Cool, Calm, & Chaotic: It’s not that Serious

Had a great time connecting with Mark Zarate on the Cool, Calm, and Chaotic podcast!

Cool, Calm, & Chaotic: It's not that Serious Podcast

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Had a great time connecting with Mark Zarate on the Cool, Calm, and Chaotic podcast!

 

We discussed….

 
  • My background and story 
  • Tips for starting or staying on a fitness program
  • Top exercises that most people leave out of their program
  • Advice for personal trainers looking to make a career out of fitness
    Music, Food, football, Life in VA + more
Check out the whole podcast here!
 
 
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Why advanced programming is slowing down your client progress

As a new trainer, you’re probably excited to jump right into an epic workout and hammer your clients all the coolest moves. The truth is, flashy exercises are not the most effective choice for 99% of clients. New trainers often lack the experience to understand how to work with clients who have never been active, never played sports… maybe they’ve never even been to a gym before!

Why advanced programming
is slowing down your
client progress

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As a new trainer, you’re probably excited to jump right into an epic workout and hammer your clients all the coolest moves. The truth is, flashy exercises are not the most effective choice for 99% of clients. New trainers often lack the experience to understand how to work with clients who have never been active, never played sports… maybe they’ve never even been to a gym before!

 

Workouts are not about looking cool, and personal training is not about getting clients to fit a mold of what you think a workout looks like. It’s about meeting each client at their level and creating sustainable results.

 

Truly professional trainers know how to ace the fundamentals even with the trickiest clients. Skillful programming strikes the right balance between a solid foundation and a creative approach.

 

 

Are you ready for some game-changing tips to start programming like a pro? The first step is self awareness of your habits and limitations. Check out these 5 mistakes new trainers always make:

 

 

 

1. Programming to look cool.

 

Can your client perform a bodyweight squat correctly?

Do they know how to hip hinge?

Don’t jump straight into complex combos until the fundamental components are mastered.

Always nail foundations first. Focus on creating muscle memory in all the basic movement patterns. Every client needs to have these 100% ingrained to successfully progress to more complex exercises.

Programming to nail the basics is more complex than it seems. You need to account for each client’s unique strength and mobility limitations, plus address imbalances in the chain as soon as possible. For example, one client’s squat might be held back because of tight hamstrings, while another might struggle with stabilizing their knees. Each one will warrant a different approach.

Learn a variety of regressions and what equipment works best for different issues. Boxes, bands, and balls are all incredible tools, but they need to be applied intentionally- not just because they seem fancy.

 

 

2. Skipping assessment.

 

Your cert probably walked you through some of the basic movement compensation patterns, but do you really know how to spot and address issues across a variety of body types?

Assess your clients regularly in every exercise they perform. Really watch what their bodies are doing. Think critically about the patterns you observe and choose exercises that they can perform correctly, or can safely adjust if their form slips. Practice using different form cues and learn what your clients respond to best.

Over time, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the mechanics of every exercise and how to troubleshoot more efficiently. Be honest with your clients. Tell them if they need to regress an exercise and why. Explain how their programming will help them reach their goals. Communicating your strategy builds rapport by showing them you have the expertise to guide them, even if the workout looks different than they expected.

 

3. Changing it up too soon.

 

Let’s be real- when it comes to gaining strength, progressive overload is king. Effective programming is always repetitive. Progress typically looks as simple as moving a few more pounds of weight, or grinding out a few more reps every week.

Successful programs can look pretty boring. Make sure your clients know that. Sure, keep things fresh and switch out a movement here and there, but don’t let it distract you. You can’t track changes in performance without repeating exercises. If you don’t come back to the same staples, you could easily spin your wheels because you aren’t assessing meaningful changes.

 

4. Hammering the intensity for no reason.

 

Beatdown workouts and fancy plyometrics will definitely leave your clients panting for breath… maybe even throwing up. But what are you really accomplishing?

Overdoing the intensity can scare some clients off- and for most people, it’s actually overtraining. Just because it feels intense doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for reaching your client’s goals. HIIT style circuits don’t need to take more than 15 minutes, sometimes even less for a beginner, and there are lower-impact programming options for building work capacity, including LISS cardio and strength training.

 

5. Getting stuck in your comfort zone.

 

As a new trainer, most of your experience comes from training yourself. It’s easy to fall into a rut of just training clients how to do your personal favorite exercises. You’re also more likely to overlook problem areas you haven’t personally struggled with. If you’ve never had lower back pain or a muscle imbalance, and haven’t worked with other clients with similar issues, you won’t have the knowledge to quickly and intuitively program for those problems. Your textbook might have touched on them when you studied for your cert, but that is no substitute for hands-on experience. 

