Stop Using This Word with Your Clients

It’s used commonly by some group fitness instructors and small group coaches, but it now seems to have made its way into all forms of cueing and coaching as well as posts on social media: 

I can appreciate the fact that we’re using it to convey simplicity, but I invite you to remove the following expressions from your cueing and coaching:

“Just use your obliques to power up this exercise.” 

“To use your breath more mindfully, just inhale for a count of 3 and exhale for a count of 6.”

“Just place your feet wider and you’ll gain speed.”  

Two reasons why this coaching cue isn’t serving you:

  1. It muddies the waters between simple and easy, they are not the same. Simple = something that isn’t complicated. Easy = something that requires little effort. As Yoga teacher I can promise you that breathing isn’t complicated; but knowing when to inhale or exhale is what most students find the most challenging in class. 


2. It might indeed also be easy, for you! That doesn’t mean it’s easy for others. Remember that more than 80% of the population isn’t doing sufficient physical activity; clearly we are part of the minority who have integrated fitness into our routines. Words like “just” can come across as condescending to those who putting in the energy and effort to get results and feel successful in their new lifestyle behaviors. 

Some examples of cueing and coaching that better connect with your intentions and goals:

“Bring your attention to your oblique muscles that surround your waist and notice the power in this exercise.”

“Let’s connect with our breath by changing its pace; try inhaling for a count of 3 and exhaling for a count of 6.”

“We’re looking for speed now, feel the acceleration when you place your feet wider.” 

I also invite you to remove these expressions from your communications and marketing:

“Most people would get healthy if they just walked every day and strength trained three times a week.”

“Stop overcomplicating your workout by looking for fancy exercises, just stick with the basics and you’ll hit your goals.” 

As a fitness leader and coach, have you asked yourself why people get tempted by the “fancy stuff”? Maybe it looks like fun; and since pleasure is the best predictor of exercise adherence we shouldn’t be surprised. Again, instead of connecting with our audience we can come off as condescending and not understanding the nuance between simple and easy. 

This only serves to edify our frustration as an industry as to why people aren’t getting healthier. I get the concept of a “growth post”, I use them myself on social media. The types of posts that will get lots of Saves and Shares. But have a look at who is sharing; it’s quite likely your fellow fitness pros who share in your frustration. 

Going from sedentary to physically active is a difficult and multi-faceted behavior change and moments when we don’t understand why more people aren’t sticking with their routine is an opportunity for us to get curious and compassionate. Let’s work on that! 

What are the instances when you, the leader and coach, can just let go of just? 😉 

Feeling stuck in your career? You are not alone! This is the feeling I hear most often from fitness professionals who are looking for change. Contact me so that together we can catapult your career forward. I am here to help you! 


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