Personal Training: 5 Top Tips To Help Your Clients Stay On Track While On Vacation
I live the majority of my life on vacation … OK, don’t hate me … it’s not as easy as it sounds! There are some downsides or ‘traps’ even the most dedicated clients will probably fall into once they go off their regular daily schedule. How to relax, stay fit and healthy, when almost all meals are either out, or in the case of social/family vacations, filled with consistent eating and multiple temptation, is very challenging.
According to Michael Olzinski, a coach for the elite and international endurance program purplepatch fitness, the state of deconditioning is very simply the fitness of the human body losing specificity. It is a decrease in function of the nervous, musculoskeletal, and cardiopulmonary systems that will vary significantly based on a person’s fitness level and background. Olzinski, who has learned alongside seasoned triathlon super-coach Matt Dixon, believes that everyone needs to take breaks from heavy routines for up to 3 weeks, and twice in a year. However, the actual definition of those breaks will vary based on the athlete, and they never recommend laying on a couch and eating potato chips all day long. There should still be a level of exercise and activity, but it can be fun, social, short in duration and low in intensity.
If your client doesn’t have one already, now is a good time for them to invest in a fitness tracker. Consumer Reports has solid reviews www.consumerreports.org that also explain how they work and what they do. Using the tracker prior to the trip will help work out any kinks that the client might have including pairing issues. Keep the goals simple and achievable so not to stress or guilt the client; remember they want to please you.
When a tracker is not in the budget, the App MyFitnessPal is an easy one to navigate and can also be used as a dietary tracker. My Tri Coach friends use this App for their Ironman athletes for diet alone. For a client that is going on an athletic type vacation such as a hiking or a biking trip the App AthlEats is my new fav for nutritional tracking.
Book Them a Workout
Almost all resorts and most hotels have a small workout area. Some are amazing, some not so much … but if you go to the hotel website it should be listed with pictures. If there isn’t one, or the picture looks like some 80’s universal throwback, Google ‘fitness’ and see what comes up. Usually tons of really cool options which can be cross referenced via Google Maps.
You can map your clients commute (great way to sight-see and work towards those 10,000 steps) or thankfully Uber it if it looks complicated or time consuming. It seems like everyone is on MindBody these days, so from there you can actually book your client into a class or training session. Note to self, this is a GREAT opportunity to network and learn, email the studio or Fitness Manager, introduce yourself and let them know you are sending them a great client. The instructor will be able to learn about your client ahead of time (make sure the client OKs this of course; privacy is priority). This will create a personal connection to the instructor both for you and the client. It’s the best way to increase your social network plus it’s super-good Karma–give (business) and thou shall receive. Got to love networking!
Keep In Touch
Sometimes a vacation is about visiting family, which can be wonderful and stressful at the same time. Having some private time with a family member such as a ‘walk and talk’ is a great excuse for an hour of semi-alone time. First thing in the morning is usually the easiest before the whole house is up. Setting a time for a ‘coaches call’ (or texting your client to remind them it’s time to exercise) can help them get outside for their walk, especially if they are finding it challenging to break away and end up losing that ‘window’ so to speak (my biggest challenge).
Diet is the elephant in the room here. We all know it is really really hard to eat healthy when you don’t have much control over the food timing or choices. The internet has helped change that a bit. Almost all restaurants have websites with the menu posted. Encourage your client to look at the food options ahead of time to help prevent bad decisions, skip the bread basket (one I need to work on) and drink as much water as possible.
I am always the designated driver when we travel so I won’t be tempted to drink. As much as alcohol is nice when you don’t have to get up for work the next day it can be a major sabotage in a plan to stay fit and healthy. Hotels tend to over-climate control, plus the dryness of a plane and a few cocktails will leave them dehydrated and feeling funky the next day. And we haven’t even added jet lag, if that’s part of the equation. Have them contact the hotel and request a humidifier, it really helps.
Here’s a trick from the professional athletes who need to perform at their best when on the road and changing time zones: eat your meals at the same time that you do at home. For example, if dinner is at 6pm eastern time, then when you get to, say, Hawaii (which is 6 hours behind) eat dinner at 6pm Hawaiian time. Do the same with your sleeping pattern, if you need to take a mini nap, be sure it’s a mini nap not a full on snooze fest. Try and stay away from the electronics at least an hour before bed. A little off the grid time will do the client good.
Coaching and online training is getting a ton of buzz. If virtual training is something that interests you at all, there’s no better time to try it out then with the traveling client. If you don’t want to do a live virtual training, start simple. Use your smart phone or tablet and an inexpensive base to hold it in place. Record a few easy training sessions that require minor if any equipment that will be familiar to the client. You can post it to the client daily and check in to see how it’s going by a simple text. Here’s the question you may be thinking. Can I charge and how much? For what it’s worth, I say yes. Three 20 minute sessions are the same as an hour session. So I’d consider that a full session and take it out of the package making sure the client is aware. When they pay, these sessions are more likely to take it seriously and not just blow it off. If you are not comfortable with that, I totally understand. There are also exercises sites that post all kinds of stuff for free. But it’s not the same as you taking the time to set up a workout specifically for the client. This may be the number one tool to keeping your client on track and has great value so don’t overlook it. Just saying.
About the Author
Deborah Beck is a six time Ironman athlete, coach and personal trainer. For over 25 years she has combined her love of sports and fitness with her passion for travel and adventure. Her early work as a Fitness Director moved her throughout Asia, the Middle East and the UK. She holds multiple certifications and is currently working towards her 500 hour Yoga Medicine. Her training philosophy incorporates Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic and strength to produce a balanced, unique approach to high endurance training. This fall she is launching a global training and lifestyle company and online community. When not traveling, she splits her time between Quogue NY and Telluride Colorado.