Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-This Is Why I Do What I Do-

I love talking about my clients!  Expect to be hearing more about them.  I love bragging about them and sharing, with permission, what they feel comfortable with telling you.  My clients are REAL people.  I don’t train any professional athletes or celebrities.  I train “general population” clients, which I believe is more of a challenge than training athletes.  I’ve brought this up before in forum discussions.  My reasoning?  General population clients have a million other things going on in their lives.  Athletes, although they are also handling a gazillion things in their lives, are more focused on their physical goals & their sport is very important to them.  My opinion may ruffle a few feathers but i’ll stand behind it any day.

Trainers, who do you think is easier to train & progress?  A high school basketball player with boundless energy and scholarship dreams on the line or a 40-something housewife who hates exercise and spends most of her time driving back and forth picking up kids from school, practice, parties, etc?  I have trained athletes in the past, and enjoy doing so.  I would like to work with more athletes, so please don’t take this as me saying “I don’t want to train athletes!” lol 🙂

I love working with all sorts of people, and to be honest, I get extra excited when I get my hands on a former athlete/dancer.  Those who have done a lot of work with their bodies have a knack for exercise!  They are already a step ahead of someone who has never had to be that aware of their movement.  Dancers are my favorite!  Every former dancer that i’ve trained has been not only awesome at picking up complex exercises, but very attentive to details & instruction as well.

With that being said, I wanted to share something my client Kay sent to me in an email this afternoon.  As i’ve mentioned before, Kay has been training with me since January of this year.  She has come a long way in half a year, and i’m extremely proud of her.  Kay is one of my clients who does not have an athletic background, therefore she’s been learning to be “present” in her body.  She’s become more coordinated and continues to surprise herself with her newfangled abilities!  Here’s what she had to say regarding getting back on track and the importance of working with a trainer:

“It is hard, but life is a challenge! You are so right …this client could never have gotten to where I am “on her own”…lack of knowledge, motivation, stamina (initially), lack of knowledge, fear, lack of insight, lack of knowledge, no guidance… I am where I am now BECAUSE of MY trainer! and myself!   I know the diet is a challenge and it is difficult but again, I thank you, I thank you!!”


6 responses

  1. great post sarah! Right with you the many and varied challenges of training ‘general population’ clients is often overlooked. You have made some great points about the difficulty of getting those who find exercise a chore to become more active and give wellbeing a bit more me a higher priority in life.

    Best thing about general population clients is that in working with them you truely have the ability to change lives!

    Tom godwin
    Foresight personal training

    June 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    • Hey Tom!

      Thank you! I stand behind my points! I would LOVE to be given a handful of high school athletes…omg…piece of cake! Of course, there may be a few “highly demanding soccer moms” in the picture, but I can handle ’em! 😉

      Gen. pop. clients are where it’s at. EVERYONE can use us! EVERYONE needs us! You’re right – we’re changing lives, and the opportunities are endless! Think about it – when you get to know your clients, and you know what makes them “tick,” you can do so much! If (in my case, because I go to clients’ homes) I arrive for an appointment and can tell that my client has had a stressful day, i’m able to tap into their psyche a bit and think on my feet, modifying the workout as need be to alleviate some of this stress. I feel that many of my clients view our sessions as an “escape” from the everyday. They look forward to them and this is motivating for me! I’m sure you feel the same!

      Yours in Health,

      June 27, 2009 at 12:12 pm

  2. I think you already know I agree with you 150% Working with athletes can present its own set of challenges; many of them have misconceptions about what constitutes effective, appropriate training for their sport, and many of them have muscle imbalances due to the demands of their sport that need to be corrected before they can make real progress. Sometimes it can be tough to persuade them they need to take a few steps back before they can move ahead!

    But, as you say, athletes have much greater body awareness than the general population, and they don’t need to be sold on the effectiveness of exercise. They tend to be extremely motivated; in fact, sometimes the biggest challenge with an athlete is persuading him or her to back off and take a rest day! With general population clients, they’re often only semi-motivated and it can be a struggle to get them to stay on program long enough to start experiencing results! But once they make that connection, woohoo! That’s the magic moment for me, when they start to believe in the program and believe in themselves.

    June 27, 2009 at 10:49 am

    • Hey Laura!

      GREAT points, as usual! You are very right. I actually hadn’t thought about the fact that many athletes, because they are driven individuals, may take some coaxing to bring things down a notch prior to advancing their program. 🙂

      It IS magic! Isn’t it awesome how you finally reach a turning point with a client, and it’s like the world is their oyster? Heck, the world is your oyster as well, as the trainer. It’s like everything just seems to fall into place and workouts go like clockwork. The best is when you have a client who is a type A personality, and wants to be in control of everything. I’ve found that the best answer in this case is for me to bend a bit, but not too much. You can’t give them too much control, but you give some away in order to keep them going. Eventually it works out, and i’ve had a few who FINALLY let go of the reins and let me have ’em! GREAT feeling! I love it when clients discover more about themselves! It’s never too late!

      Have a great weekend!

      June 27, 2009 at 12:17 pm

  3. Tess

    I have been working with some post-rehab folks and some individuals who are just entering the fitness world as a result of doctors orders. In some cases the stakes are higher for them and the fulfillment they receive is just overwhelming. I am happy with working with the average joe as long as they have the determination and excitement to work hard.
    The problem I run into with Gen pop peeps is that they “generally” feel that by throwing money at the problem it will just get better.
    I love what I do and I love having such an intimate/private role in my clients’ growth, whoever they may be.
    I appreciate the perspective to look again at the big picture.

    June 27, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    • Hey Tess!
      Post-rehab is awesome b/c, like you said, the fulfillment they get from “getting back to normal” is unparalleled. I love working with people who have issues (physical, obviously, lol) because through SIMPLE stuff, we’re able to show them it CAN be done and they WILL improve! So many people assume back pain is just the way it is. I used to be one of those types. Gymnastics messed up my back and then overtraining and not incorporating proper stretching/corrective exercises into my workouts for years meant nonstop pain. Pain = depression…as you probably know, there IS a link! So many people live with daily back pain and it sucks! So, to be able to help alleviate this means a ton! It means we’re able to give these people some of their life back! 🙂

      You are right – a lot of people think that by paying us, it takes care of the problem. BIG WRONG! I mean, if by paying a trainer it gets someone moving, then great…but they must realize that they have to do the work!

      Good luck with that wetsuit! When are you trying it out?

      Yours in Health,

      June 28, 2009 at 10:23 am

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