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Feedback with 'Client'


Hi fellas:

So an old friend comes to ask me for help about training, nutrition, etc... I even joined the gym he's in 'cause I liked the environment.

He's been training for almost 5 years: 5 7', 160 lbs... love handles, no definition at all, so you get the picture.
He wants to look like Vin Diesel, which I don't consider impossible for anyone, but requires it's due effort.
So I tell him "We'll build a base on you, enough to look noticeable when you cut". He accepted, but other day when we finished the workout I asked him if there was any suggestion, comment, etc... and he told me "I wanna get rid of those love handles and look defined" like telling me he didn't want to put on mass and get straight to the cut. This implies he has no idea what he's talking about.

The problem is evident, and many guys surely will know by reading the second sentence of this post.
Lack of effort; one day we were ramping up on leg curls, trying to making him understand the concept (which I think he hasn't yet), and he got up from 50, then 70, then 90lbs... the next session I didn't tell him anything and started with 40lbs.
Second situation:
I've been pushing him for one month, he started at 150. When he tipped 160 he freaked out thinking he was getting fat, then I told him "What can you expect if someone gets with you in the gym to make you actually train?" he didn't understand and started to say that's not normal.
Third situation:
We were training legs. And suddenly the guy starts telling me about vigorexia, which kinda pissed me off. I wondered why the fuck would a guy who is looking for help complains about my results with vigorexia. That's not an attitude someone gets to the gym with.
Edit(bonus situation):
Was on the cellphone, then headed to do the leg curls while he was talking. Then he passes me this chick on the phone an we started talking. When my set began I purposedly told to the chick "let me hand you my friend, time to lift", but he didn't reply.

When I started to train, I didn't have the idea to search my info on the web, but at least I had some idea of what I was doing. My eating was crap, and outside of the gym I fucked up, but I always had a hunger for challenging myself against the weights everytime I went to the gym. Then I researched on the web, learned a lot, logged and read the forums and learned a lot more, but it wasn't something I had to be told to do, my ambition of having a greater physique made me go through everything I've gone through.

The guy lacks intensity in the gym, willingness to increase his bodybuilding knowledge, and apparently suffers from manorexia.

What would you do to turn this guy from a 160lb skinny-fat frame to a lean 170-180?


Dile que no se marica y que le eche putasos. Seriously, intensity and the mind-muscle connection are things you cannot teach IMO. All you can to do is be a friend and push him to the limit but to a certain point. Nothing would roast my chicken more than having a buddy want to train and have him get in the way of my work.

As for getting him into the 170-180 range, Id get his ass on your basic medium clean bulker. Add 500 cals to his daily diet and wait and see. If he hasn't gained add another 500 and so on until he starts to spill over. Then trim it back and stay there. All the calories in the world won't get him to where he needs to be if he's going to pussyfoot it in the gym. This is where you come in. Don't cut him any slack. Make him do forced reps, "run the rack" drop sets, and generally make him work for his food. Good luck carnal



Personally I think you should drop him, he obviously doesn't have the same goals as you, and doesn't really care to much about building his body, doesn't have any intensity or desire.

Buuuutt, seeing as he's your friend, I don't think you want to do that. I wouldn't. So maybe you should be up front with him about how he's dragging ass. Educate him a little bit about how the body builds muscle (because he comes across as someone who knows jack shit), and tell him that if he doesn't start busting his ass in the gym, he'll never make any changes to his body.


Si we, fue de lo primero que pensé, luego imagínate como entrenan en un país que el bodybuilding no se ha desarrollado tanto.

100% agree, and I think some people just never develop that connection.

this is my plan, the problem with this guy seems to be that he gets scared when he gains 1 kilo, I think "pero si no trae nada como le va a dar miedo subir", but then you have this slim people stereotypes growing at an exponential rate.

finally you're right because I don't think I've put 100% effort on forcing him to train decently, I guess some people like us get masochist in the gym by instinct. Ps ay te digo como sale la cosa.


this is another choice, specially when he told me about vigorexia, he seems to be paying attention to odd stuff.

honestly no, but if he sets himself as an obstacle to my bodybuilding goals I won't think about it twice.

yep, I think I'm gonna introduce some websites (including this) to him.


Is this guy paying you or compensating in some way?

How old is he?


yes, that's another reason I haven't dropped him yet.



just b/c someone is paying you isn't a reason not to drop them.


