Jan 22

The One Thing No One Can Ever Take From You

P1010194For years I ran a successful Personal Training business, being one of the first people in the country, if not the first, to open a 100% full-facility, yet full-service personal training to any and all clients. You came in, you got trained, every single day, every single time, no appointment necessary. I did no marketing, no advertising outside of wearing my logoed gear wherever I went, and I made no sales calls. Ran a yellow pages ad back then for one year with no success so I killed that. I simply did my job, or as my dad used to say, “Handle y’business, boy!”  I learned at an early age that in life AND business the one thing that I have, the one thing that no one can EVER take away from me, is my word. I promised people that if they joined my facility, every time they came in, they’d get my attention. And they did. They came to rely on my word – my word of helping them achieve their fitness goals, whether those goals be weight/fat loss, competition, rehabilitation, or just looking better, feeling better, and functioning better. And they spread word of ‘Doc’ doing what he said he’d do – you show up, he’ll work with you.



Some of you may remember the old TV show, Cheers, in which the opening song’s lyrics said:

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.

Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you wanna go..

Where everybody knows your name

and they’re always glad you came.

You wanna be where you can see,

the troubles are all the same.

you wanna be where everybody knows your name.

That was our atmosphere back then. And every client, within a week or two of joining, would make the comment, “Wow…coming in here feels like walking into Cheers! You open that front door and everyone calls out your name!” That’s the reputation I wanted to project. And I’d like to believe that I did. My clients loved the fact that when they came in, within a couple of days, everyone knew their names, and they knew they’d get the service they paid for. Even today, with retirement so close that I can taste it (I just hate saying that I’m ‘retired’…kinda makes me feel old), I’d still like to believe that I stand by my word. If anyone hires me to do choreography, I go above and beyond what they expected and paid for. Same with music editing. Even when selling my apparel through BuffedWear.com, I strive to provide the highest quality garments that I can find, and still offer a reasonable price. It’s a win-win situation. The client/customer gets great service and I feel good knowing that I did a good job with no complaints.

Center CollisionHere’s another great example of great service and standing by your word. Recently my car was hit in a small fender-bender parking lot accident at Winco. The young man had insurance so I took my car to a guy I went to years ago when he was working out of his garage just getting started – Kevin House of Center Collision Autobody Repair. Even though I hadn’t been to him in quite some time, I’d referred many people to Kev over the years, including several family members. Kevin promised he’d take good care of them, and he did. And when I went to see him after all these years, he made, once again, the same promise to me. I trusted him to do so. But when I got my car back…WOW! I certainly wasn’t expecting all of that for a small bumper repair! My car was detailed inside and out. I mean CLEAN!! A piece of interior side door molding that was lying on the back seat was put back on. An exterior piece of door trim THAT I’D BROKEN OFF was repaired/replaced at no additional cost. Do you think I’m going to take my business back to Kevin? Every. Single. Time. And I’m also going to refer to him anyone who asks about a good autobody shop. Heck, look what I’m doing now! Just writing about it will give Kevin House of Center Collision positive exposure and free advertising. All because he stood by his word.

Okay…lemme bring this home…

In the fitness industry, there are horrible trainers/coaches and horrible clients/competitors. Let’s start with the coaches/trainers.

personal-trainer-you-must-know-so-much-about-liftingCoaches, you have one job. DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO! And the ONLY way you’ll know WHAT to do is for you to have a plan of action! This plan of action needs to be written down and handed to each and every one of your clients so that THEY know what to expect from YOU!  Do you have a contract? What services will you offer? What kind of packages do you have? What are your rates? Hours? Do you work weekends? Holidays? How long are the training sessions? What do they entail? Do you offer nutritional counseling? Rehab services? What is your educational background and/or certifications, and no, I’m not talkin’ ‘bout that ‘bro science’ crap of you having spent years in the gym and know what you’re doing. Real knowledge comes from the books. And then you add your experience on top of it. And for those that think otherwise, I’ll be glad to have a battle of wits with you concerning the human body.

Remember, your clients come to YOU with injuries, complaints, and issues/conditions. If you aren’t knowledgeable in not only the anatomy and physiology of the human body, but also have a good grasp of movement principles through biomechanics and kinesiology, how can you adequately provide a quality service to your clients? How can you effectively help them when they say “My shoulder hurts”, or “My knee is bothering me.” Here’s a little free advice. If you thought ANYTHING other than referring said person to a qualified doctor for a diagnose before you do ANYTHING, then you’re wrong. How can you treat someone when you don’t know what the problem is? Did you know that there are several major shoulder issues that all require different treatment modalities and rehabilitation? Same with the knees and literally all other major body parts. It’s not as simple as “Well, let’s just lighten the weights for a week or two and see how you feel…”, or even better, “You’re fine! We’ll just work around it! Remember, No Pain, No Gain!”  Bruhhhh……..

Personal Trainer - goes to the gym thinks he's a personal trainerYeah, yeah…some of you are shaking your heads, rollin’ eyeballs, and furrowing eyebrows thinking, “There goes Doc again…off on a tangent…” Okay, I’ll bite. Lemme ask you coaches and trainers a question. If you needed surgery tomorrow, say a hip replacement or, heaven forbid, brain surgery, would you want a doctor who ‘kinda’ knew what he was doing? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I don’t think I’d want a surgeon who told me, when asked what his qualifications were, “Well, I spent several years hanging around the hospitals and watching other doctors, and every now and then I’d jump in myself just to make sure I understood what was going on so I could better operate on you…” Yeah…I don’t think that’d fly very well with me. How about you? Your clients deserve your best. Give it to them.

