“Typically if an individual resorts to what they’ve been doing or what they know, it’s not as exciting,” he said. “It’s maybe something they’ve been doing for years.” Taking a personalized session, on the other hand, can provide clients with a new set of exercises to kick-start a training routine.
“When you try to design your own exercise session, often you have a lot of other variables,” he said. “It’s difficult to clear your mind of your stresses at work, your stresses at home.” A trainer’s purpose, he added, is to focus on what’s best for the client and provide a “better specificity of exercise.”
The goal is to eventually have people performing the workouts on their own, but Walsh said it’s a good idea to stick with some level of instruction, even if it’s just a session once a month.
“It’s a great way to find yourself accountable,” he said. “It’s something to look forward to; something to be excited about. It all translates to increased compliance.”
The biggest resolution mistake Walsh sees people make is setting colossal long-term goals and forgetting about establishing short-term steps to accomplish on the way there.
“So many people say things like, ‘I want to lose 15 pounds,'” he said. “You need both long-term and short-term goals-it’s those short-term goals that allow you to stick with it.” In this case, it might be losing two pounds over the course of a month, then two pounds the next month. “If you can achieve [a short-term goal], you can imagine what that does towards motivation,” he said. “Start small. Start with smaller goals, and don’t try to knock it off all at once.”
People also tend to work too hard in the beginning and burn out quickly. A meaningful behavior change, Walsh said, has to be something realistic and possible to maintain. In other words, heading to the gym seven days a week for two hours a day isn’t the best idea.
“You need to find something that you’re going to be able to stick with lifelong,” he said. “Until you find that solution, by definition, you’re only doing a short-term fix. It might work for a month, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to be able to sustain that long-term, and you’re setting yourself up to have a rebound.”