Home Posts tagged "Personal Trainer" (Page 4)

Eric Cressey’s Best Articles: 2010

With 2010 winding down, I thought I'd use this last week of the year to direct you to some of the most popular content of the past 12 months here at EricCressey.com, as this "series" was quite popular last year.  Today, we start with the most popular articles of the year; these are the pieces that received the most traffic, according to my hosting statistics. 5 Reasons You Aren't Getting Stronger - This post came during the launch week of Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.  With some of the unique programming strategies outlined in Show and Go, it seemed like a good opportunity to outline some of the common mistakes folks make that I really sought to avoid when writing the program. How to Find Your Fitness Niche - The popularity of this post surprised me.  I suppose it means that I have more fitness professionals (and aspiring fitness professionals) reading my blog than I'd previously thought.  This piece discusses how I "fell" into my baseball training niche. Make My Kid Run Faster - Apparently, I'm not the only one who has to deal with the occasional crazy father who tells me how to train his kid! Clearing Up the Rotator Cuff Controversy - This post discusses my approach to structuring rotator cuff exercises throughout the training week. The Fascial Knock on Distance Running for Pitchers - This was a fun article to write because it combined a review (of Thomas Myers' presentation at Perform Better) with a summary of my own experiences training pitchers.  It's always great to take the perspective of another and see how it meshes with your own philosophy - whether it confirms or refutes what you're doing. High Performance Training without the Equipment (Installment 1) - I'm glad that I checked back on my statistics to find that this was so popular, as I haven't gotten around to writing any subsequent installments.  I'll pick it up soon. I'll be back soon with the top product reviews of 2010. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter:
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Camaraderie: The Most Important Part of a Successful Training Facility

Today, we continue with 'Stache Bash 2010 with another huge sale and another devastatingly good-looking mustache - and a very important message for those of you who (like me) own your own training facilities or hope to open one someday.

First off, the huge sale is pretty simple: everything on THIS PAGE (all collaborative products from Robertson, Hartman, and I) is on sale at 20% off.  This includes Assess & Correct, Building the Efficient Athlete, the Single-Leg Solution, Bulletproof Knees, Magnificent Mobility, Inside-Out, and the Indianapolis Performance Enhancement Seminar DVD Set.  You don't even have to enter a coupon code; you can just go purchase them all in one place, and the discount is already applied. As for the mustache and the important message, check out this video of yesterday's 4th Annual Cressey Performance Thanksgiving Day Lift, where we had about 30 people in attendance.  The horseshoe 'stache (minus the soul patch) makes an appearance at the 26-second mark.

At risk of sounding overconfident, things have gone well for us at Cressey Performance since we opened our doors in 2007.  We've had double digit percentage growth in each of the past three years and the job seems to get more and more fun each and every day.  In the next two months, we'll expand into an additional 1,000 square-feet.  I talked a lot about how we've attacked things to get to where we are in a previous blog post, Three Years of Cressey Performance: The Right Reasons and the Right Way.

One thing I'm not sure I've highlighted in my writing enough, though, is how important the camaraderie we have among our clientele is.  "Creating camaraderie" was never a bulletpointed objective in our business plan, but in hindsight, it was the single-most important factor in our gym not only "making it," but thriving in an economy where loads of other gyms were closing their doors just about every day.

Each year, the Thanksgiving Day lift reminds me of that, as for me, Thanksgiving is all about family. In other words, if you're going to spend a few hours with people on Thanksgiving morning (and get up ultra-early to do so on the morning after what is arguably the biggest partying night of the year), then you better enjoy the company of those people and see them as part of your extended family.  We had high school athletes, college athletes, professional athletes, weekend warriors, Moms and Dads, and former interns in to get after it from 7:30AM to 9:30AM - and it really meant a lot to our staff.  Sure, a lot of them were probably just there to see (and feel...and be photographed with) my mustache, but you get the point.

How do you create camaraderie among your clients?

