What’s up Faction? Can you believe it? It’s week 16. The semester is almost over. Did it go fast? It always does! I’m finishing my 7th semester—more than two full years in the Faction. In those two + years, I’m made a lot of changes, both personally and professionally, but they didn’t happen overnight—it took time and patience. In the last sixteen weeks, I’m sure you’ve learned a lot and made many great connections. For me though, one semester would not have been enough to accomplish all I have. Strength Faction is all about playing the long game. My suggestion? Stick around a while. Here are a few of the ways making a long term commitment to the Faction has paid huge dividends for me.
Connect with more people
It’s the people that make the Faction so great. If this was your first semester, you had a mentor. I’m sure they did a killer job of guiding you and answering all your questions. They were there for you. If you stick around, you won’t be assigned a mentor again, but you know what? They’ll still be your friend. You mentor has been through the wars. They’ve seen it all. Continue to take advantage of their experience. If you have a question or a problem, they’ve probably dealt with it before themselves, and if not, they can point you in the right direction to find the answers you need. Take advantage of them. They like it.
Did you take advantage of the accountability buddy program? No?! You missed out on one of the biggest layups of the Faction. You did? Excellent. Imagine if you got to know that person even better? Tell each other about your goals and the things you’re trying to accomplish. Setup a schedule to check in with each other and keep each other on track. When you get busy and fall behind, they’ll be there to remind you why you joined the Faction and of what you’re trying to accomplish. I’ve had four different buddies. I’ve learned something new from each of them. My last one has become a friend and trusted professional colleague.
In my first semester, I met a lot of awesome people, but there are so many great people in the Faction. Even in 16 weeks, it’s hard to connect with all of them. Steal their knowledge. Hear about their experiences. Connect on social media. Expand your network. I had been in New York for almost 3 years and knew hardly any trainers outside of the people I worked with. Now I know several trainers and quality facilities in this great city. I’ve learned from these people. I’ve been able to help friends and clients by having a better network to refer them to. I’ve not only made professional connections, I’ve made lifelong friends.
Continue to participate
One of the reasons I think I’ve gotten so much out of the Faction is that I’ve participated in almost everything it has to offer. How great are the weekly Q&As? We’ve had the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of some of the biggest names in the fitness industry. Showdub never misses a chance to ask them to be Facebook friends. Every semester is like that. New guests join us and some come back for a second, third, fourth… chance to pick their brain. Are you a business owner or looking to start a business? I bet you learned a ton from the business chats with Pete Dupuis, but businesses need to constantly improve, adapt and evolve. Pete is always looking for ways to make CSP even better and you can continue to take that knowledge back to your business by spending even more Thursday mornings with him.
The Facebook group is a great opportunity to learn, get to know people and show a bit of your personality. As a coach, trainer, or business owner, the questions never end. New scenarios are always coming up. Having that Facebook group gives you a safe place to ask a question and get advice advice from great people who have dealt with the same thing before. It’s also a place to answer questions for others, share your expertise and strengthen your connection with others in the Faction.
More time with the lessons
The lessons provide the backbone of the information that will lead to your personal and professional change. They cover everything from organization, programming, coaching, expansion and nutrition. With a new emphasis every four weeks and a new lesson, sometimes more, almost every day, it can be tough to keep up with all of them, let alone implement all the great information in one semester. I made a ton of changes to the way I do things, both personally and professionally, after I read each of them the first time. Each semester since then, for the past two years, I’ve tried to make time for each lesson again—even the ones I’ve read many times before. It helps to remember all the good ideas I picked up the first time, and I always learn something new. If I missed a lesson, I can always catch it during next semester. By planning to stick around, you can really go deep in one area, like programming, and spend all 17 weeks knocking that out of the park. Next semester, you can switch your major to something else, like coaching.
Change your body with the workouts and nutrition program
Writing workouts for yourself is a huge pain in the ass. After doing it for my clients all week, it’s the last thing I want to do for myself. For the past two years, I’ve had world class, progressive and periodized workouts written for me each week. I’ve been able to experience all the “Seasons of Lifting,” add variety when I was bored, and continue to see great progress as evident by my pictures and reassessment each semester. It’s also allowed me to continue to experience the workouts while going back over the programming and movement lessons again and again.
Nutrition changes take time for your clients and they may take time for you as well. I’ve made a lot of changes. I bought a blender. I learned some new recipes. Maybe there’s another meal you’d like to make improvements with, or maybe it’s learning how to eat more vegetables. Every time I read the nutrition lessons, I make a small change in my diet. I look and feel better, and I have better conversations with my clients.
Strength Faction is the best thing I’ve done personally and professionally for myself in the past two years. It has changed my life and I still don’t think I’ve taken advantage of everything it has to offer. When I signed up for Strength Faction, I planned to do it for one semester and then move on. I’m so happy that I didn’t. I would not have learned all that I have, made as many connections or created as many opportunities. I think all of the other Faction vets who are out there killing it would agree with me when I say one of our best decisions was to stay in this community as long as we have!