Sure, there are plenty of exercises that are effective 99% of the time, but if you notice your overall programming looks essentially the same among clients with different goals, stop and analyze your approach.

Ask for feedback and mentorship from more experienced trainers for a fresh perspective. In fact, one of the best ways to deepen your knowledge is to hire your own trainer and experience a new approach firsthand.

Or, take continuing education workshops and certificates. Mix it up by attending different fitness classes. Exploring new modalities helps you expand your toolbox and better serve your clients. You never know what amazing techniques you might discover by trying a new style of workout.

 

If you recognize yourself in this article and are worried you’ve been doing it all wrong… that is 100% normal! You have to trust the learning process to make it in this industry, even when it’s uncomfortable.

Use this opportunity to identify your next step to becoming a better trainer. Pay attention to your clients and honor their unique needs. Focus on creating direct, goal-oriented workout plans and taking steps to expand your knowledge a little more every day. Stellar results are built one simple step at a time.

 
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Not Another Group Class?

Not another group class?! Stand out from the competition with group sessions that feel personal and get real results

Group exercise is a great way to reach more clients and make a broader impact in your community. But with most gyms offering an endless parade of overpacked classes, how do you stand out so your sessions don’t get lost in the crowd?

Not Another Group Class?

Stand out from the competition with group sessions that feel personal and get real results!

 
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Group exercise is a great way to reach more clients and make a broader impact in your community. But with most gyms offering an endless parade of overpacked classes, how do you stand out so your sessions don’t get lost in the crowd?
 
Classes are an accessible way for members to start working out, but risk losing the customized adjustments that make personal training so effective. With a proper game plan for your sessions, you can bring your signature coaching style into a group setting, creating a next-level experience. Follow these tips to streamline your group training style so your clients get the most out of their workout.

 

 

 

1. Introduce yourself to new attendees and keep an eye out for them.

 

New members will probably need some extra individual attention, while returning clients probably have the hang of following along. Introduce yourself and let newcomers know you’ll be coming around the room and making adjustments, so they’re prepared and comfortable with it.

 

Keep new members together at circuit stations so you can help them at the same time, instead of bouncing all over the room. The last thing you want is for other clients to need to play trainer because you couldn’t help someone out.

 

 

 

2. Make sure your members know got their back.

  

A confident attitude and communication let your clients know they can trust you. If they feel like they’re in good hands, they’ll keep coming back for more. Don’t wait for clients to approach you- put yourself out there. Encourage them to ask questions and request help.

 

Check in with new gym members before or after sessions. Make sure they know their way around the facility and what to expect from class. Supporting clients in feeling at home at the gym is one of the best ways to encourage them to stick to a new program.

 

 

 

3. Prepare your program and modifications in advance. 

 

Plan your sessions in advance and take the time to review them before class. You don’t want to get stuck stumped for the next exercise or end up with an imbalanced workout.

 

A group format means you’ll have people of all ages, strength levels, and fitness backgrounds. You’ll always have members who need modifications. Make sure you have those programmed in advance and any necessary props already set out so you don’t lose the flow of the class. Be prepared to demonstrate all movements, and to help attendees figure out how to set up any equipment.

 

If you have some more advanced members, you can also add some progressions to add a challenge. Keep an eye out for anyone attempting a variation beyond their skill level and help them adjust to the appropriate version.

 

 

4. Don’t trap yourself front and center.

 

Move around the room! You probably aren’t observing the room as well as you think you are from the front. I’ve had members tell me they’ll slack off when they think the trainer isn’t watching. Cover all your bases and keep your group motivated.

 

Being more involved with the entire room creates a stronger sense of connection with you as a leader. It shows that you’re involved and creates rapport when you can’t talk to each client individually. Plus, demonstrating exercises from different spots helps everyone get a closer look.

 

 

 

5. Program efficiently.

 

A group is way more hectic than a one-on-one session. You’ll have a whole room of people to keep track of- so keep it simple! Make sure you don’t intimidate newcomers away because the moves are too complicated.

 

Be careful with jumps or moves that get up and down off the floor- always offer low-impact variations. This keeps the workout safe and accessible for beginners and older members. You also want to watch out for moves that require extra mobility or balance. Focus on foundational basics and move up from there. Take note if any exercises tend to give a lot of members trouble- you may need to swap those out for something more accessible or take extra time to demo in the future.

