With a new year coming I like to do a bit of cleaning up of old papers, programs and computer files. Then I come upon this file called the “chronicles” and I think it is a Seinfeld reference… you know what, it is! Then I remember that before the Masters degree, before the blog I would send emails back to friends and family about what I was doing, learning and growing as a professional. I called it the Chronicles because at the time I was a huge Seinfeld fan. I would write about my week and at the end summarize the key points, from that particular week.
We mention that in the profession many coaches look to the team ahead of them to see what that particular team is doing for training. When in fact many of the teams should be looking back to where they have been… do the athletes have a training base so that they can train properly, before attempting a training program that the athletes may or may not be able to complete. The same for all of us, as we are a sum of all our experiences. So, within the holiday spirit, and the thoughts of Ghosts of Christmas Past, I want to look back at the Chronicles. There were 20 so called “volumes” and over the next few days I will attempt to highlight some of the key learning moments for all of you. I hope you enjoy them…
From Volume 1… First week actually paid as a full time trainer.
- Apply to any place even if you do not see a posting, if there is a posting, the job potentially has already been filled. What’s the worst the company can do, say no. Take a chance.
- Be confident in your ability, you went to school, it’s in your head just learn to put it to use.
- Be organized, it helps.
- Have fun, I have the greatest job in the world because I get to go to work in track pants and runners every day.
- Choose your attitude. Wake up and say this is going to be a great day. I am excited to go to work.
- Be there. Focus on your clients as if they are the only thing in the building. When I have more than one client, I focus a little attention on each one for a moment. For that moment the client and I are the only ones in a 160 000 square foot building.
- Make the clients day. This is a fine line but get to know them as people and not just clients, however…
- Last but not least, when you train, you are the professional, you are the boss, and you know what is best. Listen what the clients said about their last trainer did, but you are your own trainer, so develop you art and stick to it. If you have to be a hard ass then you have to put the foot down. Clients respect that, they expect that and they pay for you to put the foot down.
From Volume 2… this particular week was my second week on the job. It was a time of getting to know my clients.
So here is what I have learnt from the past week.
- Dr. Greg Gannon said it best, “Training is part art and part science,” and I do believe that. Well if training is an art, and dancing is an art, then training and dancing go hand in hand. So my experience and advice is to learn to dance. Get up, shake your ass, I went to school and I know the steps so at first it may look odd but hey, the chicken dance looked odd and it’s still around. I’ll eventually get my rhythm right. You have to crawl before you walk, right?
- Do not under any circumstances doubt or under estimate yourselves. You know what you are doing, just do it and don’t hold back. Some of the most brilliant minds were considered crazy at first.
- You will listen to what your clients have to say, and you will eventually meet their goals. When the realistic goals that you and your client had talked about and agreed upon turn into unrealistic goals in the clients mind, continue on with your plan. Explain things as if to educate them. You are in essence a teacher. If they still don’t listen, tell them, “Yeah we can do that,” and continue on with the original plan and they will not know the difference. Stick with what you know best and what works.
- Push people and they will surprise you because they are capable of more than they let on. Clients come to see use because they need to be educated, motivated and generally have their rear ends kicked a bit.
- I am coining a term. The term is “WOG” – Wog is that point between a walk and a jog. When a client asks how fast to go, I say, “I need you to Wog. I want it faster than a walk but I don’t want you to jog, I need you to Wog.” That is proof that I am a fitness geek.
From Volume 3… This was a time of figuring out how to manage time, schedules, and clients while practically living at the gym for 13 hours a day. I still wonder why my wife, Pamela stuck around through that, as it was as difficult on her as it was for me.
So here in a nut shell is what I have learned…
- Be organized but…
- Be flexible to find new or alternative ways to get things done
- To be flexible you must persevere.
- To persevere you need feedback to…
- Continuously learn and seek out new ways to learn. Seek out new ideas. They may trigger old ideas of yours to return to be seen a new way or teach you to view things from a different approach.
- Engage your clients because it helps to foster them to become loyal to you as a trainer and as a person.
From Volume 4… one month in and the long days were adding up. My exhaustion was evident in the tone, and length of the volume but still I carried on.
What I learned this week…
- Treat every customer as if they were the first of the day.
- Take a breath and regroup your thoughts once in a while
- Happy staff make for a happy environment for all those around
- Keep your ears and eyes open.