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Impacting Client Well BE-ing

goals wellbeing wifa vox Oct 16, 2023

Impacting Client Well BE-ing

The COVID pandemic has made more people increasingly aware of their sense of wellbeing or lack of it. In the fitness industry our training defines the scope of our work with clients. The idea of wellbeing or wellness has many facets and as health and fitness professionals we may not have incorporated the impact these have on our client’s needs into our methodologies. While wellbeing is not a specific domain within our scope, some of the characteristics are. As practitioners we provide an environment for clients to learn and experience themselves. The path for each client may be different, based on their why and goals, but ultimately their wellbeing and sense of self will be impacted through the process. Impacting their sense of wellbeing may also be a key to improving motivation and maintenance.

What is impact in Relationship to Our Clients and Work? 

Impact is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another” or “having a strong effect on someone or something”. Another definition, offered by Sir Ronald Cohen in his book On Impact: The Guide to the Impact Revolution is “An impact is the measure of an action’s benefit to society and the planet”.  This latter definition applies beautifully to our relationship with our clients. The principles, ethics, techniques and communications we use with clients are an effort to effectively impact them: their fitness, health, self-relationship, and wellness.

Impacting BE-ing or being or Both

This leads to the question of ‘who’ are we working with?  Looking at our client from two perspectives can be helpful.

A client is a BE-ing, meaning they are a unique individual that exists physically.

A client is also being, meaning they have specific behaviors and patterns of behavior that have led them to where they are now.

From this dual perspective there are a number of relevant questions that will be answered through assessments and rapport building. The answers can be expressed in terms of the dimensions of ‘Self/Entity’ (BE-ing) change and/or ‘Activity/State’ (being) change.  What priorities does the client have? What change do they want to create? What is their why?  The answers to these questions will result in program design and goals related to their why.

The Need for Human Wellbeing

Wellbeing is a holistic concept that involves the concept of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states that are positive for the individual. There are multiple models, definitions, and dimensions of wellbeing based on perspective. A review and listing from nine models found in an internet search resulted in the following list of unique characteristics of wellbeing presented in Table 1.

Characteristics of Wellbeing/Wellness







exploration and creativity


finding meaning



lifestyle behaviors/eating/sleeping

meaning and purpose



sense of self


social and social connectedness


stress and resilience


work and play

TABLE 1: Characteristics of Wellbeing

When reviewing the list above, the characteristics are holistic and interrelated. The areas in which a trainer or coach can have direct impact, can easily cascade into many other areas of wellness based on the mindset and goals of a client.

Incorporating Well BE-ing and being

The environment we create as trainers and coaches is generated from our own BE-ing and being. Our energy, self-awareness, communication skills, and approach are the baseline for our client’s experience. Checking in with ourselves, a few key questions will help us: Are we fully present in the moment with our clients? Are we prepared? Have we communicated clearly with the client so they are prepared? Do we have adaptations and contingencies planned for, if they may be needed? If we are working with our clients collaboratively on their program design, the answers will likely be ‘Yes’ to these questions.

Our level of engagement with clients is a part of their motivation. We should have a good understanding of the motivators that will encourage our clients as they make progress so we can leverage them. Incorporating celebrations of ‘wins’ in a way that is meaningful to them can create additional motivation.

Rapport with our clients and the time spent with them in program design can include discussions of wellbeing. The art of program design can be enhanced by connecting the physical and behavioral changes desired, the work to be done, and concepts of wellbeing that may be impacted. Once our clients have some measurable results with progress, a self-check for changes in their sense of wellbeing, may add an additional boost to their motivation.

Client BE-ing and being Focus

Physical movement, resistance and strength training, activities (hiking, walking, biking, etc.), lifestyle, nutrition, mindfulness, breathing are all elements of wellness and within scope depending on our certifications and qualifications.

Reviewing the list of characteristics of wellbeing, we can see that physical movement, training and activities which increase oxygen intake may have an impact on brain, mind, and body. Lifestyle changes in nutrition, eating habits (foods, time, frequency, amount, etc.) will supply better nutrition in correct portions to the brain and body. Mindfulness, breathing, and yoga also impact the circulation, oxygen, thought processes, and flexibility as well as providing increased lymphatic activity. There is the potential to impact nearly everything on the list either directly or indirectly through the client’s efforts. Having ‘wins’ and motivation are critical to continued progress and success.

It can also be seen that use of multiple training modalities adds additional dimensions to the potential cascading effect of program design on wellbeing for our clients. This creates importance for our continued education to be current with our practices and to add additional skills and knowledge to provide quality services. Adding or changing the mix of training modalities as part of program design can keep things fresh and add motivation for our clients.

A great example is working with a client who sets a goal to enhance their physical fitness, and they start to improve. The cascading effect, as shown through research, also improves their thoughts and feelings about themself, and they may suddenly realize that their social life is improving as well.  So the increase in fitness cascades into areas of their life that are indirectly impacted by their efforts. When their activity impacts how they experience their BE-ing, altering their self-image, it can impact their motivation and activity or being by helping to create new habits. It can become part of a continuous cycle of development of BE-ing and being.

