A Call to Arms

calltoarmsThe industry of personal training has barely progressed since the bodybuilding era. Don’t believe me? What’s the first thought that comes to clients’ minds when they hear the word exercise? “No pain, no gain.” The fact is, while it may be sold as the best way to build muscle or enhance your metabolism, fundamentally we’re still having our clients lift heavy things slowly and isolating the body’s movement while expecting it to optimally function as an integrated whole. We’re training our clients’ cores from positions they rarely spend time in otherwise. Success is measured by how much their heart rates skyrocket during a spin class or how sore they are from yesterday’s workout. And flexibility is chalked up to stretching their quads and hamstrings for a couple minutes before a workout. Guess what? Our clients are no longer interested in this approach — they’ve just come to believe this is the best our industry has to offer.

I’m here to tell you this approach no longer works – it’s obsolete. But don’t take my word for it. Ask your client who’s also seeing a physical therapist for an injury encountered under your guidance. Ask your previous clients who haven’t sent you any referrals in the last year. The days of counting reps and pairing random exercises and calling it a workout just aren’t sustainable in our current climate. People are smarter about their fitness choices than they were 20 years ago and they are inundated with a slew of options — on YouTube, on TV or at the globo-gym down the road. If this is the service you offer, know that they can get it anywhere – and they can get it for less.

Our clients want something truly remarkable. They want something they can’t get anywhere else. They want something that gives them an edge and they want to feel great after a session with you. Wouldn’t you like to be the professional on the other end of this experience? How’s being the go-to consultant in your community when a movement need or concern arises sound? Well, if you want this, you’ll need to stop playing it safe — safe is risky. That’s right, if you keep doing what’s comfortable you will keep blending in and start fading out.

So how do we offer something new, worth talking about and being a part of? We stand up and choose to do it differently. Here’s a simple place to start — do the opposite of what your local gym does:

– They’re selling memberships; you can develop relationships.
– They’re big boxes with no structure, guidance and accountability; you have an opportunity to be a resource to your client.
– There are a slew of machines that isolate the body; you can show your understanding of how the body moves as a chain reaction.
– There’s walking away feeling defeated and overcome by a workout; you can empower your clients with the confidence, competence and courage to do it again.
– There’s addressing the physical side of training the body; you can condition someone’s body, mind and spirit.

Two out of every three of our clients suffer from depression. Our clients and their children are becoming more overweight and obese each year. “Controllable” diseases are so common we don’t even balk at them or realize the quality of life deficits. Does anyone else see this epidemic of complacency in our industry? As fitness professionals, we have the opportunity, more than even the medical community, to positively change the trajectory of people’s health, comfort and vitality. I hope you’ll join me for the revolution. Stay tuned for what it means to be a catalyst in the lives of others.

One Day at a Time is Over the Top

choiceWhen it comes to making change, a friend, colleague or mentor is sure to encourage you with the old adage: “Just take it one day at a time”. While this advice comes from a good place, taking things a “day at a time” can still feel very overwhelming. It’s more realistic to suggest taking it one choice at a time. Each day is a culmination of choices and we can make them one of two ways:

1. Choices that align with who we want to be (PROGRESSION)
OR
2. Choices that misalign with who we want to be (REGRESSION)

There’s a magical opportunity paired with every thought, word, or action we think, speak or make and it’s called a CHOICE! In a distracted culture, such as our own, we may feel that choice does not exist but it certainly does and requires your fullest attention and awareness. Keep change simple and manage it one choice at a time.

Dynamically Redefining Yourself

thoughtsWho are you? You are what you’ve done and fortunate or not, you are who or what you’re associated with. However, our ongoing choices truly define who we are and that is very exciting news.

If you happen to be dissatisfied with who you are, then change it. Change it because you can. Change it because you matter and it matters. Change is dynamic and you literally define/redefine yourself with each thought you have and each choice you make.

 

 

 

Follow these pearls of change management to become who you want to be*:
1. What you think becomes what you say
2. What you say becomes what you do
3. What you do becomes how you act
4. How you act becomes who you are
*Inspired by Lao Tzu

At the end of the day CHANGE=CHANGE. Thanks to Amy Schraub for teaching me that.

My Schedule is CRAZY!

scheduleMy schedule is crazy; I don’t have time to work out. My schedule is not my own; cooking food ahead of time is not an option. My schedule is never ending; I literally don’t have time to sleep.

I hate to tell you this but YOU are your schedule. A schedule minus YOU is not chaotic or stressful, it just is. What YOU bring to your schedule is what makes it what it is.

This lifestyle may sound familiar and it’s difficult to escape because it’s driven by our culture. People with this schedule usually also want to lose weight, get in shape and move without discomfort. The bottom line is, you make time for what you find important. Whether it’s posting your social status, sorting through emails, watching TV or any other avoidance activity; if it takes up your time, it’s what you’ve chosen to be important.

Is how you’re scheduling your time consistent with what’s important? Only you can decide this.

Showing Up and Giving It Your Best

walkerSimply stated, attendance and effort are the two most important ingredients to succeeding. Minus showing up and giving it your best, your goal is likely going to remain a good intention and never an actual outcome.

Sometimes though, even when doing the right things consistently, it may seem as if you’re getting nowhere. So now you have one of two choices to make:

1. KEEP IT UP: Continue making the decisions and taking appropriate actions that align with your objectives until it happens.

-OR-

2. GIVE UP: Decide its no longer worth doing your best work and choose to do something else.

I’d only ask you to recall the last time you gave it less than your best and it worked out for you.

Specificity is the Name of the Game

girl-runner-stretchingYou’ve never heard and will never hear someone say that bowling made them great at golf. Or rowing made them great at running. Or reading made them great at math. If you want to get good at something, you have to do that “thing” in order to be great at it. For some reason though, when it comes to movement and exercise, we think differently.

Regardless of the sport / activity being trained for, the preparation exercises never look like the activity itself. For example, before a 5K, I see lots of hamstrings being stretched, but the stretches don’t look like they’re preparing runners to run. Standard hamstring stretches are performed standing with your feet together and reaching to the ground or from a seated, straddle position bending towards your legs. Unless your activity is performed in these positions and through these ranges of motion, you aren’t efficiently prepping for it.

Consider the differences:

  • Traditional hamstring stretch vs Running-specific hamstring function
  • Performed in one dimension vs Hamstrings lengthen in three dimensions
  • Standing, feet together, reaching down vs Standing, from a stride stance, legs coming up
  • Seated reaching chest to knee vs Standing, whole body moving
  • Gravity assisted vs Gravity resisted
  • Hamstring focused vs Whole body emphasis

 

The subtle considerations above make all the difference between efficient and inefficient preparation. Try this: Place a chair in a doorway. Hold on with both hands. Place one leg up, maintaining a narrower stance. Bend forward slightly to tension your hamstrings. Rotate your foot to the left and right. Move slowly and focus on areas of congestion. This strategy will lengthen your hamstrings in all 3 planes of motion, more consistent to how they actually function while running.