  • You hire the right people, give them plenty of autonomy, and make sure their jobs are as fun and rewarding as possible so that they'll always be in the right mood to create and nurture friendships; there simply can't be bad days.  I heard from a commercial gym trainer the other day that his facility had 68% employee turnover the previous year; how do the members even know the staff - let alone become their friends - when they're gone within a month or two?
  • You treat everyone as individuals, even if they're in a semi-private or bootcamp-style training set-up.  This means you individualize with your programming and find time to interact with everyone, monitor their progress, ask about their families, or just shoot the breeze about who the Red Sox should sign this off-season.
  • You put results first and revenues second (some of the business coaches out there will hate me for this one).
  • You introduce clients to other clients and help expand their social networks.
  • You organize client events - whether it's a Thanksgiving morning lift, trip to a baseball playoff game or a boxing match, Halloween party, or a seminar for parents on how to keep young pitchers healthy.  And they don't even have to be huge gatherings; my family has had two of our pro baseball players with us at Thanksgiving each of the past two years, for instance.
The possibilities are endless in this regard, and the appropriate "strategies" (if you can even call "caring" a strategy) are going to be unique to each facility, but the end goal should always be the same: camaraderie.  If you're in the fitness industry and not working to create it both intentionally and unintentionally, you're missing out on an important component of being successful. Thanks for reading; I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  Don't forget to check out the 20% off sale on all the aforementioned products HERE.

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Cueing: Just One Piece of Semi-Private Training Success – Part 2

In Part 1, I talked about the importance of having an extensive set of effective cues to use with clients to get the ball rolling on a great training experience. However, cueing was just one piece of the coaching puzzle. It’s these other pieces that, in my eyes, make or break someone in the semi-private model. Here are a few of the factors you need to be successful as a semi-private coach: 1. Knowledge and Programming – As the adage goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” You need to have done your homework in order to not only write effective programming, but also know how to modify it based on individual needs. For this reason, I think that a lot of up-and-comers are actually smart to start off with some one-on-one training because it allows them to program specifically for a small number of clients and meticulously monitor the responses to those programs. And, it forces them to think through any modifications they need to make on those programs. As a frame of reference, when we hire a new employee, it takes approximately 6-12 months of education before I’m truly comfortable with them writing programs without me reviewing every one of them before the client sees the program. 2. Friendship – Here’s a straightforward one: if you’re a dork, loser, pain-in-the-ass, arrogant prick, or you smell bad, people aren’t going to want to be your friend. If they don’t want to be your friend, they certainly aren’t going to want to become your client – regardless of how good your programs and cues are. As an example, I’ve started a tradition of asking for reviews of interns at the six-week mark of their internship from some of our trusted clients. We just hand them a slip of paper with each intern’s name on it, and ask for the first two sentences that come to mind. One recent intern was not a popular one, as he received several negative responses, most notably “Kind of a douche. Not a good fit for CP.” Here was a kid who was enthusiastic, proactive, well-read, and had a strong resume – but none of it mattered because he sucked at making friends. This is a more crucial success factor in the semi-private model than one-on-one training, too. In personal training, you have time to cultivate very solid individual friendships with clients from the get-go because you have 2-4 hours of complete one-on-one time with them each week. You can ask about their kids, their vacation, their hemorrhoids, their stock portfolio, and their divorce settlement. When you have 3-6 other clients rolling at the same time, though, they chat with one another and not you – because you need to be busting your butt to keep things rolling on the training front. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll learn a ton about your clients over time and cultivate awesome friendships. In semi-private training, though, they’ll make a lot more friends beside you, too – and get results more affordably while you enjoy your job more. 3. Continuity – Semi-private models give rise to larger clienteles. A personal trainer might only be able to keep 20-30 clients at most, while in the semi-private model, coaches see a lot more people than that. As such, in businesses with more than one employee, you can’t expect to be present for every single training session. To keep the right flow, you have to hire and educate great people who you know will keep the trains running on time in your absence – whether it is with respect to programming, coaching, answering the phones, or just maintaining an unconditionally positive and energetic training environment. As a funny little example, I went on a quick trip to Orlando back in January after a speaking engagement in Tampa – so my business partners, Pete and Tony, were “manning the CP ship.” My fiancé and I were at Sea World, and I got a text message from CP client Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox: “Tony is fantastic. He really got the most out of me today. And Pete’s vert is legit.” I, of course, knew that Youk was screwing with me, and my business partners were laughing hysterically in the background because a) I am a workaholic and worry too much when I’m out of the office b) Pete’s vertical jump (37”) is slightly higher than mine (36”), and he doesn’t let me forget it. Truth be told, I was happy to be the target of the joke, as it meant that my staff was executing the exact program I’d written to a “T,” and they were joking around in the office (a sign that the place wasn’t in chaos, and they were keeping things fun and entertaining with the clients). At the same time, as much as you want continuity, it’s important to have employees with different abilities and unique traits that complement your own. For instance, Chris Howard, our newest employee, is a licensed massage therapist and has a master’s degree in nutrition. And, on a funnier note, the running joke among clients is that the second I leave, Tony puts techno music on the stereo. The clients get continuity with some variety, and Tony gets just a bit more feminine! 4. The Individual Touch – While it can be hard to completely make every client’s day when you might see 60-80 people over the course of a day, that doesn’t mean that you can’t go out of your way “after hours” to find ways to put smiles on their faces. One example: in our case (predominantly baseball players), we follow all our players – from middle school all the way to the pros – in the papers and email/text guys whenever they get some love in the press. I also make a ton of introductions between our high school players and college coaches from my extensive network on that front, or I make a phone call to find a place for our pro guys to train or get soft tissue work when they’re on the road in a city where I have a contact. Sometimes, it’s as simple as just going out there to watch a game and cheer for them. Other examples include sending thank you notes for referrals or merely connecting a client with a practitioner (e.g., manual therapy, sport-specific coach) in a related field. You may only see them five hours a week, but that gives you another 163 hours each week to be a valuable resource and friend to them. 5. Organization – My general rule of thumb is that every hour of training requires at least one hour of planning. Here are Cressey Performance’s hours: Mo: 12-7:30PM Tu: 8-9:30AM, 12-7:30PM We: 12-7:30PM Th: 12-7:30PM Fr: 8-9:30AM, 12-7:30PM Sa: 9AM-2PM That’s 45.5 hours (closer to 50 during busy seasons). My business partner, Pete, puts in about 40 hours a week on his own just handling billing, scheduling, phone duties, website maintenance, the CP blog, and other behind-the-scenes organizational tasks. I can tell you that both Tony and I spend about 6-8 hours per week on programming in addition to our coaching responsibilities, and I handle a lot of the phone calls and inquiries from agents and teams, plus the more complex questions that aren’t in Pete’s scope of expertise (exercise science). Chris Howard puts in a few hours a week on programming. There is always a staff in-service on Monday morning of at least 30 minutes. None of this includes the reading/continuing education we all do on our own, or the work Tony and I put in with our personal blogs, which are undoubtedly very influential in driving clients to Cressey Performance. And, it doesn’t cover any of the “after-hours tech support” from phone calls/text messages and Facebook/email messages that I think really separates us as a business. We are here to set the clients up for success, not just punch the clock and unlock/lock the doors. Wrap-up These are only five factors that quickly came to mind, and there are certainly many more that could have made this post much longer. Many of them will be influenced by your niche, business model, client-to-coach ratio, facility size and “flow,” hours of operation, amenities, and a host of other factors. Just make sure you’re looking past just the cues; there is much more to being a successful coach in a semi-private model.
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Cueing: Just One Piece of Semi-Private Training Success – Part 1