It’s not enough to get our clients to their goals. How do we help them stay there? Maintenance is like a mystic cloud, we don’t know how it will work for a client until they start ‘doing’ it. Viewing this transition as an evolutionary process instead of a static state may be helpful.

Defining Maintenance

The well BE-ing and being of the client will shift as they experience and adjust to each goal they reach until all their goals are attained. It is possible that a client is in maintenance on one or more goals, while still working on others. This makes maintenance an incremental process.

Since the body is an integrated whole, each goal attained will impact other goals. For example, a client reaches their ‘weight’ goal, but still wants to attain more strength and a little more muscle mass. We know that muscle weighs more than fat, and we know hydration impacts weight. Hydration also impacts body fat percentage and muscle mass in any given weigh-in as part of total body weight. If the client wants to maintain their current weight and they are happy with their body mass index, the additional muscle will require adjustments and consideration.  This makes maintenance dynamic as well as incremental as they work toward the different layers of their goals.

The lifestyle changes and habits that were created to help them reach their goals, may or may not be what is needed for them to maintain a balanced state of fitness, well BE-ing and being. This is a nuance often missed, especially with diet/weight-loss programs where maintenance really isn’t addressed. If we hear, “it will be so nice to get back to normal” from our clients, we have probably missed the mark in addressing maintenance.                 

The initial maintenance plan is a rough draft.  Neither we nor the client knows how a full maintenance routine will impact them until they start doing it once all their goals are met. 

Wellbeing Tips for Maintenance 

The existing support system, including our coaching, will take on a different voice in maintenance. It will be more of a consultative and problem solving approach. This includes answering questions when maintenance isn’t working quite right, and adjustments may be needed.

Designing self-checks for the maintenance plan includes a variety of activities and measurements to help the client monitor and assess results. The first six months to a year will be an ongoing process of adjustments as they are needed. Coordinating with their medical team and monitoring their numbers will be part of the process. A self-assessment built off the list in Table 1 can also aid the client in reviewing their wellbeing during maintenance.

The original why for the client may be fully met by their success, they may need a new why for maintenance. The reason for getting there and the reason for staying there may not be the same. Knowing the “why” for maintenance will create motivation for continued attention to lifestyle and their awareness of well BE-ing and being.

Long-term Health and Wellbeing

The self-image, new why, lifestyle changes, and maintenance plan will change over time as the client matures/ages. Doing our job well, also means that the client will largely become self-reliant in measuring their health, well BE-ing and being. They have done the work and know their bodies better than we do. If we have built good rapport and maintain quality communications, we can become a resource that has added value to their lives.

It is good to keep in mind the concept of ‘wellbeing’ when working with our clients within our scope. We work with BE-ings and their being to impact their sense of wellness. As practitioners we provide an environment for clients to learn and experience themselves as BE-ings and beings in new ways. The path for each client may be different, based on their why and goals, but ultimately their wellbeing and sense of self will be impacted through the process. Incorporating the idea of wellbeing self-checks for clients may add value and boost motivation. Combining the self-checks with measurable results and effective trainer/coach feedback will provide a balanced view of their progress toward their goals. And, they will be able to see the cascading effects as value added to their training.

Additionally, our clients will mature/age and change over time. Each client has the opportunity to improve their health, well BE-ing and being through good training, coaching, and lifestyle changes. Ultimately, our goal is to support our clients to the point where they reach and maintain their goals. Beyond that, we want them to be able to be independent and capable of living a healthy, happy life. “An impact is the measure of an action’s benefit to society and the planet.” Sir Ronald Cohen, this is what Impacting Well BE-ing is all about, one client at a time.

Website References for Wellbeing Table

Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Well-Being Concepts, n.d.

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Rath, Tom and Harter, Jim,  May 10, 2010, Workplace, The 5 Essential Elements of Well-Being

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Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, September 2021, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being

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WorkHuman – WorkHuman Editorial Team, n.d., 5 Types of Wellbeing and How to Achieve Each in the Workplace

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Rollins College, n.d., Wellness Center - 9 Dimensions of Wellness

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Aura Glow, March 25, 2021, What Are the 8 Pillars of Wellness

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Heaney, Catherine, PhD, 2023, HealthySteps to Wellness, The 10 Domains of Well-Being

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Rotary – Victoria, Harbourside,  Kathryn Stolle, The 12 Dimensions of Wellness

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Aderonmu, Joseph Ayotunde, Gadgil, Rucha, Kripa, Sai and Jackson, Kim, n.d. Physiopedia – The Concept of Wellness

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Dr. Jan-Marie Esch is an educator, artist, author, and certified health care professional with a passion for food as medicine and lifestyle development and management. She holds a BA Ed. in Biology and Psychology, an MS in Organization Development, a Ph.D. in Leadership and Human Behavior and multiple certifications with the American Council on Exercise. Her practice ‘Life Under 100’, also the title of her upcoming book, focuses on lifestyle management for families and individuals with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. The book tells the real-life story of her struggle to overcome diabetes through lifestyle management. Lifestyle is an evolution.