It’s the end of the year 2015 so I wanted to go over my thoughts about how the year went for me in more of an agenda free approach. It’s lengthy but if you have time while you are kicking your New Year hangover, give it a spin.
I’m already super excited about the upcoming year and looking forward to taking on some new challenges. This will be the start of my 4th year at the club, and I’ve been able to learn a lot through the past few years and have been lucky enough to meet and learn from some great people along the way.
I’ve definitely started to define myself in the fitness industry and figure out what I do best for people. When I first started out, it became really obvious that it is a tough career to make sustainable for the long haul. As with everything in life, it takes persistence and a dedication to refining your craft. For me, it’s helping people become stronger, move better, and more importantly feel better every day.
Why am I here?
Lately, I’ve been reading a book called “Start with Why,” by Simon Sinek. It’s an interesting book, and takes an introspective look into the question of “Why?” Why are you doing what you’re doing? What purpose are you investing your limited time in? Is there a reason?
I think I’ll go over that a little bit to reflect on how I got into coaching people.
When I went to school, I knew that I had always been into moving, feeling my best, and pushing myself. I was an athlete for most of my youth years through college. But naturally, the progression for most athletes in the super competitive world comes to a screeching halt after college. Contrary to popular belief, I certainly was not going to be a NFL defensive lineman (lolz).
For me, I love that aspect of the training process; the thought that you can train your body to be better. You can teach it, mold it, and compete for success in the weight room against yourself. It hardens you. It makes you a stronger person.
If you were to ask me why I love my job, that’s it. I love teaching people that.
What did I take away from the year? What did I get better at?
1. Embrace both arguments.
One question I get a lot is people asking me about Crossfit and my opinion of it. Like anything, the more you learn about it the better you can understand it. I think myself and a lot of people early on were really black and white with the whole Crossfit question. Yes or no.
But this doesn’t really lend any help to having a real discussion about it. It’s been around for a while now. It’s probably not going anywhere. In my eyes, it helps a lot of people get stronger and more conditioned. It has a social community that is unmatched and helps foster success. I can’t argue against that.
I’m not sure I agree with 100% of the programming and efficacy of some of the movements that are taught, but my opinion has come around a long way. For some people, it works. Others, it might not be the best choice given their injury history.
I guess what I mean by all of this, is that I got better this year at having a broader perspective. Fitness and nutrition is too big to be on one side or the other. You have to be able to look at both sides of the coin and figure out what aligns with your own values and what works within your life.
2. Simplicity makes sense.
Moving on, another thing I focused on a lot this year was making things simple. Jon Goodman from the PTDC always has a line that talks about trying to avoid all the shiny objects. When you are a new trainer, you are put in a position with all of this cool stuff at your disposal to best help your clients. New equipment, tools, crazy exercises… how do you make sense of it all and give your client a great experience? I've been there.
Simplify everything. Make it easy. Stick to the basics.
Granted, all of things in toolbox are great when used appropriately, but it all comes back to meeting the needs of the client and focusing on their goal. Most people need/want to get stronger and look better naked. Some people want to be more flexible and move better. Creating a simple and maintainable approach to complete those tasks helps create adherence from your client around the clock, not just when they are with you.
3. You are the investment.
If there is one thing you can do to help yourself, it’s buying into your personal growth. Once you figure out what it is you want, don’t hesitate and go for it. I was on the fence about training for a marathon for a long time, and then finally I just decided to stop letting other things dictate my athletic goals. Once I signed up, I was locked in and totally focused until race day. It was a total switch of mindset.
But that’s the kind of mentality that comes and goes with people. I’m guilty of this too. You get complacent and stuck in your own ways. Sometimes it takes a call to action to motivate people, which is why having your own goals is so important. Whether its fitness, nutrition, business, or life, the human brain responds well to this. You don’t have to have everything planned out. Just go. Put yourself under pressure and get it done.
Intangible qualities are important. They really are what make us all unique and are important to think about when setting goals and taking on new challenges. I try to be reliable, humble, and have respect for other people. This isn’t always the case, but I always know when I’m moving away from my core values. Something doesn’t feel right. What about you?