With the boom of semi-private training in recent years, there has also been a boom of questions from fitness professionals on how on Earth it is logistically possible to train several people when they may all come from different backgrounds and have different needs. Back in 2006, I was one of those people – so I can certainly speak from perspective. I did almost all one-on-one personal training for about a year from the summer of ’05 to the summer of ’06, when I moved to Boston and went out on my own as an independent contractor. When I arrived in Boston, all these questions on how to make it work in the semi-private model were rattling around my head. Admittedly, I entered this model cautiously, doing 50/50 private and semi-private training as I got my feet wet with it. By July of 2007, when I opened my own facility, every client was involved in the semi-private model and loving it for the affordability, camaraderie, and increased training frequency it afforded. It took time, but I’d learned the ropes. Now, three years in, I’ve taught it to an entire staff, plus the 22 interns we’ve had since we opened our doors. Looking back, I had been an idiot. I’d spent the overwhelming majority of 2003-2005 in college strength and conditioning settings – watching 18-22 year-old athletes thrive in a semi-private model (in the weight rooms, on the field/court, in the athletic training room, and in their courses and study halls). During my undergraduate years, I’d done an internship in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, where I watched people rehabilitate from near-death experiences – in a semi-private model. Physical therapy? Semi-private model. And, as Alwyn Cosgrove reminded me, his cancer treatments were done in a semi-private format – and he’d beaten Stage 4 cancer twice. There must be something to that. What was I missing, then? Very simply, I thought that “cueing” and “coaching” were synonymous. Basically, “cueing” amounts to knowing what to say, when to say it, and to whom to say it in order to elicit a desired change from a client. Ask anyone who has been successful in this industry, and they’ll tell you that your cues get better as you become more experienced as a coach. It’s why my staff and I can teach a new exercise to a client much faster than an intern can; we’ve built our “cueing thesaurus” to know what to say – and what to say as a modification if the first cue doesn’t get the job done. No doubt, having a good “cue” arsenal is huge. It’s essential for us in the first 8-12 weeks when we’re intensively teaching new clients technique and getting them ingrained in our system. If done correctly from the get-go, good cueing sets a client up for tremendous future success. If they know what “chest up” means on a deadlift, they’ll get it on a lunge, split-stance cable lift, or medicine ball drill. And, for me, this speaks volumes for why client retention of those who have been with us for 2-3 months or more is so imperative; they become “students of the game” and are actually easier to coach because they have more experience and a bigger exercise pool from which to draw because a) they’ve learned compound exercises (or derivatives of those exercises) and b) we’ve ironed out a lot of their imbalances. As a cool little story, since the summer of 2007, I’ve been training a kid who is has just finished his freshman year on a scholarship to pitch for a PAC-10 powerhouse. I know his college strength coach now – and he told me that this pitcher is like having an additional strength coach in the weight room. You want clients like that – because it means that you just have to write good programs, crank up the music, and continue to develop the friendships you’ve built with them. In reality, though, it isn’t always that easy. Cueing is just one piece of the coaching puzzle – and those other factors will be my focus in Part 2. - Eric Cressey
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CP Internship Blog by Sam Leahey – It’s the Person that Matters, not the Program

