Teaching Cheat Sheet: Learn how to Deal with Unrealistic Expectations


Should you’re a well being, health, or diet skilled, I wager a minimum of one in every of these eventualities will sound acquainted to you. (Possibly each).

State of affairs A: A brand new shopper walks in and tells you precisely what she needs to “rework” into.

The unhealthy information is that she’s exhibiting you an image on her telephone of a celeb who doesn’t remotely appear to be her (and you know the way a lot work this superstar needed to put in to get these outcomes). Then this new shopper tells you that she solely has time for 2 30-minute periods per week.

State of affairs B: You’ve been working together with your shopper for some time, and she or he’s crushing it!

She’s getting unbelievable outcomes, and but she’s not glad… ever. “I’m simply not the place I wish to be,” she says. The extra you consider it, the extra you understand that her targets appear to be a transferring goal: she doesn’t like her arms, she needs to be leaner nonetheless, she says there’s one thing “fallacious” along with her abdomen, and so forth.

This may be irritating and disheartening — for you and your shopper.

Naturally, you wish to arrange your shopper to succeed. You need her to succeed in her targets, really feel superior, and have fun her success. In spite of everything, that’s in all probability why you’re on this enterprise within the first place — to assist folks.

Not solely that, however a dissatisfied shopper isn’t precisely good for enterprise. What if she begins to doubt your potential to assist her? Even worse, what if she blames you when she isn’t in a position to get the outcomes she hoped for?

Fortunately, there’s a answer. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t embody bursting your shopper’s bubble or telling her she’s fallacious.)

On this article, we’ll provide you with six methods for reframing unrealistic shopper expectations so you’ll be able to assist your purchasers get out of the cycle of dissatisfaction and really feel nice about their outcomes.

Why Do Girls Have Such Unrealistic Expectations for Themselves?

To reply that query, do that fast sport.

(This train is courtesy of Dr. Larissa Mercado-Lopez, affiliate professor at California State College–Fresno and curriculum contributor to the GGS Teaching & Coaching Girls Academy.)

Google the phrases: match girl. What do you see?

Doubtless lots of:

  • Lean our bodies
  • White our bodies
  • Younger our bodies
  • Our bodies with no seen disabilities
  • Six-pack abs and lightweight muscle (however not “an excessive amount of”)
  • Horny poses
  • Fashionable exercise clothes like crop tops and brief shorts

(Do this with “wholesome girl” and also you’ll get related outcomes. Plus a number of photos of girls laughing whereas consuming salad.)

You don’t have to search around for these pictures to see them.

Pictures that present how ladies “ought to” look are in all places: on Instagram, in magazines, in superstar tradition, TV and flicks, in promoting, and fairly presumably even on posters and ads on the very fitness center the place you’re employed.

After all, it’s not simply the pictures we see. It’s additionally what we are saying and listen to (and sometimes suppose).

For instance:

Have you ever ever heard somebody say, “She’s too skinny! Jeez, simply eat a sandwich!”

How about, “Are you able to consider she’s carrying that, at her measurement?”

Or, “A bikini!? At her age!? What’s she pondering?”

These sorts of feedback reveal that ladies’s our bodies are regularly mentioned, evaluated and scrutinized. Whether or not these conversations are about celebrities, strangers, relations, colleagues, or associates, it sends a message that ladies “ought to” look a sure means, and in the event that they don’t, they’ll be judged and criticized.

Girls are regularly judged and evaluated by their our bodies.

Girls could encounter judgment and criticism about their our bodies at house, work, faculty, in public locations, and in locations of well being and health together with the physician’s workplace, well being services, and the fitness center.

If we’re trustworthy with ourselves, we coaches, trainers, and well being professionals would possibly understand that we’ve made assumptions about ladies based mostly on their measurement (even when we haven’t meant to).

For instance:

  • Have you ever ever assumed a shopper was match or able to sure workouts due to how she seemed? You will have guessed that as a result of she was lean, she was additionally in fine condition or had wholesome consuming habits. (And also you might need been fallacious.)
  • Or, have you ever ever assumed shopper wasn’t match or able to sure workouts due to her physique form or measurement? Maybe it turned out she had higher cardiovascular health or athletic functionality than you thought.
  • Equally, have you ever ever assumed feminine shopper needed to shed pounds… when that really wasn’t her major purpose?

These are widespread errors. And so they exhibit how ladies are regularly judged and evaluated based mostly on their our bodies.

Consequently, many ladies consider they “ought to” look a sure means.

That’s why your shopper expects (or hopes) to rework her physique.

