscles, and you don’t want that in order to accomplish the goals we have set.” Go on to familiarize the client VERY extensively, on the contraindications to exercise – discouraging continued effort if any of these early warning signs occur. That’s it.

You must agree, the second approach would make more sense to the client and sounds more “doable” and easier to remember. There is a trick to translating biological, biomechanical and physiological occurrences relative to the total fitness prescription. Using analogies and drawing comparisons between body functions relating to fitness (sometimes with totally unrelated and easy to understand examples) can be a most effective way to convey otherwise complicated information to the client.

Next week we will look at a few scenarios just to give your imagination a kick-start.

Ron Clark

Ron Clark is the Founder of National Federation of Professional Trainers, NFPT. From U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant to Competitive BodyBuilder, then Firefighter and Certified Personal Trainer – he founded NFPT in 1988 with a mission to make fitness training careers accessible to every day fitness enthusiasts who want to turn their passion into their livelihood. Ron has always led with a heart of service, and, in that spirit, he helps people to achieve real and practical career goals that serve a greater good in changing people’s lives. He lives and leads by example, being a personal trainer himself for more than 10 years before setting out to develop a certification program that is real-world and foundational to the goals of personal trainers and their clients. Click Here to learn more about Ron’s story and NFPT’s inception.