I am not sure whether it is the sudden onset of fall/end of summer or simply a mild case of melancholia that prompted me to write this one, but I decided to take a walk down memory lane and I see if I actually learned something in the 1000s of hours I spent on the gym floor.
So, let’s see!
1. Whole body workouts rule
Luckily that was one thing I realized rather early. Most people do not have the time or energy to train more often than twice a week so split will actually hurt them more than put them on the gains train. Two whole body workouts a week are an excellent starting point; as the client becomes more serious or committed, you can do a push pull/leg routine.
2. Look at the person not the body
When I started in the fitness industry many, many moons ago, I was rather quick to judge people or to fat shame. Coming from a pro sports background I could never understand how people could not put a few healthy meals and decent workouts together.
As I got older, I became more aware of everyone’s individual struggles and took a few steps back to consider what is really going in this persons life. During the Lehmann Brothers meltdown in 2008, most of my Wall Street clients were so beat up, that I had to half their workloads for a few months. Had we trained with full speed ahead I would have lost half my clientele due to injury or overload.
In the end, like most people, I can hardly figure out my own life, so who am I to judge you?
3. Assist, but do not enable
However, I feel it is a fine line between being compassionate and becoming an enabler.
While you need to understand the whole picture in someone’s life before making a recommendation as to diet and training, I also do not think that destructive behaviors should be excused. If you are allergic to nuts, do not eat nuts. If you know that booze is your weakness and your friends drink, they may not have your best interest at hand. As a coach you’ll have to walk a fine line between helping and getting too involved, but you must treat people like adults.
4. Be inconvenient
Neat how the arguments build on each other, right?
As a coach, you have to call a spade a spade, within the context of life. So no, you did not build four lbs of muscle last week and you did not do great with your diet. By the same token, if the client is immersed in a 80-hour a week work project and can only squeeze in one workout, he or she should be commended not scolded for missing two workouts.
5. Be prepared to be disappointed
As with everything in life, there will be let downs. Sometimes trainees will disappear on you or simply not take to the program. As long as you can honestly say that you did everything within your power to give them the possibility to succeed you’ll get a free “out-of-jail” card.
6. Be prepared to be surprised
And then there are those that you would not have thought in your wildest dreams that they could or would succeed and there they are, three years later looking awesome!
7. It is not about you, but about the client
Leave your ego at the door, design what works for the client, and only look at your mirror reflection just a little bit :).
A good coach will see himself as a sherpa that guides the client to the goal the client picked. However, once you agree on a goal, you are the boss. This does not mean it is your way or the highway, but someone has to be in charge.
8. Enjoy the journey
Creating a physique is a never ending quest, since there is no end or world record to be broken.
But neverending is not a negative, it opens the possibility for constantly learning and bettering yourself. Personally, getting involved in fitness was the best thing that ever happened to me, as it it enabled me to travel the world, meet great people, fall deep and pick myself back up, build a business, and get paid for my hobby. Plus, I wear shorts to work!
9. Pull ups rule
Nothing has improved my upper body more than pull ups.