How to Balance A Client’s Needs & Wants [3 Steps]

James FitzGerald’s Weekly AMA: Balancing a Client’s Needs & Wants

As coaches, it is our job to make sure we align our clients with what they need to do for fitness. But novice coaches can find themselves balancing what a client needs with what a client wants. But, this is not a best practice and in this weeks Ask Me Anything sneak peek, James FitzGerald, tackles this head-on by answering the question of “how do you balance giving a client what they want with what they need?”

Your Clients Are Already Brainwashed

As James mentions in this video before you even see your clients most have already been influenced by many years of fitness propaganda. “While most clients have a good motivation for doing fitness they typically view it as a ‘fix’” says James. Because of this clients typically gravitate towards fitness that does not necessarily align with their long term goals or health.

How to Get Your Clients Closer to The Ideal

Here are the 3 steps James recommends using to get your clients fitness “wants” closer to their ideal fitness “needs”.


1) Have An Ideal – You must first understand what an ideal balance of exercise and lifestyle looks like in your mind. For James, it’s the OPEX Basic Lifestyle Guidelines (BLGs). Learn the BLGs for yourself here.

Example: An ideal would be a client that exercises three times a week because that is sustainable for months and years on end, supports their exercise program with a healthy lifestyle and spends their ‘off’ days connecting with their family actively outdoors.


2) Educate Your Client – Once you have your own ideal for what clients “need” you should then educate the client why your plan will get them closer to their goals. Don’t lecture them but instead purpose the ideal with the rationale behind it.

Example: What about instead of training six days a week and having to take a week off every month because you’re so tired, you train four days a week for a month straight? If you are in this for the long haul let’s develop something sustainable.


3) Work In A One-On-One Setting – The best way to educate a client on your fitness ideals is to work with them in a one-on-one setting. This is why we prefer our Personalized Fitness model. Your programs are only as good as the education you provide along with them.

Example: You educate your client every month on a new behavior that leads them closer to their ideal fitness. You then reaffirm this education weekly when you interact with the client on the floor and in their programming. (This ideal is our reality, learn more about our coaching model here.)


Clients have been influenced by years of fitness marketing and because of this, their perception of fitness may be skewed. It is your job as a coach to bring them as close as you can to their ideal understanding of fitness. Learn how to educate clients through consultations and James’ personal fitness ideal, The BLGs, with The Free 7-Day OPEX Coaching Course. Sign up today and get the education you need to begin impacting your clients for the better.

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