Weekly Rant: Career longevity for the Personal Trainer
Still in the game?! Personal Trainers can learn a lot about career longevity from Serena, Brady and LeBron.
They were supposed to be done years ago?! Definitely not playing at this high of a level. But they are still out competing, proving the doubters wrong.
One thing that makes the greatest great is their love of the game. They love it so much even the hardest of works feels, well, not easy, but they know what it takes to stay at the top. They have enough respect for the game to study it, reinvent their game, to stay in the game.
They are focused enough to block out criticism from “experts” and haters who know nothing about their why.
They are focused enough not to listen to excessive praise either. They have built strong teams around them. People that make them better. They challenge others to step up to their level.
Champions are thankful for every second on the field, enough to live in the moment… they know it is precious. Their love for the game is the main reason for their longevity. The moral of the story here is consistency of effort over time, and you will probably find a way to get “lucky” like them, whatever game you choose.
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Your Haters are Pushing You to the Top – Embrace It
I get it. We are all small fishes in a big pond competing to get the attention of your ideal clients. Then we jump on social media to post an update and something from another coach catches our eye.
OH, I don’t like that. Let me tell them so and I’ll throw in my two cents worth about their lack of smarts. Maybe their audience will see how intelligent I am and see how uninformed they are. And who knows? It may get me a client.
Now, you’ve possibly made an enemy and you’ve wasted your time and energy being negative. It’s a mistake some of us have made before, attacking other trainers to boost our own ego and status.
It’s okay to point out crap, misinformation and outright lies but this is better done privately. But it is never okay to attack someone personally to boost your own ego or status. If it’s a matter of opinion, better to keep it to yourself and scroll on by.
Better yet turn it into good info to reach your audience. Because when you spend more time and energy reaching your audience with quality info the better for you and your bottom line.
I like this quote from Bruce Lee –
“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own.”
In some cases, that popular “influencer” might have a gift with marketing. Maybe we can learn from this. Even if their information is horrible.
Does anything upset you in the fitness industry ?What are you waiting for? Start creating, instead of attacking and complaining.
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Do you ever think about how you think? Developing critical thinking skills will be important to advancing as a personal trainer. As trainers, we often make the same mistakes our clients make. This article will talk about confirmation bias in fitness—how people tend to believe what they already think is true.
My business, Results Performance Training, is honored to be a host site for the NASM Gymternship Program! This program will help you transition from getting certified to landing your first personal training job. Nothing beats hands-on experience, networking, and learning from someone who has been in the trenches.
Do you have a hard time knowing what weight to use or when to progress or regress weight? This is a question I often get from my members and trainers when they work with their clients
Now, I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. Because choosing a starting weight differs from client to client and is part guesswork and part science. And it’s a question that has plagued most lifters and trainers, including myself in the past.
With a little trial and error mixed with a dash of experience, here are two methods, I pass on to trainers and clients when faced with the eternal question “what weight do I use?’
Use Ramping Sets to Determine Load
Clients (and sometimes trainers) sometimes jump straight to their working sets without regard to how they’re feeling. If the weight is too light, it’s not a problem. But if the weight is too heavy, then safety becomes an issue.
Once the client has a good handle on the body weight version of the movement, we use ramping sets to determine the clients starting weight.
One way of implementing ramping sets is keeping the reps the same while increasing the load until the client’s form starts to break down or they struggle. For example, the client is programmed to 3 sets of 8 reps on the dumbbell bench press.
8 reps- 20 pounds
8 reps- 30 pounds
8 reps- 35 pounds
8 reps- 40 pounds
8 reps- 45 pounds
8 reps- 50 pounds
At any point when the client feels uncomfortable or there’s a breakdown in form at a certain weight, that’s the working weight for the day.
But this isn’t a substitute for your coaching eye. Because if you notice clients struggling with submaximal weights due to muscle weakness and or they are not sufficiently recovered, there is no need to add strength on top of dysfunction and tiredness.
Instead regress the weight or the exercise to a manageable one so the client still gets a training effect while not adding to their dysfunction or stress.
Use Ratings of Perceived Exertion to Find Load
The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is a way of measuring a client’s intensity level. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel like your body is working, taking in account all factors and not just the weight used.
This puts more of the onus on the client when it comes to determining load after you educate them on how RPE works. Plus, combined with your coaching eye, you’ll both have a say in determining load.
On a RPE scale of 1-10, a 7 means you could have gotten 3 more reps, an 8 means you could have gotten 2 more reps, 9 means you could have gotten 1 more, and a 10 means its max effort.
The goal here is to start them off at a 6 and eventually to a 7-8 for each exercise. The beauty of this method is it created more buy in from the client, helping them feel more invested in their program.
Other Things to Consider Before Choosing Load
There are few other considerations you need to think about before choosing a weight, one being training experience of the client. As a general guideline if a client has one year or less experience with resistance training, forget about maxing out and concentrate on gross motor skills like
People with more training experience tend to have confidence and want to be pushed during their workouts, whereas people with zero training experience should be progressed slowly.