Today's guest blog comes from current Cressey Performance intern, Sam Leahey. Many of the valuable lessons an up and coming Strength & Conditioning Coach learns do not fall under the guides of content knowledge (coaching, program design, etc.). On the contrary, many educational moments manifest in a social sense (interpersonal skills). During my Cressey Performance internship, this semester I've come to appreciate even more so how a coach's success in the private sector of the profession (training facilities) is largely contingent upon the one's ability to interact with people in a respectful yet confident and authoritative manner. More specifically, "no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."  To this I would add, "no one cares how much you know and what results your program can give them, until they know how much you care about satisfying their personal needs." In other words, through trial and error I've learned that a client or athlete really has more interest in-whether they know or admit it-how you make them feel as a person as opposed to how well-written and effective your program is. While this may be true in the collegiate setting, I find this truism has a larger bearing on a coach's success in the private sector. This principle is discussed in the book Peak, by Chip Conley. He describes "The Customer Pyramid," which is a derivative of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. He articulates how, in business, if you do not satisfy the base level needs of your clientele, they will never have the "peak experience" that you wish for them to have.


When we apply this concept to our field, S&C and personal training, there are a few implications worth noting, starting with the first level and moving upward. First, clients coming through our doors expect to feel valued as people. They expect to be important to you and your business. When you treat people appropriately, it fosters satisfaction from the clients towards your business. This should only be the beginning of a customer's experience at your training facility because if it ended here then your business would never reach its highest potential.  This area is where we need to spend the most time investing in the customers' experience. Most importantly, we need to realize this step forms the foundation of our customers' experience, or, the base level of the pyramid. If you noticed in the depiction above the "Meets Expectations" category is the largest of the three. The bigger the base of our customer pyramid then the bigger the subsequent categories will be. We need to then aim to meet our customers' desires as well. It's pretty intuitive that a personal training client or athlete who is paying for your services actually desires results. But what's not so obvious I think is that because of the lack of true results in our profession, mainly from the stain of commercial gyms, our potential clients have put actual program "results" in the desires category instead of keeping it in the expectations category. Believe it or not, an athlete may have signed up to train with you who previously trained elsewhere and left the experience with absolutely no, or barely any, improvements in strength, power, speed, body composition, etc., (aka results). Therefore, clients of today - be it a soccer mom just looking for fat loss or an athlete trying to make the varsity team at school - may have lowered their standards for what they consider "results." If you can (and you should be able to)  give results to your clients, then they will be committed to you and your business because they know their money is well spent  and they're actually getting the results they desired when they signed up for training.


