Hey, ! This is geared towards my trainers and coaches who have been in the game roughly 2 years or less, but can’t hurt the seasoned vets to have a check in with this as well.
You have made the decision to make a career out of coaching/training and accepted that you will have weird hours, constantly deal with all sorts of people, all the while you need to train and educate yourself to maintain sanity and kick ass. Excellent! Now, how do you go about executing your training process, and what is the why behind what you do and how you do it? Essentially, at some point, you need to ask yourself,
what is your approach to coaching and what are some of your coaching philosophies?
This doesn’t have to be a book, nor does it have to be a single sentence, and if you don’t have an immediate answer that’s OK too. Simply do a brain dump and write/type whatever comes to mind- no method to the madness.
Some things to consider when performing this brain dump are as follows,
- Why did I start training?
- What do I enjoy about training?
- What do I hate about training?
- What aspects of coaching am I good at?
- What aspects of coaching do I suck at?
- Who do I look up to and wish to emulate in the fitness industry?
Writing down the answers to these questions, you will find patterns and lots of common ground that can help you get a gauge for what you are all about.
98.69% of us are in this industry for one of two reasons
A) We competed in sports for a long-ass time and enjoyed the environment and aspects of training, so we decided to make a career out of it
B) We were once out of shape or potentially wanted to change our aesthetics, and training gave us the tools we needed to get that done. So, we latched on and decided to make a career out of it.
Obviously we attach ourselves to training beyond reasons of looking sexy or to be an athlete, but the bulk of it will stem from one of these two reasons, both of which involve the process of training to elicit a certain response.
If I competed in bodybuilding, or trained with one in the past, there is a damn good chance that’s how I will go about training my clients- back day, leg day, you know how those splits go.
If I was an athlete, there is a high chance I will use aspects of that training when I coach and program for my clients- utilizing power, strength, dynamic warms ups, big lifts, and other athletic training regimes.
Having a training template is awesome for being efficient when developing training programs for your population, but understanding what the bulk of the population you deal with (gen pop, athletes, geriatric, youth) will also play a major role in your templates.
Reps, reps, reps. Again, if you are early in your training career, working at a big box gym, or somewhere that you will be cranking out sessions morning, day and/or night- pure volume. This will help you not only establish what you are all about, but will help you deal with a multitude of populations and personality types for the future. Along with the other multitude of benefits of doing a shit load of sessions, you can see how people respond to you and your coaching. Not just physiologically, but psychologically with things like tone, body language, and general interaction with lots of humans. Retention rate can also be tracked by doing this, and as much as we don’t like to “sell,” you get lots of practice at this and your “elevator pitch.” I hate using the word sell when it comes to potential clients, but the reality is that this is part of our job, if you are in the private sector, and you might as well try and get decent at it.
Get out there and network- for the love of god!
If you are reading this then I’m damn sure you are already doing these things BUT here is a small list anyway:
- going to seminars
- reading training blogs from the best in the business
- reaching out and asking questions to successful people you look up to
- continuing education credits (depending on certifying bodies)
Not all continuing education will make you rethink certain things, in fact some may help you reinforce your way of thinking/doing things, because you are dead sure that whatever you have just attended is horse shit. Knowing what you are NOT about is almost as important as knowing what you ARE about.
For example- this doesn’t mean if you are against CrossFit you go around posting about it or hating on it in public forums but simply you know what systems work for you, and you know which ones don’t. Rationale here is that if you know you don’t stand for X, and you have your whys behind what you do stand for, it can help when being confident and educating your clients, or potential clients.
“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”
When I first heard this I got a raging baby carrot. Earlier in my career I thought 90% of the game was getting certs and being the smartest coach. After hearing this, it made me reflect because although I have certs and do continuing education, none of my clients really give two shits, maybe they give one, but the reality is they don’t know the difference between a C.S.C.S and an F.A.R.T certification. I am not discrediting certs and education here just stating that the people you will deal with care more that you have rationale behind what you do with them and for them, so simply explaining new things to them and the why should suffice, and it can demonstrate that you care about them (letting them know via conversation every now and then is excellent as well).
Even for veterans and established fitness professionals simple reflection is a great tool. Refreshing and thinking about the bus you have taken to get to this point can be both motivating and humbling. I am currently reading the book “Legacy,” about the New Zealand all blacks, and one thing they do after every game is sweep the sheds. No one on the team is ever too good or too established to go back to the basics and sweep the sheds.
I like to think of the sweep the sheds mentality in life, including us as fitness professionals. It never hurts to go back to your why and remember the bus that got you where you are, and where you are continuing to go.