Written by Master Coach, Jade Mckee
As a fitness coach you are likely to be working with a number of general population, or “Gen Pop” clients.When it comes to fitness, ‘Gen Pop clients’ refers to the General Population – those who aren’t athletes, or training for a specific sport.
When you are also working with athletes or competitors on a daily basis, it can be easy to forget that Gen Pop clients are DIFFERENT to your advanced clients.
You will need to consider that Gen Pop clients are dealing with a host of issues that your advanced trainees are not.
These issues can include: chronic stress & fatigue, lack of self-control, ack of self-confidence, they normalise failure because they haven’t yet experienced sustained success, they suffer from excessive body fat that has significant physiological implications and their training age is likely very different.
Keeping these issues in mind are vital to effectively creating training & nutrition programs for your Gen Pop clients!
Here are some of our top tips for effectively coaching Gen Pop clients!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that they are not you! This particular group of clients will often come to you with very limited experience, if any, being in a gym. So everything needs to be kept SIMPLE. When planning their training and nutrition programs you need to keep their experience and current abilities in mind, and of course, their goals! Weight loss is likely to be the most common goal they will come to you for help with – NOT entering a bench press competition, or a local bodybuilding show.
Before getting into training or nutrition, let’s cover one method of tracking Gen Pop’s progress during their time with you. Something you might notice with an overweight client is their reluctance to take their initial progress photos. Whatever their reason for not wanting to provide you with these, that’s totally fine. BUT, make sure you are encouraging them to take the photos ANYWAY, in the comfort of their own home.
Failure to take these initial photos can be a huge regret that clients can have. When they proudly reach their goal THEY know how much of a significant transformation they have made, but don’t have that initial photos to show their loved ones just how much of an EPIC change it was. So encourage them to take those first photos – whether they really want to or not!
SET RULES & A STRUCTURE
To help with both compliance AND with getting results, when it comes to nutrition and your Gen Pop clients – rules and structure are important in the beginning. This is where your client will be learning the basics, and again – this needs to be simple for them to follow. While it might seem obvious to you, your Gen Pop client may not properly understand which foods fit into which category of macronutrients, the portion sizes they should be eating, and exactly WHAT they should be eating. So while having flexibility to eat what you want, and being able to adjust macro targets as needed may sound like a good option to you – this should be saved for your more advanced clients.
When it comes to training – safety comes first. Remember that your Gen Pop client is potentially going to have very LIMITED experience in the gym. Your programming will need to include exercises that they are able to safely complete, reducing their risk of injury, while they spend time learning movement patterns and increasing their confidence. To increase compliance with their training program, giving your client exercises that they ENJOY doing can also help.
Complex movement patterns should be avoided until you are confident your client has mastered the basics, and has the mobility to perform the exercises safely. The cues you use to correct your Gen Pop client’s not-yet-perfect technique will also need to be kept short and simple.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
When it comes to your Gen Pop clients – keep in mind we want to provide them with QUALITY over QUANTITY. Try not to overwhelm them with too much information – just the basics they will need as they begin on their health and fitness journey with you.
It’s worth repeating again: Gen Pop clients are not advanced trainees, so you shouldn’t train them like one! To effectively coach Gen Pop clients, you must first understand them!
If you would like to learn more about how to quickly & safely achieve world leading fat loss coaching results with general population clients, enrol into the Ultimate Program Design Bundle, which includes the Fundamentals of Program Design & the Advanced Program Design online courses!
Fundamentals of Program Design Course. Clean Health Fitness Institute. Accessed 14th August 2020.