General Population vs Athletes

Being involved in high level programs from a young age, I have always had a love for fitness training with continued once I dropped every sport as a 19 year old. Different fro most, my mindset towards training was to really attack it and get the most out of my body. Through working with the general public, I have faced many challenges, including differentiating the goals and mindset of someone looking to be fit and healthy and not expecting them to be training for performance. It is important to differentiate these goals to understand where most of your clients fit in and to challenge them and motivate them accordingly. Some of the main differences are below:

Main goal – being fit and healthy vs performance

There is a very big difference between training to be healthy and training for performance. Being fit may involve 3-5 workouts a week with varying intensities and durations, but usually no longer than 60 minutes. Training for performance can involve 2-3 hour training sessions with weeks of 10-20 hours of training. This approach can be strenuous on both your mind and body and can be seen as unhealthy.

Role of the coach – Motivating vs challenging clients

For sure a coach will always be a motivating factor for their client in most situations. However there is a difference between high fiving and yelling good job amongst a couple sweaty clients and standing next to an athlete demanding more from them as they finish on the ground with little more to give. General public want it to be a fun experience, whereas athletes are more prepared to enter the darker places for results.

Main challenges – Missing sessions vs getting the most out of sessions

The general publics main challenge is turning up to workout consistently. Usually there motivation levels change or go in waves and finding a routine they can stick to can be a way to fix this. On the other hand athletes should have no problems getting to training, and instead the challenge is in the programming for the athlete and getting the most out of each session while allowing enough time for recovery.

Client expectations – Quick results vs following a plan

Clients of the general public, particularly those new or getting back into exercise usually expect quick results. Managing these expectations and setting some long term goals can help with motivation levels and sicking to exercise long term. On the other hand, most athletes will be prepared to have a long term outlook on their goals and making sure they understand the step by step process for them to get their will help them reach their goals.

Approaching members while understanding their differences will save you some headaches and frustrations when your general population members are not performing like the athlete YOU want them to be.


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