Rant – Why Punishing Poor Results Will Fail

Punishment will not get you better results.

“Hey guys, weigh in day for the challenge, make sure if your clients didn’t lose weight that they are punished with an extra cardio sessions next week.”

A real text from a club manager to the gym’s trainers I was told about recently.

Where to even start, it honestly takes everything I have not to name and shame this person for such ignorant, dangerous and simply money hungry behavior.

Referring back to our “how to interpret girth measurements” blog, you’ll remember us saying the best result in terms of improving body composition is reducing measurements (particularly waist) and weight remaining stable, even increasing, or only dropping slightly. We say that because it means you have reduced body fat and built lean/maintained muscle (for further explanation). So we know from a physiological stand point, the approach is wrong.

The gym manager is clearly searching for weight loss number to advertise their next challenge promoting the number of kg’s lost with no regard to how long it stays off.

What is far more damaging is the physiological impact of such a mentality.
“You didn’t lose weight, you failed, you’re not working hard enough”, imagine what hearing that from a trainer does to someone’s confidence. The person in your corner, the one that’s supposed to be there to support you, help you achieve your goals, the person you’ve put in charge of your health and fitness and who’s promised a result. To hear them say you’ve failed and as punishment you must perform cardio, what must go through your mind.

The likely hood of the client now developing a poor relationship with the gym, nutrition and cardio is drastically increased.

Here is the questions a good trainer should be asking.
– What do the measurements say (not the scales)
if the scales show weight gain continue;
– If female, what stage of the menstrual cycle is the client
If within a few days of her period, continue;

After ruling out the above, if it shows to be a true gain in fat then it’s time to investigate why.
– How many workouts of the program did you complete,
– How was your nutrition, based on the structure given by the trainer on nutrition review the data provided by the client
– Enquirer about external stress, work, home, sleep etc.
When the issue is found the next step is to establish why.
If adherence is the issue, the trainer and client need to establish whether the program is realistic, if so, what can the client do differently the following week to be more adherent? This process may take weeks or months of revisiting to allow the client to make small changes gradually to ensure the changes stick.

If adherence is good, then the trainer needs to intelligently change the program (nutrition or training)

The take home message is, if you trainer, friends, gym or ANYONE, suggests punishment workouts of any kind. Remove them from your support circle immediately.

Ensure you and your trainer are working together on your holds and building on something that is going to provide long-term structure for permanent change, not to get a flashy result so they can put you on a poster.