And she or he’s coming to you for assist.

The factor is, you understand one thing your shopper doesn’t.

You realize what it takes to vary a physique… and it could be crystal clear to you that your shopper’s expectations merely aren’t practical.

For instance, reaching that “supreme” physique would possibly require…

  • Important trade-offs that don’t align together with your shopper’s life-style.
  • Extra time within the fitness center than she’s ready to spend.
  • Strategies that don’t help her different targets or general well being.

And perhaps even…

In addition to, within the case of some purchasers, it’d look like regardless of what outcomes you assist them get, they’re simply by no means going to be glad. They at all times wish to lose extra weight or enhance another a part of their physique. Their expectations maintain shifting simply out of attain.

So what do you do? How do you assist a shopper set practical expectations for herself — and love her outcomes?

6 Methods to Assist Your Consumer Reframe Her Expectations

Coping with unrealistic expectations is undeniably tough — for you and in your shopper. Fortunately, there are methods you should use to assist your shopper see what’s practical and wholesome for her. This fashion, she is going to really feel profitable as she works in the direction of her purpose.

1. Take a compassionate take a look at your shopper’s issues and apprehensions.

Your shopper could also be uncertain — maybe even frightened or fearful — about how coaching will change her physique.

Chances are you’ll hear her say issues like:

  • “I don’t wish to elevate heavy weights as a result of I don’t wish to get cumbersome.”
  • “I solely wish to prepare my abs as a result of that’s the place I wish to shed pounds.”
  • “How will I do away with my saddlebags if I don’t use that one machine?” (the abductor machine)
  • “I don’t wish to acquire any muscle. I simply wish to tone the muscle I have already got.”

(I’m positive you’ll be able to consider different belongings you’ve heard alongside those self same strains.)

These sorts of moments might be irritating. However they’ll additionally current an incredible alternative…

If you don’t flat-out inform your shopper she’s fallacious!

Sure, you learn that proper.

As a substitute of getting annoyed or making an attempt to persuade your shopper that your means is healthier (“I promise, you gained’t get cumbersome!”), strategy her with compassion.

Keep in mind that she doubtless needs to give attention to the outcomes she hopes to attain as a result of she feels stress to look a sure means.

“When serving to purchasers by way of issues or expectations that we really feel are unfounded, we should bear in mind this important fact: to our purchasers, their issues and expectations are neither silly nor unrealistic. They might be based mostly on lack of know-how or understanding of sure processes, however this doesn’t imply your purchasers deserve a harsh smackdown to convey them again to actuality.” — Carolina Belmares, Teaching & Coaching Girls Academy curriculum contributor.

One of many worst issues you are able to do is to dismiss your shopper’s issues outright. Certain, you would possibly know that her fears are unfounded. (After all, she isn’t going to show into the Unimaginable Hulk, particularly not in a single day.)

However for those who ignore or dismiss her, the true message you’re sending is that you’re not receptive to her issues.

However, for those who select to get curious and ask her questions, you create a chance to know, join with, and coach her extra successfully.

Strive asking questions that can allow you to perceive the place her apprehension comes from. For instance:

  • “Is that this an expertise you’ve had previously?”
  • “Are you able to give me examples of what you imply whenever you say cumbersome?”
  • “What makes you nervous about coaching otherwise?”

Getting inquisitive helps you set the stage for a extra constructive interplay and provides you the chance to develop a stronger relationship together with your shopper.

2. Remind your shopper there’s a broad vary for what is taken into account regular.

Your shopper might need a really particular concept of what her outcomes “ought to” appear to be, based mostly on what she’s noticed in different ladies, in health magazines, or on social media. She could also be evaluating her appears to be like, her progress, or her efficiency to what she sees in others.

To assist your shopper perceive that outcomes are by no means one-size-fits-all, listed below are just a few suggestions you should use.

Clarify to your shopper that the spectrum of “regular” outcomes could be very broad and varies from one particular person to a different.

Many elements past train and diet can affect outcomes and the timeframe it takes to attain them, together with:

  • Stress
  • Sleep
  • Hormones
  • Life-style
  • Age
  • Exercise ranges (out and in of the fitness center)
  • General well being

… and extra.

Use teaching cues that enable for various ranges of motion and efficiency, with out judgment or comparability.

Chorus from utilizing cues that encourage competitors and might push your purchasers into evaluating themselves with others (e.g., “Bump up that weight, Claire! Shonda is crushing you over there utilizing these huge plates!”).

