In the highly-competitive world of personal training, recruiting and retaining clients is extremely important. Nothing can shatter a long-term personal training relationship as quickly as an unaddressed workout plateau. When clients can’t push through a plateau, they may start to question your tactics, feel unmotivated, and start looking for a new personal trainer.

At Gray Institute®, we’re committed to empowering movement professionals and setting them up for success. In this article, we explain how Applied Functional Science® can give you the right tools to personalize every client’s workouts, bust through plateaus, and get real results.

What Are Training Plateaus?

Your client is experiencing a training plateau when their progress slows down. They may report feeling unmotivated or frustrated during a plateau, since their body has adjusted to the demands of their current workout plan and they no longer see consistent results. Depending on your client’s unique goals, they may report that they’re no longer experiencing gains in their performance, strength, weight loss, or other metrics.

Unfortunately, if plateaus aren’t addressed quickly, your clients may become demoralized, or worse, lose faith in your approach. To ensure that you maintain strong relationships with your clients and help them with their wellness journey, you need to have a strong set of tools that can help you identify the causes of their training plateau and bust through them.

How Can AFS Help Trainers Overcome Plateaus?

Personal trainers have to keep their clients’ enthusiasm up and their physiology responding. Having a professional “toolbox” that is adaptable, effective, and deep are keys to that success. Applied Functional Science (AFS) has all three characteristics.

Pioneered by Dr. Gary Gray over 40 years ago, AFS values process over protocol. It teaches you how to build workouts that are tailored to each of your clients physically, mentally, and emotionally. Rather than using cookie-cutter solutions, you’ll be able to identify the body’s Chain Reaction® that may be limiting your clients’ progress and address them functionally.

From a neuro-mechanical view, we know that no two people are identical and that we all move differently. Some knees are varus, and some are valgus. Some subtalar joints are overly mobile; others are too rigid. Some torsos can move in all three planes of motion, while most cannot!

When you generate your personal training strategies using an AFS toolbox, your workouts will be comfortably individualized to each client’s movement capacity. You can also personalize them to your client’s individual needs on any given day. Hundreds of variations to any movement are available to a trainer through AFS, providing the trainer increased capacity to tailor any workout to the individual that’s in front of them.

As an example, you’ve likely had a client arrive and stop you cold in your tracks with, “I slept wrong last night, and my neck is jacked!” This means your brilliant program for the day just got “jacked” too. Most trainers may break out the massage gun or lacrosse ball and try to get that angry tissue to calm down, but it’s a 50/50 shot at best.

An AFS trainer has a toolbox that allows them to get the neck happier by integrating the feet, hips, thoracic spine, and arms (everything but the neck) to create better freedom and control of motion in the cervical region and, simultaneously, throughout the entire kinetic chain. The client’s neck feels better and the body is better prepared for the demands of the workout and life afterward!

RELATED: CRB: Relative From Real: Cervical Spine Motion

That “toolbox” adaptability and effectiveness also keep clients from doing the same things repeatedly, suffering the inevitable mental and structural boredom from pattern overload. In addition to variability being the spice of life, this prevents the dampening of motivation and inflaming of tissues. Using AFS techniques strategically to modify and progress exercises on a neuro-mechanical and proprioceptive level helps you grow your clients’ “vocabulary” and competency of movement, and they’ll experience more effective performance in and out of the gym. An added bonus: it hugely keeps their minds “in the game,” always looking forward to what a workout will provide!

Too many trainers rely on their personality to retain customers because their toolbox is shallow, inflexible, and ineffective. But, just like our clients, we can always push ourselves further. Embrace lifelong learning and AFS by enrolling in CAFS (Certification in Applied Functional Science®). Our 23+ hour program provides techniques and strategies to keep a client’s body doing the things it needs to do in multitudes of different ways, all while being individualized to their acute and long term needs. Just as importantly, CAFS will keep your mind sharp and motivated to work because every workout will become a case study in how you can genuinely help someone instead of simply entertain them through the same old routine!

Overcome Your Clients’ Workout Plateaus With Tools From Gray Institute

If you’re ready to revolutionize your approach to personal training, the team at Gray Institute would love to meet you! For more than four decades, we’ve empowered movement professionals, sharing the truths of human movement with them. Our Certification in Applied Functional Science is available online and in a live format letting you study on your own schedule and immediately use your new skills at your gym, clinic, or studio.

If you’d like to learn more about Applied Functional Science, contact Gray Institute today. We can’t wait to hear from you!