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“My clients won’t stick to their nutrition plan” the coaches dilemma banner image

“My clients won’t stick to their nutrition plan” the coaches dilemma

Posted on | Last updated 13-02-2020

Do you often think to yourself, “why can’t my clients be more like me, interested in training and nutrition, wanting to eat well, wanting to look after themselves, wanting to go to bed on time, will remember to carry their water bottle with them and stay hydrated…?”. 

Would make our job dead easy right?

Adherence to diets is super low, it’s the simple reason that many people don’t get their long-term results. They know this is the problem, but they still don’t adhere. So why is that, is it us? Surely it’s them? If they would just follow the damn diet, they would get results… but we know this is not the case, so what the solution?

The solution for us as coaches is to really work with the client, and I say this while knowing you’re probably thinking “I do Ben”. Well I’m calling you out, because if you did, you’d be getting better results with ALL your clients and wouldn’t be reading this blog. In my experience, not enough coaches really listen to their clients, the problems they have, the emotional barriers they have, the time constraints they have, the pain points they have, because if coaches did the focus would be on solving that and not just getting them to try and adhere to ‘the plan’. 

Why is this important? Because when you remove friction it’s easy for someone to do something. People don’t stick to something because they either don’t know how, don’t have a strong enough reason to, or something in their environment or mind stops them. So, it’s our job to really listen and really troubleshoot to find a solution that can work for them. A solution that might only ever be 75% ideal, but that’s better than 100% perfect 60% of the time (how many clients are good Monday-Thursday then go Pete Tong Friday-Sunday?). 

This is the art of coaching. You can get caught up in the science as much as you want, but the nuances of nutrition are lost on many if you can’t get over the initial adherence bumps, and there will be many.

That’s why clients come to us coaches. They are stuck. They can’t make the diet stick and they need someone to be accountable to. Many will need help just turning up to the gym. Why is this?

Many coaches rub their hands together at the prospect of this, thinking “perfect, the client needs me, I’m quids in here”. But that’s not what personal trainers are for, not long term. We should be teaching and empowering autonomy in clients, not just seeing clients as a way to put a roof over our heads.


If you really want to have an impact as a coach, you want to be having a higher turnover of clients. Maybe working with someone for 6-12 months, empowering them, sending them on their way, then welcoming more into your world so you can help empower them, that’s true impact. Having the same clients for 5 years is great for your financial stability, but poor for your impact as a coach, and you got into coaching to have a REAL impact, right?

(of course there are some people that just like being coached, and who will stay with you for the really long term just because – that’s fine, but it shouldn’t be the norm for clients to stay with you because they feel they HAVE TO)

Let me challenge you this week: with every client you see this week stand with them and think “Do I really know this client, do I really know their problems and how to help them, am I helping them, are they getting results with me?”.

This critical step might make you start to see your clients in a totally different way, and you’ll start to challenge yourself to help them even more. If you would like to learn more from myself and BTN about this, head to the orange box at the bottom of this page and sign up to our one week FREE nutrition coaching video course, in which we discuss the practicalities of helping someone else change something they do multiple times every day – make decisions around food. 

Let me know how you get on when you ask yourself this question in front of your client this week, you can find me easily on social media @bencoomber or @btnacademy

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