These tips might seem simple, but many group exercise instructors aren’t using their full powers of observation or bringing a critical mind to programming in the same way a personal trainer does. Gym members know when they’re getting a quality experience, and that keeps them inspired to show up week after week. Treat your group sessions with the same care as your one-on-one clients, and you’ll make a powerful impact for even more people. I’ll be exploring the specifics of how to coach groups more in depth in future articles, so keep an eye out for part two!

 
 
 
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Success without the filter: 5 ways social media lies to new trainers

Success without the filter: 5 Ways Social Media Lies to new trainers Signup For Newsletter Name: Email: We respect your email privacy Endless perfectly posed snapshots, smiling guarantees of skyrocketing sales, shocking client transformations… when you’re scrolling your feed, it’s easy to believe training is simply getting paid to do fancy workouts.   That shiny … Continue reading “Success without the filter: 5 ways social media lies to new trainers”

Success without the filter:
5 Ways Social Media Lies to new trainers

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Endless perfectly posed snapshots, smiling guarantees of skyrocketing sales, shocking client transformations… when you’re scrolling your feed, it’s easy to believe training is simply getting paid to do fancy workouts.
 

That shiny vision is every bit as filtered as the photos.

 

Too many great trainers give up on their career way too early, disheartened by unrealistic expectations and feelings of failure. Online business coaches claim you can make huge sales your first month in the game; they’re just selling something. Nobody goes viral talking about the grind.

 

You become a great trainer on the job. So what if you passed an exam for a cert? That just means you know some basics. There is no replacement for hours on the gym floor.  Don’t expect to be handed a full client roster without the confidence and hard-earned skills you win through years of consistent action.

 

 

Being a trainer is a rewarding but complex career. It isn’t always glamorous. Social media is necessary for the modern fitness professional, but you can be smart about it and protect your passion from burnout. You need to understand these 5 problems before scrolling:

 

 

 

1. The comparison trap.


Social media inherently generates comparison… but it’s not reality.


Carefully composed pics leave both trainers and clients comparing their natural bodies to flexed physiques in perfect conditions. Fitness is about more than aesthetics, and you don’t need to look like a seasoned bodybuilder or a fitness model to be a successful trainer.


Keep in mind that many of your idols have been at this for years. They had to start from zero, too. Your year 1 is not comparable to someone else’s year 20…or 10, or even 5… whether you’re looking at business or performance.



2. Fitness models and influencers aren’t trainers.


If you want to be a content creator or a fitness model, those are valid career paths… and entirely different from being a trainer.  Content creation is an advertising gig. It looks good- but has nothing to do with the deep understanding of programming and personal interaction that marks a great coach.


Training involves a unique combination of skills: understanding many styles of workouts and different types of bodies, as well as sales and business.  You need the knowledge and flexibility to adjust for circumstances and goals completely different from your own.


The focus is on serving your clients, not yourself. You can watch a hundred viral workout videos, but the real gold comes from talking to experienced trainers. That’s where you’ll find insight on how to relate to a difficult client or adjust an exercise for someone with a disability.



3. Social media is only a highlight reel.


Camera-worthy content hides the daily reality of training. It’s not pretty, so failure gets completely ignored on social platforms.


Tiktok won’t show the exhausting days of hustling to fill your schedule, rushing to squeeze in your own workouts or clients who suddenly quit. Coaches post promises of constant income when in reality, for every client you book, you’ll lose count of how many times you hear “no”… or get ignored.


No post can teach you to navigate those situations. You just can’t skip the “suck phase”. You know that part- when it feels like you don’t know what the heck you’re doing. You have clients you don’t know how to program for, half your consultations no-shows, sales are mediocre, client retention is patchy at best, and you have no idea if you’re building real rapport.


This is 100% normal. It pushes you to expand and grow. But first… you gotta buckle up and accept the suck. This is what separates trainers who are truly willing to learn the trade. Turn every mistake into a lesson, and failure will become your greatest asset.




4. Social media pushes chasing views instead of clients.


Followers are not a measure of success as a trainer. We’re conditioned to reach for that dopamine hit with every like, but don’t let your IG popularity distract you from gaining valuable experience on the floor.


Watch out for circus trick workouts and fad diets. New and unusual content gets attention- that doesn’t mean it’s useful. Stick with tried-and-true methods based on science. Do real research before adopting a new technique.




5. Training is about more than a “before and after” photo.


Fitness is a lifestyle, not just a 6-week bikini body crash program. Meaningful progress is often slow. Few clients are going to have perfect adherence to a plan, especially if they’re new to fitness. It’s part of your job to set realistic expectations. Social media can only show visual results, so other forms of progress are often underrepresented. Movement quality, increased performance, decreased chronic pain, improved posture, and the list goes on… Explore different kinds of progress, both for yourself and for clients.


