I spend a lot of my coaching time with fitness professionals talking about building systems for their business.

It is virtually impossible to build a solid business, grow a big one or free yourself from doing every single task in your fitness business without systems.

  • Admin systems
  • Training systems
  • Nutrition systems
  • Member service systems
  • Marketing systems

The list goes on and is almost infinite and the more things you can systemize (without losing quality) the greater your chances of success as you free yourself up for strategic decision-making and action steps.

However, I’ve recently noticed a common trend amongst Fit Pro’s who create training systems that simply don’t work.

The problem is not that the programs and methods aren’t sound and effective, but that when it comes to handing them over to clients, there is a huge gap between what the client is ready for and what the system requires to produce results.

This can become more of an issue the more knowledge you gain, as the systems tend to become more complex because you don’t want to leave anything out.

The tendency is to take on a new client and then plot how you are going to get them to fully implement your system as soon as possible.

Throw in calorie and macro-based nutrition cycling, some mindset work and daily meditation and the odds are that your client is simply going to pack it all in because they are unable to follow the system and will ‘wait for a better time’ (which we know never comes).

My suggestion to you today is to stop trying to pull people into your perfect system and start meeting them where they are at.

Rather than coaching from where you want them to be, coach from where they are.

Two key questions will help you position this:

  1. What are you currently doing?
  2. Of (these key steps), what do you know you can 100%, definitely implement this week?

Now you are coaching by guiding the person in the right direction but allowing them to move along the path at a comfortable and manageable pace, rather than forced motivation which we know to be limited to a few weeks.

By knowing what they are currently doing, you can use it as a framework with slight adaptations to make it better – this will mean fewer dramatic changes which can cause more harm than good.

If they are currently walking three times a week, you can alter what they do with this time to be more effective for fat loss.

If they currently eat twice per day, you can make these meals better then move them to three meals per day over time.

A good place to start is to give your clients ten things that will make a big difference to their energy and body fat and let them choose five from the menu for Week 1 and 2.

Remember, they are telling you (not the other way round) what steps they are going to take so it feels less like ‘homework’ and being told to do something.

  1. Drink 1.5 litres of water per day
  2. Eat protein at every meal
  3. Eat vegetables at two meals per day
  4. Get to bed at 10.30 every day
  5. Exercise for 3 x 30 minutes (you design some basic sessions that you know can be completed)
  6. Cut out sugar
  7. Cut out alcohol
  8. Perform 10 minutes of deep nasal breathing ever day when stressed
  9. Go for a 60 minute walk in the fresh air
  10. Avoid stressful situations/arguments

If you can get your client to implement all ten over 6 weeks of habit formation, you will have a healthier, leaner, more energetic client and they will be loving the results.

You will see at this point we don’t need to go into anything in any great detail and by letting them choose the things they are more confident at succeeding with we increase buy-in and get the client some quick wins.

These wins are very important at first because so many people come to fitness professionals for help feeling low on confidence, doubting what they are capable and hating on themselves.

When you give people fifty things to do then have to keep saying “Oh okay well let’s not bother with that for now” the person starts to feel like they are letting themselves and you down by constantly ‘failing’.

Sure you will get clients who do really well and ask to move forward faster.

Great! Go for it provided they can GUARANTEE they can complete the extra action steps.

You will also find that your job becomes much easier and can be done much faster. You won’t find yourself spending hours creating an amazingly detailed program only to have to strip it all down after Day 3!

Make life easy for you and your client and your results will actually be better.

Install habits before structure and you will achieve much, much better results in the long-term as well as keeping clients for longer as you keep unravelling the journey in front of them.

As soon as a habit is formed such as hitting the gym 3 x 30 minutes for a full body workout you can start to add more structure with your wizard like program design skills.

Don’t be in a rush to give your clients everything because you want them to perceive extremely high value.

The value is in the enjoyment, simplicity and results of the advice you give, not the volume of tasks and complexity to show off that you know more than other trainers!