Now comes the final level: the "peak experience" we all would like our clients and athletes to have. If you're a business owner, you'd like to be able to guarantee each and every person who walks through your doors reaches this level. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that we really can't guarantee it. All we can do is keep buffering the base and middle level of the customer pyramid and the "needs" will take care of themselves. So, what exactly is the "peak experience" and what unrecognized needs does it meet? Honestly, we can't define it. All we can do is describe it. It's almost a surreal experience, one they didn't realize they would have before they came to your facility.  It's one that leaves each client evangelizing others and bringing in more customers better than any marketing plan ever could. It's to the point that a person can't even begin to think about training elsewhere because they "just HAVE to train at (your place)." It's that unique feeling someone gets when they walk through the door of your facility because they know what's about to transpire, and it's the feeling they leave with afterward. Some young athletes can have such a euphoric experience that they can't even fathom using equipment brands other than what you house at your facility. While that's an extreme case, it's a reality in some places and all goes under the "peak experience" category the folks at CP have worked to cultivate. The peak experience is best described as the culmination of environment and atmosphere CP provides its customers. It includes the interaction of staff members, interns, other customers, facility equipments, sights, sounds, etc. All these variables added together can help us describe that peak experience.

Conclusion Here I want to make myself vulnerable to the readers. Being young and eager to learn I've found it can be easy sometimes to get caught up in the scientific and technical side of things and effectively skip past the base level needs of some of the clients with whom I was working. Mistakenly, I wanted clients to have all their unrecognized needs met right away and right now! There were also times where I jumped right to coaching someone without taking the time to build a relationship with them first. While this might in some collegiate settings be acceptable, it does not yield a good outcome in the private sector. In fact, I would go as far as to say that as a college student this is the biggest mistake I've made in my learning process. There have been specific instances where an athlete simply did not like me because the very first day we met I was trying to coach him/her instead of trying to establish rapport first AND THEN coach him/her. Remember - "no one cares how much you know and what results your program can give them, until they know how much you care about satisfying their personal needs." Essentially I was skipping past this client's base level of needs to trying to cultivate higher lever needs first. I'm open and honest about my experiences for a couple reasons: 1.  I've always appreciated when those who have gone before me were candid about their mistakes so that young up-and-comers like me could learn from them. 2.  I think too many people subconsciously believe that just because someone is an internet author, they do everything right. You'd be surprised! Whether it's a big name in the profession or one of their interns everyone has made both big and small mistakes in their career. Some were easily recovered from while others might have even been so extreme that the outcomes were career ending. At any rate, we should all strive to learn from our own mistakes and that of others and be diligent to make a permanent change that will prevent us from screwing up again. Make sure we are investing most of our efforts satisfying base level needs of our clients before getting them up to higher levels. Sam Leahey CSCS, CPT can be reached at sam.leahey@gmail.com.

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The Best of 2009: Stuff that was Fun to Write

Thus far this week, we've covered the top articles, product reviews, videos, and guest submissions of the year.  Today, I just wanted to cover the stuff that was fun for me to write (or film) - and it isn't just exclusive to EricCressey.com. Birthday Blogging: 28 Years, 28 Favorites - I just remember that this thing rolled off my fingertips as I wrote it on my 28th birthday. What Folks are Saying about the Cressey Performance Majestic Fleece - I just remember that we had to film this about 47 times because none of us could stop laughing.

The Opportunity Cost of Your Time - I don't know why this one was fun to write, but it was.  I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that I started out at business school, and then moved over to the exercise science world to complete my undergraduate degree.

The Truth About Unstable Surface Training - This was actually introduced at the end of 2008 (and written in sections between 2005 and 2008), but deserves mention in light of its first full year of availability.  I'm most proud of this work because it took a ton of time to compile both the literature and our original research, which was the first of its kind.  Nobody had looked at how a long-term training lower-body unstable surface training intervention would affect healthy, trained athletes' performance.  This book presents not only those results, but a series of practical application recommendations that are of value to any strength coach, personal trainer, or other fitness professional.

Lower Back Savers Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 - Featured at T-Muscle, these were really fun to write because I had a chance to be dorky and practical at the same time, blending research with what we've anecdotally seen in those with lower back issues.  Honestly, I still have enough content to write a part 4, and that may come around in the next few months.
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Assess and Correct Now Available!

Today's a really exciting day for Mike Robertson, Bill Hartman, and I - and hopefully for you, too! You see, after months of planning, filming, and editing, our new product, Assess and Correct, is now available at www.AssessAndCorrect.com.  And, for the first week ONLY, we're making the product available for $30 off what will be the normal retail price.