Building a business takes as much time and practice as building muscle. Don’t expect to go from 0 to 10 clients overnight.

 
 

So what does success for a new trainer actually look like?

You don’t tell a beginner client they’ll be deadlifting two times their body weight in no time. You focus on small increases every week. Do the same with your progress.

Track these markers over time:

  • Increased sales and higher percentage of sales conversion
  • Increased client retention
  • Happier client feedback
  • Feeling more confidence when prospecting, selling, and training
  • More effective programming, communication, and training style

Any measurable improvement in these areas demonstrates you’re on the right track!


Are there any positives to using social media?

Even if the most important aspects of training happen offline, social platform presence is crucial for a modern entrepreneur. Use it to your advantage with these tips:

  • Since so many people use social apps every day, regular posts are a great way to inspire people and remind them to stay on track.
  • Your platform is a tool to spread informative content rooted in facts instead of fads. Show your audience you’re knowledgeable and reliable, not just after likes.
  • You get to create authentic content that represents your values as a trainer and provides a hub for current and prospective clients.

Ultimately, social media is just a virtual tool. It can never capture the intensity of working hands-on with clients every day. Every moment that feels the exact opposite of Instagram-worthy is a stepping stone to success. Embrace unfiltered reality and milk each lesson for every drop of knowledge it contains. That’s the mark of a smart trainer playing to win the long game.


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What is Detric up to?

Detric Smith’s Weekly Wrap Up

DETRIC SMITH | WEEKLY WRAPUP

02.12.22

Detric’s Weekly Wrap Up

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 Trainer Tips

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CHECK OUT MY NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO: 

TOP 10 Landmine Exercises

 Stuff I’m Featured In

 

Check out my latest article that was originally featured on Muscle Fitness – “9 Top Coaches who shared the fitness trend that we hope would go away forever”

 What Am I Reading

 

 

 

Diets Don’t Work: Why Restrictive Eating Plans Fail And What Can You Do Instead – Tony Gentilcore

 

 

 

Fitness Culture And The Internet: The Absolute Worst Combination For Good Mental Health – Lee Boyce

 

 

 

 

Respect Your Season Of Life – Ace Fitness

 


Looking to become a better trainer? Make a career out of fitness?
Here is how we can help.

  • Send over your questions so they can be featured in our weekly Q and A
  • Sign up for our newsletter to get updates
  • Set up a no charge success session so we can discuss your goals in the fitness industry?

Looking to get into the best shape of your life?
Follow me over on my Results Performance Training site
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How To Be A Featured Fitness Writer

Writing about fitness and writing this well is a great way to reach new audiences, solidify your knowledge, get more personal training clients, earn more money, and be seen as a person who can be trusted. But none of this happens overnight. Much like your own training, you have to put in the reps.

How To Be A Featured
Fitness Writer

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The best way to get better at writing is to write more. Sometimes it is easy to overlook the obvious. But the best way to get your writing featured on well-known health and fitness websites, that’s a little less obvious.

Writing about fitness is a great way to reach new audiences, solidify your knowledge, get more personal training clients, earn more money, and be seen as a person who can be trusted. But none of this happens overnight. Much like your own training, you have to put in the reps.

Before we go any further let me get this out of the way. This isn’t going to be about the Xs and O’S on the skill of fitness writing. I’m assuming you know how to put together a few coherent sentences and your knowledge of the human body and coaching is up to snuff.

But this article will show you how and why writing about fitness helps your training career. Plus, I will share all the tips and advice I’ve picked up through my 20 years of training clients and writing for websites.

 

Let’s dive in. 

Before we go any further let me get this out of the way. This isn’t going to be about the Xs and O’S on the skill of fitness writing. I’m assuming you know how to put together a few coherent sentences and your knowledge of the human body and coaching is up to snuff.

But this article will show you how and why writing about fitness helps your training career. Plus, I will share all the tips and advice I’ve picked up through my 20 years of training clients and writing for websites

Let’s dive in. 

 

Where I’ve Been Featured

 

Okay, this is the part where I brag a little.  But this isn’t to show off but to prove to you I’ve put in the reps. Here are a couple of major publications I have written for.

 

  • Breaking Muscle
  • Stack
  • Bodybuilding.com
  • Elite FTS
  • Tony Gentilcore
  • NCSA

Not only have I written but major fitness sites such as Men’s Health and Men’s Journal interviewed me for my expertise. Plus, I regularly publish content for trainers over on my site detricsmith.com. Okay bragging over.