Good point and agreed. He could be paying me high, but like I said, if he becomes a drawback to my training goals or keeps his emo training I'll kick his ass out.


I wish people would pay me. I feel bad trying to charge my friends.


Find some before after pics of other people that are about his height and weight showing what he could achieve with some dedication in the gym and kitchen.

Yet if no matter what you do fails, dragging him to the gym will just be like another chore/errand and he will drag your progress down.


Good idea, I think he needs a better notion about body comp, weight, muscle mass, proportions, etc... He has no muscle under his belt; no bicep or tricep development, no shape on his delts, no legs, he's light and fat.

I think I'm gonna set a deadline for him regarding progress.


What seems to knock some sense into the people I've had experience with is to ask them if they've been happy with their results. Puts things into perspective.


Thanks bro, I guess this is where my coaching skills are put to the test!


It sounds like he is paying you for something that he wants but you are only willing to train him the way YOU want. Which isn't surprizing when someone tries to get their friends to workout with them - it's going to be your program after all.

Until you make it about him, he isn't going to buy into what you are suggesting and, frankly, why should he? Too many trainers want their clients to be clones of them because they lack the ability to get their clients the results their clients are looking for.

Be honest with yourself here and make the call if you are able and WILLING to put the effort into him. He's after something you aren't and until you see his goals as important you're just going to be going through the motions.

The question you are asking isn't about your clients motivation or lack of it, it's about your motivation. Start looking for the answer there.


A few things... (The picture will make sense in a second or two.)

Due effort... like growing five inches taller? The dude in the picture above is Rousimar Palhares. He's 5'8", 185 pounds. See what your buddy thinks of his build, since he's much more similar in height.

Did you actually explain anything to him, or just shake your head in annoyance? Remind him that as he adds muscle, his body composition will shift the way he wants.

...after already doing your squats, deadlifts, and/or lunges, I'm sure.

If he added 10 pounds in one month, then he is getting fat. Are you giving him any guidance as to nutrition?

Explain to him that, for now, he can either lose the love handles (a short-term goal) or he can start on the path to looking like Vin Diesel or Palhares (a long term goal). He's got to pick one or the other, but if you're going to keep helping him, then you've got to accept his choice and not try to persuade him otherwise.


Another look at 5'8", 185 pound Palhares (on the right). His nickname "Toquinho" supposedly means "tree stump." Should we guess why?


aren't most coaching guys like this?


I made his own program and will be adding modifications according to it, not mine. Man, I don't want him to be like me, why would I?

this is something I maybe don't know because I don't know myself as a coach.

bro the client has to be motivated too, I'm not gonna move the weights for him.


thanks for the pics.

I told him it would be better for him to build a muscular base before he cuts, because the contrary would result in unsatisfactory results.

After two pressing movements and leg extensions. What are you trying to say?

yes. Other thing is that he told me his weight about 1 month ago, so in this case I couldn't tell as a fact if he weighed 150. So other thing you can't tell as a fact is that he is getting fat.

I would prefer to help him gain muscle, but you're right; he won't be motivated if it's not the goal he wants, and it's not my body LOL.


aren't most coaching guys like this?

Unfortunately yes but that doesn't excuse them for it.

I made his own program and will be adding modifications according to it, not mine. Man, I don't want him to be like me, why would I?

Sorry, your phasing in the original post made me believe you were working out together "one day we were ramping up on leg curls, trying to making him understand the concept (which I think he hasn't yet), and he got up from 50, then 70, then 90lbs..."

this is something I maybe don't know because I don't know myself as a coach.

He wants fat loss first and muscles second. Dispite what you and what other people may think about his goals, they are very important to him so you need to find a way to make them happen. If he wants to be a shredded 130 lb guy so be it. While I don't share his goal, I know that if you help him achieve the imo look you mention, he will trust you completely and will do whatever you tell him. That`s the thing with clients, help them achieve something they really want and you have them forever.

bro the client has to be motivated too, I'm not gonna move the weights for him.

Sorry, I don't accept this from strength coaches who collect money from clients. YOU have to find the way to motivate HIM or fire him as a client. If he had the motivation he wouldn't need you. He's paying some of his money for your knowledge and most of it for your ability to get him to do what he is unwilling to do. That's the hard truth about personal training and strength coaching - most of the people you work with NEED someone to do it for them because they can't do it.