Layout 1 Assess and Correct is the first resource that empowers you with not only a series of self-assessments to identify your own flexibility and stability limitations, but also exercise progressions to correct those inefficiencies.  In the process, you'll take your athletic performance to all new levels and prevent injuries from creeping up on you - whether you're a high-level athlete or someone who sits at a desk too much. With 27 self-assessments and 78 corresponding exercises, you'll cover virtually everything you need to feel and perform well. And, you'll have plenty of variety to use for many years to come!  And, while the DVDs alone are really comprehensive, the bonuses we've added to this really sweeten the deal.  Included in this package are:

  • DVD #1: Your Comprehensive Guide to Self-Assessment
  • DVD #2: Your Individualized Corrective Exercise Progressions
  • Bonus #1: The Assess and Correct Assessment E-Manual, which is a guide to which you can refer to in conjunction with DVD #1.
  • Bonus #2: The Assess and Correct E-Manual, which includes written cues and photos for each recommended drill in DVD #2 so that you'll have a resource you can take to the gym with you.
  • Bonus #3: "The Great Eight Static Stretches" E-Manual, which shows you eight additional flexibility drills that we use on a regular basis in addition to the drills featured in the DVDs.
  • Bonus #4: The "Optimal Self Myofascial Release" E-Manual, which shows you the soft tissue methods and techniques we use with our clients and athletes.
  • Bonus #5: "Warm-ups for Every Body" E-Manual, which is a collection of two sample warm-up templates for 19 different sports/scenarios.
Again, this introductory offer will end next Sunday, November 1 at midnight EST.  For now, though, I'd encourage you to head over to www.AssessAndCorrect.com to check out some of the sample videos from the DVDs - including the introduction in which we discuss our rationale for creating the product.
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Alwyn Cosgrove on “The Evolution of Personal Training”

Alwyn Cosgrove has been a great friend and mentor to me for almost five years now.  I can directly attribute a lot of the success I've had to the fantastic advice he's given me on the business side of things.  Since Alwyn just released a DVD (of a seminar I had the privilege of attending), I thought it'd be the perfect time to chat with him about the new product and some other thoughts he has on the state of the fitness industry.  If you make a living training clients, this is must-view material.


EC: In your experience, what are the biggest mistakes aspiring fitness professionals make? AC: Here are my top four: 1) They don't understand that they are running a business!!!! Most fitness professionals are running a hobby and trying to make money at it. That will never work long-term. Being a great trainer is imperative in today's market. You aren't going to succeed unless your skill-set is of a high enough level. However, it's not just training skills - that's only part of the big picture - the "client fulfillment "portion. It's also business skills. Michael Gerber - the author of The E-myth - calls this the seven essential skills: Leadership, Marketing, Money, Management, Lead Generation, Lead Conversion and Client Fulfillment.


You have to understand how to lead and motivate your team: leadership. You have to understand marketing, which results in lead generation. You have to have good sales skills - which converts leads to customers. And you have to be able to understand cash flow and operating expenses before you can create a profit. You need to have mindset AND skill-set before you can be successful. But skill-set consists of seven areas. Make sure you are studying each area (not just training) equally. 2) They don't understand the client mindset. Ask yourself these questions if you're a trainer: Do you think a good fitness professional is a valuable investment? Do you think a good fitness professional can get someone to their goals faster than they can get there on their own? Are you personally in the greatest physical condition of your life right now? Are you ecstatic with your own strength levels and conditioning? I bet that 80-90% of those who answered will say - yes, yes, no, no. So - extrapolating from that - what is YOUR trainers name? Why did you hire him or her? I bet most trainers don't even have training partners - never mind a coach to help them with programming and getting to the next level. In other words - if you tell me right now that you DON'T have a trainer - despite not being in the best shape of your life, not being ecstatic at your own fitness, and believing that a good trainer can get you there faster than you can alone, and is valuable --- then deep down - you don't believe that a trainer IS valuable. What I'm getting at - is WHY, despite all the knowledge and beliefs and goals, most trainers haven't hired (or used) another trainer to help them? It's the same reason prospects aren't hiring you -- they aren't in great shape, and maybe don't know (as we do) how much a trainer can help? Lawyers hire other lawyers. Barbers hire other barbers. Doctors see other doctors. So list the reasons why you didn't hire a trainer personally. That's why people don't hire you.  And that's the WHY we need to figure out for your next career move: the client mindset. "If you can see John Smith through John Smith's eyes, you can sell John Smith what John Smith buys." 3) They Don't Create TOMA. Have you ever had a client tell you that "I'm definitely going to hire you as my trainer, but I am going to lose ten pounds first!" I'm sure you have. But while we think it's crazy, it's a sign that you don't have weight loss TOMA in your area. TOMA is Top Of Mind Awareness. Are you the first person or business that jumps into a client's mind when they think "weight loss?" Or "sports conditioning?" Quick, name a soft drink company. I bet it was either Coca-Cola or Pepsi. What is the number one sneaker brand? I bet you came up with one of three names: Nike, Adidas, or Reebok.