How Writing Helps Your Career

It’s pretty exciting to see your name in the by-line and it never gets old. There is a personal sense of satisfaction that people will read your work and get something out of it. Here are five other ways writing will help your career. 

Builds your reputation- this doesn’t happen overnight, but when people see you produce good work, you’ll develop a name for yourself in the industry.

Solidifies your knowledge-  I’ve attended dozens of conferences, tons of continuing education credits, and read hundreds of books. The best way to condense all this knowledge I’ve accumulated over 20 years is to write about it. Once it’s down on paper I can always refer back to it if need be. 

Positions you as an expert- Growing up reading fitness magazines, I used to hang on to every word and took this training advice as gospel. When someone reads your work, they may feel the same way too.  

Can add another income stream- if you are lucky enough to get compensated for your writing, it can add another income stream. Do not expect to get paid for your first few writing jobs. Have patience, put in the work, and focus on getting your work out there. 

 

Helps you get clients- when you can point potential clients to your written work or someone comes across your writing, they’re more likely to hire you than not. You want to be top of mind when they are ready to buy. 

6 Writing Tips To Help You Get Featured

Assuming you’ve read this far, and you are in it for the long haul, here I’ll outline a few tips and tricks that have helped me along the way. Again, this isn’t an x’s and o’s on writing. There are other people for that. It is my hope you take this advice and apply it to your own writing so you can also get featured on fitness websites

Hire A Coach

4 years ago, when this writing thing became serious, I hired Nick Tumminello to take me to the next level.  Nick explained to me that my writing was negative. My tone was one of writing down to people. There were no takeaways, and I was leaving the reader unfulfilled. This changed after I hired Nick. He also explained how to network my work to reach my ideal audience.   

Find Your Voice

There are tons of great fitness writers who may seem smarter and more qualified than you. But you have one thing over them. Your voice and your experience.  None of these writers have your voice, your perspective, and your set of experiences. 

If you’re struggling to find your own voice, take notes on writers who resonate with you. I bet they are authentic and tell a story with their writing. Think about how you can weave your perspective and experiences into your writing so the reader connects with you! 

 Write For Free

If you want to get featured and nobody knows who you are, then it is up to you to start making a name for yourself. And that starts with writing for free to display your talents. A good place to start is HARO where journalists are looking for people to contribute to stories. There you will get a feel for what magazines want and you’ll learn the art of writing and pitching your article ideas.

Read More

Read everything you can get your hands on. The act of reading is like osmosis for your brain. You will pick up vocab, style, ideas to write about and increase your knowledge. If you want to be a better writer, it starts with being a better reader.

Develop Relationships

When you read something that resonates with you,  reach out to the author or leave a comment on their page. Social media is an easy way to develop online relationships with other coaches and writers. When you develop a relationship, it will be much easier to ask them questions or  they might allow you to write a guest post. This is a great way to get your name out there.

Seek Editorial Opinion

You have to be a big boy or girl and let other people read your work. When you’re too close to your work, you don’t see your opinions rubbing people the wrong way. It’s also a great idea to have someone review your work for grammatical errors. Either way, it helps to have a second pair of eyes on your work. If you have developed relationships with your fellow coaches(point above), this will only make your work better.

Wrapping Up

 

Adding another string to your coaching bow with the written word will help you get clients, earn the respect and admiration of your fellow professionals, and add money to your wallet. Plus You’ll always enjoy the feeling of seeing your name up in lights. 


Looking to become a better trainer? Make a career out of fitness?
Here is how we can help.

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  • Sign up for our newsletter to get updates
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Looking to get into the best shape of your life?
Follow me over on my Results Performance Training site
https://resultsperformancetraining.com/

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Top 15 TRX Exercises

Top 15 TRX Exercises

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Looking to become a better trainer? Make a career out of fitness?
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Looking to get into the best shape of your life?
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Top 17 Push Up Variations

Top 17 Push up Variations

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Looking to become a better trainer? Make a career out of fitness?
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Looking to get into the best shape of your life?
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Top 20 Valslide Exercises

Top 20 Valslide Exercises

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  • Send over your questions so they can be featured in our weekly Q and A
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Looking to get into the best shape of your life?
Follow me over on my Results Performance Training site
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Top 10 Landmine Exercises

Top 10 Landmine Exercises

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Looking to become a better trainer? Make a career out of fitness?
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  • Send over your questions so they can be featured in our weekly Q and A
  • Sign up for our newsletter to get updates
  • Set up a no charge success session so we can discuss your goals in the fitness industry?

Looking to get into the best shape of your life?
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Fill out the contact form below!