You will find, and maybe have already found, that many clients who come your way don’t know how to train at their full capacity.
Until the recent rise in popularity of interval training, the goal of a group fitness class was to just survive the workout. So participants got in the habit of pacing themselves at about 60-70% to get through the workout.
This is fine if the workout is more endurance focused, but when doing interval training it means your clients won’t get the most out of the workout.
Usually the first sign that a client is not going at their 100% during an interval is when they complain that the rest periods feel way too long. A common mistake I see trainers make when this happens is to react by shortening the rest breaks. But all this does it turn your interval workout into an endurance workout.
Instead, I want to encourage you to teach clients what it feels like to work at their full capacity.
Teach them the difference between working out at 60-70% and working out at 100%.
This may be really uncomfortable for them as they may not have gone 100% at anything in their lives for a long time, so be gentle and follow these two steps:
Step 1: Start with education
After the warm up, as you are about to explain the day’s main drill, tell your clients that this workout is going to be an interval workout which means that they need to work as hard as they possibly can during the work parts, but that they will get plenty of time to rest in between.
Also mention that if the rest breaks feel too long then they are probably not pushing themselves hard enough during the work periods so they need to try and work a bit harder during the next interval.
Step 2: Set the pace
Throughout the workout don’t just watch the stop watch. Keep encouraging your clients to push themselves during the work periods, even if you feel like you are sounding like a broken record.
Jump in with a client who isn’t pushing themselves hard enough and set the pace you think they should be going at by doing the exercise with them. This is a great way to help clients feel the difference between pacing themselves and pushing themselves.
You may find that for some fitter clients that the rest breaks do seem too long. If this happens give them a more difficult version of the exercise for the next interval.
Not all clients will ‘get it’ right away but persevere. By teaching your clients how to do interval training properly they’ll get a lot more out of it and most likely come to enjoy the workouts a lot more too.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.