August 9, 2022

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Why “If I Can Do It, You Can Do It” Is One of The Worst Things You Can Say to Your Clients

“If I can do it, you can do it.”

You’ve heard that health recommendation. Maybe you’ve even mentioned the phrases your self.

(Sheepishly raises hand.)

And it’s time for this cliché to finish.

Especially relating to health, diet, and well being.

Because more often than not: 

It’s not true. 

Just as a result of you can do one thing doesn’t imply another person can do it.

More importantly, this phrase backfires, making individuals really feel worse than earlier than.

Here’s why, and the health recommendation you may need to provide as an alternative.


When we use this health recommendation, we normally have one of the best of intentions.

Maybe we’re making an attempt to narrate to a consumer: “Hey, I’ve been there!”

Or maybe we’ve felt impressed by any variety of information tales. Think: Blind man climbs Everest.

But there’s an issue.

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No two individuals are precisely the identical.

We may, as coaches, assume we’re evaluating apples (our life) to apples (our consumer’s life). But extra possible, our consumer is aware of they’re an orange… and feels misunderstood and alienated—normally for one (or all) of the next causes.

#1: Someone’s background impacts their well being.

Things like the place we’re born, how we grew up, and what we do for work form how we eat, transfer, and reside. They additionally have an effect on our capacity to vary for the higher.

Technically, these elements are referred to as social determinants of well being. And they’ll affect us positively or negatively.

Examples of social determinants embrace:

  • Income
  • Education
  • Job stability
  • Work circumstances
  • Food entry and safety
  • Housing and atmosphere
  • Early childhood improvement
  • Social group
  • Neighborhood atmosphere
  • Access to reasonably priced and high-quality well being care

Social determinants might be extra necessary than way of life selections in influencing well being, based on the World Health Organization.

Here’s how this will play out with purchasers.

You inform somebody to hit the health club. If you may muster the trouble to get to the health club on a busy schedule, so can your consumer, proper?

Well no, not essentially.

Especially in the event that they work lengthy hours and don’t have childcare.

Or perhaps you counsel “more veggies” to a digital consumer.

You don’t like veggies both, you say, but when you can discover a option to eat them, your consumer can absolutely determine it out. Except, your consumer lives with their mother-in-law who cooks all of their principal meals, which have a tendency to incorporate few veggies. In your consumer’s residence, everybody thanks the prepare dinner, whether or not they just like the meals or not.

Does your consumer have some choices? Sure—however not as many as somebody who has extra management over their dinner plate.

There are 1000’s of how social determinants of well being could make what’s doable for you (with some exhausting work) straight up unattainable (or a complete lot tougher) for another person. Some social determinants of well being are actually exhausting to acknowledge—particularly for those who haven’t walked in that individual’s footwear. So heed this common rule of thumb: Don’t make assumptions.

#2: Every individual’s physique is exclusive.

Let’s assume you and your consumer have the identical social circumstances.

Is it okay to say “if I can do it, you can do it?”

Spoiler alert: Nope.

Because genetics additionally play a job. 

Say you’re an individual who places on muscle simply. For you, sustaining a lean, athletic physique means working exhausting within the health club and protecting an in depth eye in your diet.

Of course, these two issues require effort. Maybe a variety of effort.

But an individual who has a tougher time constructing muscle, and tends to retailer fats round their center because of their genes?

They’re not going to get the identical outcomes as you—even when they eat and train precisely the identical means. Those are the genetic playing cards they’ve been dealt.

So no—they’ll’t “do it” simply because you may.

#3: Some individuals are luckier than others.

Most individuals who’ve labored exhausting to get the place they’re don’t need to admit that the universe might need helped them out a bit.

Imagine this: You’re an athlete competing on the CrossFit Games.

The last exercise—the one which decides who’ll win—occurs to be deadlift-focused, one thing you’re particularly nice at. (If it’d been snatches, it’d be a very totally different scenario.)

When you win the CrossFit Games after that last exercise, it doesn’t imply you haven’t labored exhausting. But did you additionally profit from the luck of the draw? Yup.

Perhaps a extra relatable instance: Maybe you met a coach or pal—simply as you’re able to make a change—who revolutionizes how you consider diet and health. And that units you down the trail to a more healthy way of life.

In an alternate universe, the place you didn’t meet that tremendous coach on the proper time, it would’ve taken you a complete longer to get the place you’re right this moment.

The level: Don’t low cost the “right place, right time” impact.

3 higher methods to assist your purchasers

Use all three collectively—or choose what works greatest in a given dialog.

1. Use restricted relatability.

Say somebody’s going via a divorce, and their coach has been via one, too. It might be tempting to supply recommendation like:

“I know this is a hard time for you. My divorce was brutal! But I managed to stay on top of my nutrition while going through mine, so I know you can do it.”


There’s a greater means to make use of the experiences you could have in frequent with a consumer, with out making assumptions about their scenario.

It’s referred to as restricted relatability, which helps you relate, whereas additionally permitting your consumer to really feel heard and perceive.

To grasp the approach, use this easy two-step system.

Share your expertise: “I know what [fill in the blank] looks like for me.”
Get interested in your consumer’s expertise by asking an open-ended query: What does it appear to be for you?”

Translated to a real-life teaching dialog, you may say one thing like:

“That sounds tough. When I was struggling with binge eating, I felt so powerless and frustrated. What are you feeling in this moment?”

2. Notice and title the intense spot.

This technique is all about taking a second to understand and applaud what your consumer has simply shared.

You may say:

“You know what? It actually takes pretty amazing self-awareness to identify and acknowledge that this is a barrier for you right now. What does it feel like to have such a firm grasp on your situation?”

Or perhaps:

“We can talk problem-solving in a second, but before we do that, I want to pause and tell you that it’s amazing you’ve pinpointed this as an issue. I don’t know if you’d have been able to do that six months ago!”

This might be actually efficient as a result of the consumer isn’t anticipating to pause. They’re anticipating methods to maneuver ahead. You’re giving them a second to cease, take inventory, and mirror on their awesomeness earlier than taking motion.

3. Inspire them with their very own accomplishments.

Let’s say your consumer’s apprehensive concerning the thought of shutting down earlier to get extra sleep.

Instead of that outdated “if I can do it, you can do it” recommendation, attempt highlighting their previous accomplishments. That may sound like:

“You know what? You actually told me this exact same thing a couple of months ago about going to the gym. And now you’re going regularly! We can talk about specific strategies to make going to bed earlier more doable, but also, remember how far you’ve come.”

Basically, as an alternative of claiming “if I can do it, you can do it,” you’re saying, “if you can do this one thing, you can do this other thing!”

You’re exhibiting them that you simply see their exhausting work.

And most significantly, due to that onerous work, you imagine in them.

When you utilize the above methods along with your purchasers, you’ll accomplish one thing that the phrase “If I can do it, so can you” simply can’t:

You’ll assist them really feel heard, seen, and valued.

That’ll go a good distance in direction of strengthening your relationship—and finally assist your purchasers get higher outcomes.

If you’re a coach, otherwise you need to be…

Learning learn how to coach purchasers, sufferers, associates, or relations via wholesome consuming and way of life modifications—in a means that’s personalised for his or her distinctive physique, preferences, and circumstances—is each an artwork and a science.

If you’d wish to study extra about each, contemplate the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

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