Knowing this stuff can make or break your successes. It sets the stage for what you are willing to take and let go. Always question yourself, how can I be better? Was that the right thing to do? Do I feel good about that decision?
5. Running is okay, and it won’t destroy you *** if you are smart about training.
Marathon training is a lot of things, but most of all it was really rewarding. People can argue about whether running is good or bad for your joints, but nothing can take away the feeling when you cross the finish line. I loved having that goal and going through the entire training process.
We just need to be smarter about our training and stop trying to beat our bodies up all the time. Having a solid plan that gradually adapts your body is huge in avoiding injury. As Dan John says, “If it hurts, don’t do it.” I see too many people that try to “mind over matter” the pain response. Long term, it will catch up with you.
People were made to move, but not at the expense of your own health.
6. Barbell Lifts will still get you yolked
It was amazing to me the immediate carry over of Barbell training had on running. Not that I hadn’t used it in the past, the application was different. I was lifting 4 days a week and running much less than traditional programming for a marathon. It really helped me rethink what the best ways are to stay strong without compromising running efficiency.
My coach’s programming was spot on (yes, I have a coach), and that really helped me stay away from overtraining. I actually put on weight during training, even though my limbs still might look like a bunch of cooked spaghetti.
7. Read and Educate Yourself
Not just fiction. Learn about a new topic or idea. It helps you simulate things without actually having the experience, and keeps your mind active in the learning process. I tried to do a lot more of it this year, especially in the realm of business. Overall, I think it’s helped me understand our reach at the club and how the business world works. I recognize that I don’t- and probably won’t ever know it all. However, striving for continual improvement is what keeps us growing. Here’s a list of books I dove into this year, most of them I’m not done with:
The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley and William Danko
The Story of the Human Body, Daniel Lieberman
Made in America, Sam Walton
Start with Why, Simon Sinek
Linchpin, Seth Godin
Anatomy Trains, Thomas Myers (This book is amazing)
The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins
The Hybrid Athlete, Alex Viada
8. Be willing to adapt.
Perfect lead, here’s a story.
In an effort up my knowledge game, I go into a Barnes and Noble frequently and see a whole row of books dedicated to different diet plans, secrets, and programs. Hundreds of books.
This is amazing, to me.
How can there be this many “diets” for the human body?
And, if you go to the exercise section- you’ll see the same thing.
This is why things are so confusing for many people.
My point is that there are all these different methods, and schemes, and “hacks”, and many of them are probably great guides to get you started. But they are usually 90% the same. Eat real food. Move your body all the time. Work hard.
Within those oversimplified statements, find what works for you. What your body likes. What feels good- to you. We are all individually different, and that means we all respond differently to certain stimuli.
Don’t think you can’t tweak some things to fit your needs and your goals. Use a book or guide or the help of someone to get you on the right path, and be willing to experiment with the rest. If you find a plan or program that you like and keeps you grounded… great! Just don’t let it be the end all be all.
9. Time is valuable
I have talked about this in the past:
But, I think it’s worth mentioning. When taking on the task of becoming a coach, you become hyper aware of the time. I mean, that’s what I build my day around- scheduling clients, helping a lot of people throughout the day, and figuring out how much sleep you need to get each night to be a functioning adult human in the morning.
But, as you learn, taking control of it is important. Don’t let your work get in the way of your exercise, social life, or goals (Or the other way around). I had to learn to manage this over time, because it was impacting the quality of my work, and the quality of my life outside of work.
10. Real Relationships Still Matter
Technology is great. It makes us all smarter and more efficient. However, it should be said that you can’t overlook the relationships you have with real people. Having a real conversations and sharing ideas is so important for having a sense of belonging. There are so many social media outlets out there that people use to try and get that sense, but I, and we have to be careful not to forget those who are around us all the time.
We play the phone game from time to time- and it’s kind of stupid- but also pretty fun. If you are at dinner with some friends or family, put everyone’s phone on the table face up. First one to look at their text message or Twitter or IG or whatevs, buys the next round.
Wow, that was long.
Thank you for sticking around if you’ve gotten this far. The year has flown by, and for 2016 a big focus of mine is to build some more value for those who read the blog and enjoy what I do. As always, I want to help you become more educated and better equipped to live the best life you possibly can.
Happy New Year!