“Phrases akin to ‘Select a weight that’s reasonably heavy for you,’ ‘Let me know for those who want a distinct modification,’ and ‘Work with the vary of movement that your physique is providing you with right this moment’ are widespread in my small-group courses and encourage folks to give attention to their very own exercise. ” — Kara Stewart-Agostino, Teaching & Coaching Girls Academy curriculum contributor.

Put collectively a photograph assortment (akin to an album or Instagram account) showcasing various shopper journeys.

(Be sure you’ve gotten your purchasers’ specific consent, after all. That ought to at all times be required earlier than you share any particular experiences, data, or pictures).

Present your shopper a various illustration of our bodies and experiences to remind her that each particular person’s journey is a bit completely different. This may increasingly assist her refine her personal targets and expectations based on what’s practical for her. (And it might assist her broaden her personal concepts of what ‘wholesome’ and ‘match’ can appear to be.)

As you evaluate pictures collectively, have a dialog. For instance, you could say issues like:

  • “Do you know that not everybody needs to shed pounds? Listed here are just a few ladies who really needed to achieve some muscle mass…”
  • “Right here’s an instance of some purchasers of their 40s who had been trying to get stronger and have fewer aches and pains. You may see their outcomes right here. This girl even competed in a powerlifting meet final month and took 2nd in her class!”

These conversations may also help your purchasers see their targets in a brand new gentle, give attention to their very own work, and acquire a greater appreciation of their distinctive journey.

three. Give your shopper an correct “insider’s” perspective.

How a lot does your shopper really learn about what goes on behind the scenes to attain the depictions we sometimes see of the business health business or athletic competitions?

It’s simple to scroll by way of social media or flip by way of health magazines and stay oblivious about all that’s required to create these pictures of “good” our bodies.

Remind your shopper that folks in health magazines, celebrities who’ve gotten in unimaginable form for a film function, and high athletes all make their residing from their our bodies.

It’s their job. Their full-time job.

Because of this these folks:

  • Could prepare as much as 30 hours every week (that’s undoubtedly extra work than your shopper can put in throughout her two or three weekly periods).
  • Get to make their our bodies practically the only focus of the whole lot they do by controlling each facet of their life (meals, sleep, relationships, and so forth.).
  • Can depend on the help of a full group of trainers, nutritionists, cooks, babysitters, and so forth.

Should you’re working with a shopper who believes these pictures painting practical targets, you’ll be able to remind her of all of the work that goes into creating them, together with:

  • A group of stylists and make-up artists whose purpose is to create probably the most flattering appears to be like,
  • Skilled photographers who craft pictures with good lighting, cautious angle work, and a whole bunch of outtakes,
  • Skilled retouching to verify the lighting and coloration stability is excellent, and
  • In lots of instances, extra digital enhancement of the pictures (i.e., “Photoshopping”).

In addition to, the one outcome we’re seeing is the one which’s crafted for the general public to see. We don’t see what occurs after the film, after the photograph shoot, or after the athletic occasion.

(Plus, even when celebrities share their “new wholesome life-style” suggestions, we don’t know if the knowledge they’re offering is correct. There’s a excessive probability they’re merely making an attempt to promote one thing.)

Sharing this data together with your shopper may also help her take a step again from these “good”  pictures that appear to have grow to be the brand new regular and suppose extra critically about what she needs to attain.

four. Encourage your shopper to cease consuming media that leaves her feeling unhealthy about herself.

Whereas pictures of elite athletes, health fashions, or celebrities could also be offered as “inspiration,” it’s often extra detrimental than useful.

Analysis means that we really feel worse about ourselves after photos of individuals with “supreme” our bodies than after “impartial” pictures. (That is true of each women and men, really).

There’s a easy train you’ll be able to encourage your shopper to do — and even attempt for your self. Ask her to pay shut consideration to how she feels about her physique after watching TV, studying health, superstar or trend magazines, or scrolling by way of social media.

If she tends to really feel worse about herself, it’s time to begin curating the kind of media content material she’s consuming. Listed here are some easy-to-follow recommendations:

  • Each week, unfollow social media accounts or let go of a selected media outlet. Maintain going till she’s now not partaking with media that results in comparability and detrimental physique emotions.
  • Deal with media that provides educational or technical content material and take note of the language used within the posts she sees. Does she discover body-shaming language hidden in there?
  • Reduce down on media consumption altogether and substitute different actions that make her really feel higher. This may very well be spending time outside, having fun with a weekly “screen-free” night time with household or associates, taking a yoga class, or something she notably enjoys.

