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Trainer Q&A: Holiday Tips and Getting Out of the Comfort Zone

Trainer Q&A: Holiday Tips and Getting Out of the Comfort Zone

DJ Manley Merritt Clubs DAC.jpgWe’re back with another installment to the Q&A series with our trainers. This month we chatted with DJ Manley from the Downtown Club and asked for some tips on how to stay healthy and fit during the holidays, as well as how to build that trainer-client trust.

It’s that time of the year – Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Any tips on how to eat healthy during this time or how to burn off those holiday calories?

Basically, with my clients I say with holidays like Thanksgiving, you want to try to be as consistent as possible to not lose your routine. So whenever you’re eating, have portion control. And just don’t overdo it as much as possible.

But at the same time, you still kind of want to enjoy the holiday because if people are miserable and they’re really, really trying to watch what they’re putting in their body, it might lead later on to them overeating or just not feeling normal.

Try to be active in the morning, or before or after the meal, or get back to your routine the day after. So that way it’s not like you completely fell off the wagon. But I would encourage portion control and I tell people to kind of enjoy themselves a little bit on that day too. It usually has better effects.

How long have you been a trainer? What got you started in this?

I’ve been with Merritt for about 6 years. My degree was in Kinesiology and Business Administration so it was kind of an easy transition. I always played sports growing up and I always enjoyed working out so it’s kind of an easy transition after school. It’s not necessarily the easiest profession to start in but once you build a clientele and once you have a consistent amount of clients, it gets better. I love what I do. 

Your training philosophy is, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” How do you motivate clients using this mentality?

One of the best parts and one of the most fun parts of this job for me is getting people to get out of their comfort zone. So a lot of times with our sessions, we spend time working on aspects of exercise or talking about nutrition that they aren’t comfortable with. So if someone does not like pushing the sled or the tank or someone does not enjoy doing burpees or core exercise, a lot of times our session is to go over form and to push them into kind of a threshold that they wouldn’t go by themselves.

I give them exercises that are safe and that they can complete pretty regularly by themselves. But when we work out, we kind of do things that are a little bit harder or do some things that they wouldn’t normally do on their own.

So by using that method or that theory, usually what you don’t like is what’s best for you. So if you don’t like foam rolling or if you don’t like stretching, that means that you probably need to do it more. For me, when I work out by myself, an area that I kind of lack a little bit is the stretching and the foam rolling. I hate them. But it means I probably just need to do these more. So finding those areas where someone isn’t comfortable is one of the main things as a trainer you need to make sure you do.

DJ Manley training Ike Rasbury.jpg

 DJ training long-time member Ike Rasbury

How do you build that trust between you and a client and what gets them to keep coming back for more sessions?

A lot of my clients I’ve had since I’ve started. People will come in and out or they’ll take time off. But the big part of the trust is just being consistent. Holding people accountable for their sessions and their workouts on their own, making sure that I’m here and that I’m on time as best as possible. Because one knock that a lot of people in the fitness industry get is that they didn’t show up, they were late, they were on their phones or they weren’t paying attention.

So to break that bad image that sometimes people have of trainers. To make sure that you’re giving them your undivided attention. That you’re not talking to other members, if possible – people may interrupt you and you have to do the best that you can. Just being consistently there for someone. Even if you send them a text to make sure they come in on their own. You have to do something to set yourself apart from other people.

Or from a person just not having an app on their phone, you have to hold them accountable. Sometimes what people really need is someone who cares if they come to the gym. They need someone to be upset if they miss their workout, they need someone to be upset if they eat an entire cake instead of a slice. And I’m not actually really mad but you kind of just give them a little bit of a guilt trip to make them work a little bit harder.

Like I said, people just need someone who cares. They want to share their goals with you. They want you to be excited if they hit a goal or they hit a milestone or they run a race or they do a competition.

So outside of the exercise part just being consistent and always being there for someone is a big part of building that trust. It goes back to what I said before too, a lot of times you have to get them to do something they’re not gonna be comfortable doing. So if they don’t trust you they’re not gonna do it.

To learn more about DJ’s expertise and credentials, visit his trainer bio page.