Other points of contention that I’ve heard over the years concerning trainers and coaches (feel free to get pissed. If the shoe fits…) Do you show up on time/are you consistently late? Do you cancel on your clients on a regular basis? Do you cut their time short, i.e., leave early? Do you spend more time checking your phone rather than training your client? Do you push them to where they need assistance or just stand off in a corner counting reps poppin’ gum? Do you encourage them, or are the two most used words out of your mouth, “Good job…good job…”? Are you dressed professionally and clean or did you just finish your own workout in which you’re all stinky, sweaty, and smelly?  Do you talk to everyone else while ‘training/spotting’ your client and not pay attention to them? All of these, and more, are poor signs of a professional coach/trainer. Don’t be that trainer. Stand by your word.

On to clients/competitors…

Personal trainer - stop cheating on your dietClients, your word is your bond, your contract with your trainer (and yourself). Why even have a Personal Trainer if you aren’t going to do what they say? I mean, I’ve got better things to do with my money than give it to someone for advice on what I should do, or training I should partake in, AND THEN DON’T DO IT!! I’m sure your trainer doesn’t mind though. In many instances, it’s easy money. I’ve had clients  pay me up front for personal training and never show up. Nutrition plan in hand, and out the door they’d go, never to be seen again. Did I call them? No. I’m not their babysitter. I’m their trainer. They gave me their word they’d show up. They didn’t. How is that my fault?

Every year in January we see gyms and clubs swell with millions of new clients. Two months later we hear crickets. How does that happen? Even with a few lousy trainers, there shouldn’t be that big of a fall-off that fast, yet every single year since I first started noticing this phenomenon (back in the early 1970’s), it’s been this way. I’ve said it before. People fail on themselves. They don’t stand on their own word. If there’s one person I HATE to let down, it’s ME! I love me, and if I say I’m gonna do something, then I do it! I hate going to bed being my day’s biggest disappointment. I hate playing the “I wish…” game with myself nightly. So I handle my business. I say what I’m going to do, and in many instances I’ll even write it down, and then I’ll start knocking it out. Whether it’s a project around the house or getting my butt out of bed and jumping on cardio, it gets done. Lifting weights? Doesn’t matter if my workout partner(s) show up. I’ll get out there and handle my business. Following my nutrition? You betcha, because nothing tastes as good as lean feels or looks. At the end of the day, I have to feel good about ME. And the ONLY way I can do that is to stand on my word.

For those that struggle with this, don’t you get tired of disappointing yourself? Yes, it’s going to be hard. Yes, you’ll have to sacrifice, suffer, endure, and all the other adjectives that go along with achievement. But in the end, when you’re standing in front of the mirror in you new size whatever, you can look YOU in the eye and say, “I did this! And no one BUT ME can take it away from me!” Do you know how powerful that is? So promise me this…make a pact with yourself. A bond that no one can break but you, because it’s your word. And go do it. I believe in you. The bigger question is, do you believe in yourself? I sure hope so!

Little girl shrugging - That moment when your Competition Coach

Competitors – you’re the final group I’m gonna rip into. I’ve had so many competitors over the years pay me up for contest prep yet never make their shows. One excuse after another. Yet the reality is, for the most part, they kept breaking their diet. It wasn’t their training. They all had the work ethic. For a few, it was the cardio, but with the new science out on training and nutrition, the endless double sessions of cardio can become a thing of the past. BUT you’d better believe that your nutrition had better be on point!

Nothing magical here, folks. Diet is a HUGE part of contest prep, and you’re not going to get there being weak-minded. You have to tough it out. If you can’t, then get out the game. Unless, of course, you like taking nasty…a term we used in the ‘hood meaning dead last. You didn’t wanna be the guy who took nasty. That means making sure you’re locked-n-loaded mentally, because that’s where your battle is.

Yes, life will get in the way. And when it does, you must decide whether you’ll let life win this time or whether you’ll put life on hold, because that’s pretty much how it is. Ask any great athlete, and he or she will tell you that sacrifice was par for the course. What did they have to sacrifice versus what you’ll have to sacrifice? That’s immaterial. Just understand that all sacrifice. I suppose the better question is, to what degree are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your greatness? Trust me, it won’t come without a cost. But if you give your word to follow through with a contest prep, then unless hell freezes over, you’d better stand on your word!

Arnold - The mind always fails first not the bodyIn today’s social media blitzkrieg, I see constant daily postings of people saying they’re getting ready for a show, and how they’re gonna kill it, crush it, beastmode it, and all the other superlatives. Pictures of change abound weekly, if not daily. But then they hit that proverbial wall. Just like two months after the new year when the gyms empty out, around 8-10 weeks out from a show, if not sooner, you start hearing crickets as competitors start falling by the wayside as the dieting hits them. They can’t hang. To me that simply means their word meant nothing. They lied. Life didn’t get in their way. They just lost it mentally and couldn’t stand on their own word.

The other scenario you start hearing is the excuses concerning their look and how they ‘gave it their best shot’ prepping for the show, yet they look like crap. Seriously? If you gave it your best shot, and you gave it enough time, you should look freakin’ amazing! Not Flex Wheeler, Ronnie Coleman, or Dana Linn Bailey amazing, but damn good for the amount of time and work you’ve put in. If not, then you didn’t stand on your word to hold diet, to do your cardio, to follow the plan set forth before you. And the sad thing is, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Training is either easy or effective - never both

Your word is your pledge, your bond with no one but you. If you can’t trust and stand on your own word, how will you survive this fitness thing called competition, or at the very least, this thing known as looking better, feeling better, and functioning better? Be better. Do better. Become better. Now go do work….




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