Whereas, as talked about above, publicity to sure sorts of media can have a detrimental impact, do you know that some sorts of media can have the alternative, constructive impact?

Commonly seeing all kinds of our bodies may also help us rework the best way we see our personal physique.

By in search of out pictures that embody quite a lot of our bodies of all styles and sizes, postpartum our bodies, older our bodies, in addition to our bodies of various races and skills, we broaden the definition of what we discover acceptable, enticing, or stunning.

Illustration is necessary.

You may steer your shopper towards social media accounts and media retailers that supply a extra various illustration of our bodies and experiences. Be certain these our bodies differ from what’s historically represented within the media.

5. Have fun your shopper’s efforts and differ your phrases of encouragement.

Outcomes might be arduous to manage. Many elements come into play, so holding agency expectations about outcomes can set your shopper up for disappointment.

By serving to her give attention to what she will be able to management, she will be able to decide to doing her best each day with what’s accessible to her, and she will be able to discover methods to benefit from the course of.

What small wins are you able to acknowledge and assist your shopper see?

Objectively, what progress is she making? Which areas, aside from her look, are you able to emphasize?

  • Is she main by instance by at all times exhibiting up on time and having a constructive impact on the opposite members within the class?
  • Is she refusing to let her busy schedule detract them from exhibiting as much as her exercise periods?
  • Does she attempt new issues, regardless of her preliminary discomfort, or regardless of the concern that she’ll look silly or be “unhealthy” at it?
  • Does she encourage others in school and promote the spirit of teamwork you’re making an attempt to domesticate?
  • Is she studying to prepare dinner new issues in order that her diet is extra aligned with their targets?
  • Is she transferring her physique in new methods or noticing a distinction in the best way she carries herself?
  • Does she embody new wholesome habits in her every day life in a means that’s beginning to really feel like second nature?
  • Does she discover herself utilizing new strengths she’s simply found or superpowers she forgot she had?

“In my courses, I make it possible for I encourage and praise every particular person girl on the progress she’s making — even whether it is small. ‘Wow, Jane! Your stability is getting so a lot better! Good job, Sarah! You’re getting out that second set now!’ I by no means touch upon physique form or measurement, however fairly on effort or efficiency. This creates a tradition within the class that doesn’t help an excessive amount of comparability.” — Marika Hart, Teaching & Coaching Girls Academy curriculum contributor.

Assist your shopper discover and respect her personal progress markers.

Studying to acknowledge these small wins and taking the time to have fun them is an excellent strategy to keep current and energetic within the course of — and to maintain unrealistic expectations in verify.

It’s additionally a good suggestion so that you can mannequin this in order that your shopper can see that these small wins depend for everybody. For instance, your shopper could dismiss including 5 kilos to a elevate, saying it’s “no huge deal,” however for those who share how pleased you’re that you just had been in a position so as to add 5 kilos to one in every of your lifts, it would assist her put her personal achievements right into a more healthy perspective.

6. Lead by instance.

What you say and do has the facility to set the proper tone and develop a tradition that’s constructive and inclusive. That’s true whether or not you’re working one-on-one with purchasers, educating in a business fitness center setting, in large-group environments, and even in distant teaching.

Create and implement a coverage with no tolerance for criticizing, shaming, or bashing anybody’s physique. (This contains not criticizing your personal physique.)

Make it clear that detrimental feedback about our bodies aren’t acceptable and won’t be tolerated. Be compassionate however agency about this.

Nevertheless, make certain your purchasers know that if they’ve detrimental emotions about their physique, your door is at all times open for a non-public dialog the place they’ll share how they’re feeling.

Your purpose shouldn’t be to make your purchasers afraid to precise how they really feel however to assist them grow to be conscious of the phrases they use.

Once you witness physique criticism, shaming, or bashing, use the chance to show purchasers to reframe what they’re saying and discover a constructive space on which to focus as an alternative. (“I hear that you just’re not feeling nice proper now, however have you ever observed how a lot your squat kind has improved? Do you bear in mind how difficult it was for you just a few months in the past? Your progress is unimaginable!”)

At any time when potential, use all kinds of pictures in your fitness center, in your web site and social media posts, and in your advertising supplies.

Pay additional consideration to the pictures you’re utilizing in your area, in your signage, in your web site, and in social media.

Keep in mind that these pictures additionally set the tone and provide the alternative to visually specific that you just welcome and help all our bodies and all sorts of targets.


Making a tradition by which your purchasers develop practical expectations, get nice outcomes, and really feel unbelievable about their progress (together with your assist)… now that is actual management.

Isn’t that the coach you wish to be?

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