Following the New York IDEA Conference, October 2005
do those three words have in common?
They don't rhyme, they aren't found anywhere near each other
in the dictionary, and they're not found together in the lyrics
of any Eminem song. What in the world do they have in common?
OK, I'll tell you. What they have in common is . . . they're
know this article will be read primarily by personal trainers,
and I know trainers might very well be able to define calorie
and metabolism with pinpoint accuracy. I'm also certain
that if those very same trainers asked their clients to define
the word calorie, they'd get answers something like
. . .
. . . ummm . . . the food thing."
metabolism, in my experience with the general public, is often
a task waived and replaced by an example of someone with a
lady, at work, her name's Heather, and like she can eat anything.
We went to lunch and she had two desserts and she doesn't
gain a pound. Heather is one of those people with a fast metabolism"
usually a Part 2 that goes something like this . . .
telling a new client that a calorie is a unit of heat and
you'll get that blank stare seventh graders wear all over
their faces when the teacher asks them one of those questions
intended to show they weren't paying attention. Tell that
same client that they actually have control over metabolism
and the blank stare turns into astonishment.
leaves the word "Strategy."
the IDEA Conference I conducted a session that addressed some
of the primary flaws in the personal training mindset. When
trainers, as a group, are asked what separates them from "the
other fitness and weight loss offerings," they usually
stand united behind a common response. The proudly boast,
"we deliver results!"
an interesting paradox. They haven't any doubt, at least when
stating their unique position, that they are capable of delivering
results, but when I ask if they're willing to guarantee those
results, the answer is a near-unanimous "no."
hope at the very least I got some of the 125 people in the
room to think, to question, and to reframe things. If you
are, in fact, capable of delivering the results people desire
and deserve, shouldn't you be willing to stand behind the
promise? After all, ab devices, fat burners, and body wraps
are all sold using the promise of "results." If
you are really different than the product hawkers, how can
consumers separate the promises?
believe all competent trainers should guarantee results. I
realize at this point in time I'm in the minority, at least
as far as personal trainers go, but I've been operating with
an unconditional money back guarantee since 1986 so I ask
of others only what I'd ask of myself.
trainers believe the results guarantee is dangerous to their
financial health, as clients may request refunds, and they're
usually quick to point out that they can only advise and instruct,
they can't "control" their clients.
don't believe we need to control anybody, but I've learned
that the key to comfortably maintaining a "results guarantee"
is . . . STRATEGY!
STRATEGY must have its foundation in the proverbial WIN-WIN.
That term may be overused, but here it unquestionably applies.
A Personal Fitness Trainer has the enviable ability to prosper
by bettering the lives of others.
the trainer becomes parasitic, collects money and fails to
deliver a desired result, he or she is contributing to the
clouded perception that the general public holds on to regarding
the questionable professionalism of "the fitness expert."
If the client gets results, but the trainer fails to prosper,
the "career" is short-lived and the potential to
make a measurable change upon our population is squashed.
WIN-WIN suggests that trainers prospers, the clients achieve
results, and while in theory that scenario sounds simplistic,
it's a rarity when weighed against the volume of trainers
and the mass of frustrated and disappointed clients.
the onset of this article I addressed three words, and I've
touched on defining two of them.
(kilocalorie) is the amount of heat required to raise 1
kg. of water one degree Celsius.
is the sum total of anabolism, catabolism, and energy production
or more concisely, the speed at which the body converts
fuel into . . . . well . . . heat!
leaves on more word that bears defining.
I define what I mean by "strategy," let me tell
you what it isn't.
isn't a clear map that runs from A to B and B to C.
should learn to plan, but it isn't enough, at least not if
a win-win and a results guarantee are desired.
In order to comfortably guarantee an outcome, trainers need
a strategy. A strategy is analagous to a skeleton with limitless
movement patterns. If someone unexpectedly throws a baseball
at your head, the skeleton you own allows you to shift left,
shift right, or duck in response to the oncoming peril. The
"skeleton" also, however, allows you to stand your
ground if someone's coming toward your lips with a kiss or
an ice cream cone.
can't predict whether the rock or the ice cream cone is around
the next corner, so we need to rely on the skeleton's mobility.
Ditto for our strategy.
teams need strategies. Sure, they can plan to pass for 300
yards, or average 12 yards per running play, but the plan
fails to take into consideration the uncertainty of the defense.
