Stress and how it can affect progress in your client's fitness journey.

How to Help Your Fitness Clients Manage Stress

Jul 07, 2023

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and its impact on overall well-being can hinder a client’s fitness progress. At KJO Coaching, we understand the connection between stress and fitness goals, which is why we work hard to teach our clients to effectively manage their stress. 

This blog post will dive into evidence-based strategies you can use to help your clients effectively manage their stress


These are the same techniques we use in our own coaching practice and teach in the Health Mindset Coaching Certification. They are tried-and-true strategies that we’re confident will help you and your clients as well.  

By implementing these techniques, you can empower your clients to optimize their mental and physical well-being on their fitness journey.


How Stress Impacts Your Client’s Progress


To effectively support your clients in coping with stress, you must have a solid understanding of the stress response. 

Understanding the physiological and psychological mechanisms involved in stress helps coaches comprehend its impact on the body. By educating your clients about the body's stress response, you can increase your client’s awareness, encouraging them to adopt stress management techniques.


It is essential that you help your clients manage their stress because chronic stress can cause issues with their physical health, slow down their fitness progress, and increase their risk of developing mental health disorders. 

Incorporating stress management techniques into a fitness routine is vital for your client’s overall well-being. 


Stress Management Strategies


So what are your clients currently doing to manage their stress?

According to the research, these are the most common strategies they are turning to:

The American Psychological Association (2007) found that people eat, drink, shop, watch TV, and play video games⁣ to manage their stress. But, when people using these strategies were asked how well the activities reduce their stress, only 16% said it actually helps them.⁣

You (or your clients) may have caught yourself in the act before where you turned to online shopping after a stressful day at work⁣, or opening a bottle of wine after hearing stressful news⁣, or scrapping the bottom of a Ben & Jerry’s pint mid-planning for a large upcoming event⁣.

But these most common stress-reducing activities don’t do a whole lot when it comes to reducing stress.⁣

So why are we so susceptible to these bogus stress relievers?


Your Brain and Stress

When you (or your client) are stressed, your brain seeks relief in the form of reward, for example, “comfort food.”

The common activities listed above activate your brain’s reward system, releasing dopamine. But this promise of reward doesn’t always mean we will actually feel better. 


In fact, these behaviors, such as consuming “comfort food,” may end up making you feel worse rather than helping you feel better.

Stress leads to your brain seeking a reward, which leads to you craving whatever substance or activity you associate with the promise of reward. This is a woefully ineffective cycle, especially when it rarely provides the reward that your stressed-out brain is seeking.⁣

So if turning to a pint of ice cream or a bottle of wine won’t help with your stress levels, what will?


Effective Stress Management Strategies


There is good news: we have more effective alternatives than what your clients have been turning to for years.

The better stress-relieving options are more mindful activities, such as spending time outside, meditation, reading, yoga, and creative hobbies⁣. 

These are helpful because they can help shut down your brain’s stress response by reducing stress hormones and inducing relaxation⁣. These activities also release GABA, serotonin, and oxytocin (actual “feel good” hormones, not just “reward promising” hormones)⁣. 

So, the next time you're talking with clients about coping with stress, some questions you both can ponder:

What do I turn to when I'm stressed?⁣

How does stress make me more susceptible to temptation and procrastination?⁣


If you want to truly learn how to help your clients navigate stress effectively, consider joining us for the next round of the Health Mindset Coaching Certification. This 13-week program will help you develop the skills to effectively help your clients stick to the plan, stick with you, and achieve long-term success in their health and fitness goals. 


We cover more in-depth stress management techniques and so much more that can make you a more effective fitness coach.


Health Mindset Coaching Certification is recognized by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), the International Sports Science Association (ISSA), the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaches (NBHWC),  and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as an approved continuing education provider.


Join the waitlist here and you’ll get immediate access to some free primer materials to get you started!

Check out the original post here.


Connect with us!

Email: [email protected] 

IG: @kjocoaching @healthmindsetcert



American Psychological Association. (2007). Stress Tip Sheet.'s%202007,or%20more%20days%20per%20month

Hi, I'm Kasey!

I coach, mentor, write, and teach with one main focus: Build strong bodies and healthy lifestyles, starting with your mindset.


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