When working with a client, setting goals is an important step in helping the client achieve the overall results they want. “Overall” meaning the end goal they have in mind. Most clients when deciding to work out for the first time may have an end goal of losing 50 pounds. Others may have an end goal of gaining 30 pounds of muscle. Still others may want to get their diabetes in check. Whatever the end goal is, clients need to understand it will not happen over night. Instead, they should keep their end goal in mind and shoot for smaller, more attainable goals, that will ultimately lead them to their end goal.
When setting goals the clients age, fitness level, health history and physical/psychological tolerance and maturity should all be taken into consideration. Time frame is another important factor. If you set client goals at a time frame that is too unrealistic for the client to accomplish, they may either psychologically or physically become injured. Both of which can lead to a more difficult path for the client in obtaining their desired end result.
The last part to setting appropriate goals is making sure the goals are testable. Tests such as a vertical high jump is a great way to objectively see whether or not the client is obtaining their goals, or if you need to go back to the drawing board and re-work their routine.
Keep in mind when first speaking with a client, they may have completely unrealistic goals in mind. This can be due our “I want it now” societal mind set in addition to the way some health and fitness companies try to sell their next big break through weight loss product. People are bombarded with images of losing pounds of weight in only a few days, or gaining pounds of muscle in a week. When speaking with a client about their goals, be sure to explain to them (with specific physiological examples) why certain goals may be unrealistic, but that setting smaller goals can still help them attain their overall results.