The offensive coordinator's strategic ability can respond
to an unexpected blitz, to a defense opening up holes in an
offensive line, or to a defensive formation shutting down
a running game, but a rigid plan can not. It's limited by
its own rigidity.
arrogant coaches and quarterbacks throughout the years have
"guaranteed" wins, the reality is, the two teams
have conflicting goals and one team has to go down for the
other to emerge victorious. Personal Trainers need strategy,
but they have a massive advantage over NFL competitors. Their
goals for the client and the client's personal goals align.
now know what a strategy isn't. Let's discuss what a strategy
a system for identifying challenges and converting them
a system for avoiding reaction and finding response
a reference for making and facilitating quality decisions.
should now come with a softer blow when I make two points
that some trainers may find abrasive:
If you're not willing to make and stand behind a guarantee
there's something flawed in your approach
are notorious for passing blame and seeing their clients'
"excuses" while they escape responsibility by
making excuses of their own
challenge you to take responsibility right now, to put all
excuses aside, and to recognize that you MUST apply strategy,
that the strategy is vital to your ability to deliver results
consistently, and that without a three-part strategy, you
stand to become a mediocre trainer at best.
must have an INFLUENCE STRATEGY
must have a TRAINING STRATEGY
must have a MOTIVATION STRATEGY
won't learn strategic methodologies in your certification
study guides, so I encourage you to seek out a different type
of education, one that involves human response, an understanding
of emotion, and a willingness to apply a subtle but necessary
pressure to get people connected to the need to commit to
a result-oriented program.
personal training relationship must begin with an assessment,
but the assessment, as I've learned to conduct it, goes way
beyond Sit and Reach and VO2 Max. The assessment
is an ideal opportunity to identify potential obstacles, to
identify negative self-talk, and to help a client to recognize
false beliefs that might serve as pitfalls if they aren't
replaced by new empowering beliefs.
begin the assessment by asking "how do you feel about"
and "how would you rate" type questions. They give
me immediate insight into potential. I probe, I explore, and
I identify those issues I know have to be addressed if I'm
going to initiate forward momentum and stay on track toward
an agreed upon set of goals.
teach fitness professionals to master influence by finding
a comfort level in conversationally adapting my NAVAQA strategy.
NAVAQA is an acronym, each letter standing for a step in the
- what is the hidden pain, the perceived "need"
the client hopes to fill by training with you
- find out, in advance, the emotion-driven self talk
that can motivate or discourage
- prove that you are the vehicle to get the client from
the present to the desired future
- help the client identify that the decision made in the
moment affects outcome
- make sure your influence attempt is having impact before
asking for an action
- do not shift into "salesperson" mode, but instead
remain in the role of a confidant, an advisor
I have a "skeleton"
of a training strategy that goes way beyond sets and reps. It's
delivered in my TRANSFORM! program in a simple format that anyone
after assessment, with a "metabolic efficiency" period
where I help the client develop new habits and deliver clear evidence
that the client has control over metabolism
I then progress
to a "Strength & Growth" phase, where we manipulate
body composition and help the client fully buy-in to the virtue
of muscle maintenance
proven the client has control over metabolism and body composition,
we combine functional movement, aerobic movement, and resistance
exercise to "shape" the foundation of the body (fast
and slow twitch muscle fiber).
loss is a goal, we progress into a fat liberation phase where
we make nutritional shifts and training adaptations to facilitate
amplified fat release.
This is the
outline of a strategy, not a plan. The strategy is a skeleton,
but the specifics may vary from client to client, and personal
attitudes, beliefs, and levels of adherence dictate the rate at
which we progress through the process. It's a strategy I can stand
behind, as each "phase" comes with its own evidence
procedure. There isn't any question 'it's working."
is complex, but I've learned to link each client with specific
internal strategies that he or she uses to motivate or de-motivate
him or herself.
Yes, I realize
what I said. A demotivated client can blame external factors,
but those external factors were simply triggers that led the client
to see visions (images), speak internally, and experience feelings
that lead to a given emotional state. When I uncover the "how
to" each client uses to create a given emotional state, I
can find emotional buttons and triggers that shift doubt to motivation.
Is that enough
information for you to master "Strategy?" Of course
not. Mastery takes time, practice, refinement, experimentation,
self-examination, constructive criticism, and a willingness to
get better and better. I hope, at the very least, this helped
you re-think the limitations most trainers place upon their value,
and if I prompted you to question whether there's more for you
to learn, whether there's an enitre universe beyond functional
movements and sets and reps training, I feel I've done some good.
your heart, commit to being the best you can be, and recognize
that as soon as you begin operating at a level of excellence,
others will be following in your footsteps. To stay on top you
have to continue to seek forward progress, thus, the words I've
always used to conclude my professional newsletters . . .
AND KEEP GROWING!
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