Is the Customer Always Right?

Smarter Exercise provides a service to help clients become physically stronger in a safe, evidence-based, and time-efficient manner.  Whenever a client decides to stop being a client, being the analytical kind of guy that I am, I try to understand the reasoning that influenced their decision. Sometimes it’s easy:  the client is moving out of the area, their company announces a round of layoffs, they develop a long-term illness, or they break a leg during a ski vacation…  Sometimes though, I just don’t understand the lesson I am meant to learn.

Here is an excerpt from a recent email message I received from a client who decided to opt out:

“I’ve decided to go in another direction with my training.  After half a year, I don’t feel I’ve made enough strength progress to justify continuing the approach I’ve been taking and I also feel it makes more sense to use an approach that is more closely tied to [activity x]… I probably could have worked harder but the bottom line is the approach wasn’t getting the results I wanted and I don’t want to continue.”

Again, being the analytical type, I pulled-up his training card and started analyzing:

Even though the former client thinks he “probably could have worked harder” during his workouts, in 18 sessions, a mere six hours of training time, he managed some impressive strength increases.  Mind you, those six hours are spread over a five month period.  And those increases were made while losing 20-something pounds following a Paleo-style diet.  Not to mention, the client is in his late 50’s and was able to achieve these results injury-free.

Start  End  Increase  % Increase
Lower Back 100 190 90 90%
Leg Press 185 225 40 22%
Abdominals 40 50 10 25%
Compound Row 100 150 50 50%
Pull down 190 270 80 42%
Overhead Press 100 116 16 16%
Chest Press 120 170 50 42%

Many faithful gym-goers would be thrilled with these numbers, I think there are many people who would consider results like these to be legendary within their own experience! Similar results are often flaunted in case studies in diet and fitness books, but are an everyday occurrence around Smarter Exercise. His results also match the goals we had established at the beginning of the client’s program: increase strength, reduce body fat, and increase recreational performance/enjoyment.  In fact, just days before receiving the email above, the client had been telling me about how well he had performed in his latest activity x competition.

I know there is a lesson I am supposed to learn in here somewhere because the customer is always right, right?