It’s easier to bounce back from a training session when you’re younger, but older lifters don’t have that same luxury because the older you are, the longer the recovery. Muscles and joints take more time to bounce back after a tough training session. This is when ramping sets and R.P.E are your best friends when determining load for the older client.
During the intake process, you should have a fair idea whether your client has any limitations. Getting a client to back squat with a history of lower back pain is obviously no-no.
If a client has an injury that prevents them from performing an exercise, perform another exercise along the spectrum (Goblet Squat) and determine load using the methods above.
Regardless of age or the limitations of the client, one thing to keep in mind as trainers is DO NO HARM.
If a client has an injury, you want to figure out their limitations, stay away from painful ranges of motion, and work around the injury. It all comes down to weighing the risk versus reward of each exercise, and whether it helps the client achieve their goals.
Progression Is Always the Name of The Game
When it comes to making progress, whether it’s getting strong, hypertrophy or fat loss, progression is the name of the game.Does that mean that you need to go up in weight from set to set? Like a lot of things when dealing with the human body, it depends.
There are many ways you can progress an exercise without having to add weight. You can execute more reps, sets, cut the rest periods, or change the tempo with the same weight. For example, adding a pause at the bottom of a goblet squat or a rep in half goblet squat.
Choosing a weight is part art and part science. You constantly need to tinker and experiment to find what works best for you and your client. Progressing safely in regards to the client’s limitations, age and training experience is the key.
Is it scary to put yourself out there? Yeah, but if you help one person, it’s worth it. As Steven Pressfield puts it, “the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
It might scare you to start that business, create that blog, or write that book. But remember, not too many artists have an album full of hits. It’s not about being perfect every time, it’s about sharing your gifts with the world.
I have a process mindset, so I know that an imperfect plan if put into action now, will teach me more than a perfect plan never acted on ever could.
Don’t be afraid to ship your work
It might be hard at first. I was flat out afraid of failing, and still have moments where I face some fear. But, nearly two decades as a trainer and a decade of owning a personal training studio, taught me that failure comes with the territory.
After a while failing won’t bother you, it’s the lack of taking action that will. I’ve seen too many perfectionists wait for the ‘perfect time’. The perfect time is always now.
They’ve said things like, “when I have the perfect business plan, I’ll start my business.” Or “who am I to write a book, give a speech, or start a blog?”
Sometimes what I think is my “best work” gets no likes. But then one person reaches out to me directly and says how much it meant to them. And sometimes what I consider my “worst work” gets a lot of feedback. So I guess that story in my head isn’t always right!
When you feel stuck, it helps to ask yourself, who’s further along?
The person who shipped out 12 articles in 12 weeks with only 2 to 4 of them being a hit?
Or the person who hasn’t shipped their masterpiece because they’re worried about being judged or feel insecure because they’re not the ‘best’ yet.
What my 20 years of experience taught me
There are a few key lessons on fear and failure that I’ve taken away from my career thus far. They include the following:
1. Ship your work, but make sure it’s authentic.
Stop trying to be like everyone else. Art is subject to interpretation. People often flop before you ever hear about them. Even though they flopped, they never quit. Failing is how you learn and it’s where you’ll learn the most.
2. The worst-case scenario isn’t that bad.
If you’re getting started, your audience probably isn’t big. If you flop, not too many people will notice. But, what’ve you gained is experience. And now you have an idea of how to pivot differently.
3. It gets easier over time.
This is especially true after you’ve failed a few times. Because of your so-called ‘failure,’ you realize nothing bad actually happens. When you start to develop this process mindset, you’ll look at things objectively.
4. Haters come with the territory.
Those who haven’t done what you’re doing, think they can do it better than you. But, how could they? They’re sitting on the sidelines, not taking action and simply hating on you.
Don’t let these types of people interfere with your talents, gifts, and creativity. Haters are always going to hate and they’ll always be around, but the more haters the better. It means you’re doing something right.
What is failure, really?
After 20 years in the game and going into a decade of owning a personal training studio, I’ve learned that failure is not your enemy — it’s your friend.
Although we live in a social media world where success is viewed as ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ that doesn’t mean a ‘like’ measures your long-term success. Nor does it measure the influence you have on the people you want to reach.
The more you stay authentic, the more impact your work has. And the more enjoyment you get out of the process.
Here’s a summary of what I’ve learned over the past two decades.
A bad piece of work is not that bad. It equals a lesson, and it helps you move through the fear of failure.
Some of your best work might not be well received. But, some of your other work could be a huge success. That’s because someone needed to hear what you had to say at the exact moment you put your work out there.
If you love the game you’re playing, you will “win” eventually. You’ve already won compared to the person sitting on the fence.
Are you a personal trainer looking to connect? Need advice when it comes to advancing your career? Let us know how we can help. Call or text us at 757-589-7028. Or send an email to [email protected].