Your goal with all of your marketing is to position yourself, in your area, for your target market as the "top of mind awareness" obvious choice for that particular topic. A lot of fitness businesses get hurt here by dividing their efforts and marketing to different demographics - and that's ok - but two demographics should mean two different campaigns - not two "half" campaigns. What do you want to be known for? This is something that you've actually done very well, Eric (probably before you actually had your business systems in place). Think baseball conditioning in Boston and Cressey Performance springs to mind. 4. They don't find mentors and coaches for the business side, and they don't mastermind with like-minded successful individuals. Okay, this is really two for one! Mentoring: "All successful individuals have coaches" - James Malinchak. Think about this: boxing and MMA are probably the ultimate "one-on-one" sports. Two guys, with no equipment (or even shirts!) face one another. But when you look back to the corner - there are usually three or more guys helping him. They include a coach (known as the "chief second") and several other teammates. To me, a mentor is nothing more than someone who is climbing or has climbed the mountain before you, and has reached back and is helping you up, way faster and easier than you can climb yourself. One of the fastest ways to success in any field is to find a mentor who will help you, and a "mastermind" group of likeminded people with whom to network. The key phrase there is "likeminded;" we've all had the situation of asking a family member or friend for feedback on a project and being shut down when they don't realize or understand the big picture. You need to be around people who are thinking the same way as you. Your mind is like a garden. Be careful what you plant in there. EC: That's fantastic stuff - and #4 certainly hits home for me, as you've been my primary mentor in getting my facility off the ground.  To that end, while all my education came via email exchanges between the two of us, you've now made it easier for folks to learn what's made you successful by introducing some products. Most recently, there is "The Evolution of Personal Training" DVD, and just a few months ago, you released "55 Fitness Business Tips for Success" book.  I've checked out each of them, and in my eyes, people should buy both!  However, can you go into a bit of detail on the difference between the two?


AC: The DVD is a live shoot of a presentation I did for Perform Better this year where I really go into detail about how to evolve your business in today's economy. The old methods of one-on-one training, weight-training-only workouts, and charging people for a "ten-pack" of sessions are just inadequate or outdated practices. I cover a few things in more detail - like transitioning into a semi-private model, repositioning yourself as a consultant as opposed to a "rep counter," and understanding the client or prospect mindset. If you don't understand that, you're dead in the water as a business owner. The book "55 Fitness Business Tips for Success" should have been titled "55 things that we did wrong when we opened our facility and somehow managed to survive, but make sure you don't repeat these!" It's kind of like a "pocket guide" to basic business tips for fitness professionals. And when I say "basic," I mean stuff everyone NEEDS to know and practice but usually don't! I tell my business coaching group to keep that book in their office and read a couple of pages every day to make sure you don't ignore anything crucial. EC: Thanks for the time, Alwyn. I'd strongly encourage those readers of mine in the fitness industry to check out these resources, as Alwyn's stuff is fantastic.  You can find out more and order at Alwyn's site.
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Static Posture Assessment Mistakes: Part 1

One of the big mistakes many people make in assessing static postures is that they think they can determine that the humerii are internally rotated just from looking at someone from in front, and seeing the tops of their hands (as opposed to the thumb-side, which would be more neutral).  So, in these folks' minds, this individual would need to stretch more into external rotation:


In reality, this individual is a professional pitcher and actually has far more external rotation (roughly 130 degrees on his throwing side) than ordinary folks.  Stretching him into external rotation could actually cause injury.

So, why are his palms turned backward like that?  Well, it's very simple: his scapulae are abducted, or winged.  When the scapular stabilizers - particularly the serratus anterior and lower trapezius are weak - the shoulder blades sit further out to the sides.  The humerii are in normal, but their "foundation" (the scapulae) have been moved.

For more information on optimal assessment techniques, check out Assess and Correct.

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