Who Do You Respond to, Bob or Jillian?


There’s no doubt about it, I’m a Bob.

In the personal training world, there are Bobs and there are Jillians (of the Biggest Loser TV show) and combinations of both.

Both trainers are encouraging and genuinely want the best for their clients. The motivation they provide is different.

Bobs are a bit softer, focusing to a fault on what is happening that is RIGHT and minimizing the WRONG. Jillian’s are a bit more abrasive, with tough love being the prime motivator.

In the TV show, aggressive tough love works. In reality, this usually loses clients.

In my experience, focusing on the positive while keeping clients accountable for their behavior (in a reasonable manner) is the most effective strategy. Sometimes I’d like to shake a client and say “what the f**k were you thinking”, but at the end of the day, this really accomplishes zero (actually it can hurt the chances of success with a client).

Having a foot in reality also helps. Nobody can be perfect ALL the time. Trainers aren’t perfect themselves ALL the time. If a trainer tries to tell you that, run away. Working with reality, while attempting a LIFESTYLE change, is extremely effective.

So, I’m a Bob.

Sometimes I envy the Jillian’s and wish that I could be more like them.

All things being said, I feel leaning the “Bob” way is far more effective in attempting to change a clients habits.

What do you think? Which do you prefer?

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

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