Stronger Sundays

Dominate your fitness business with this weekly collection of strategies, tips, and tricks.
By trainers, for trainers.


Quote of the week:

"The weight room doesn’t care what sport you play. Train with correct technique, solid programming, enthusiasm, and commitment and you will get the desired results regardless of your athletic specialty."
                                                                                          - Joe Kenn on Twitter
Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. One of my clients died today
  2. More work, less drama
  3. Why your training experience matters
  4. Holy schnikes, it’s good
1. One of my clients died today - Laura Flynn Endres

This was originally posted in Fit Pros Unite, our free Facebook community for personal trainers.

One of my clients died today.

His name was Don. Retired teacher. He was 85. I’ve been working with him exactly one year this week.

He had some pretty significant health issues and was well outside of what is reasonable regarding scope of practice and liability. But his doctor cleared us because Don really wanted to do it, and he had nothing to lose because he wasn’t going to get better by lying in bed.

I really meant to turn him away, but he was just so affable and sweet and appreciative. At the end of our initial consultation, he hugged me and said, "You’re family now."

His caregiver messaged me yesterday and my intuition told me it was bad news. I waited to call her until I was done seeing clients, and that was the right decision. He was failing and his kids were flying in to be there for the end. I spent the rest of the day in tears.

I didn’t know if I should reach out today. I felt like I fall into that gray category—not family, maybe not on the short list of people to notify. But when you train people in their home, it does feel a bit like family.

Turns out, I was on the short list of people to notify.

When his caregiver called to tell me, she shocked me by saying that his wife, who I also train, wanted me to come for our regularly scheduled workout. She feels better when she sees me.

I’ve never been a "just workouts" kind of trainer. We’re not just in the fitness and health business, we’re in the people business. We’re doing important work here.
2. More work, less drama

"We all have to-do lists," writes Jeb Stuart Johnston. "But sometimes the most important list is the not-to-do."

Johnston’s argument is painfully logical: We all do things "that make our lives exponentially worse with no visible benefit." For him, it’s drinking alcohol. For someone else, it might be spending too much time on social media.

Nick Tumminello is not in the latter group. As he noted in a recent post, he wouldn’t be on social media at all if he didn’t need it for his business. Even then, he says, "I use my social media. It doesn’t use me."

The takeaway: "The main reason I don’t spend much time in social media is simple," Tumminello says. "I like training, not drama."

Go deeper: That minimalist approach isn’t for everyone. But for those of us enjoy spending time on social media, how much is too much? Where do you draw the line?
3. Why your training experience matters

Researchers have a saying: "The plural of ‘anecdote’ isn’t ‘data.’"

The idea, of course, is that we shouldn’t read too much into n=1 results, whether they come from our own workouts or those we design for our clients.

But that doesn’t mean we should ignore those results, or assume they’re meaningless in the absence of peer-reviewed studies to validate our methods. "The best applied research comes from the field," says Brad Schoenfeld.  

Schoenfeld is a prolific researcher, with more than 100 published studies and new ones almost every month. And virtually all of them, he says, "are inspired by my vast previous experience as a trainer and bodybuilder prior to becoming a researcher."

The takeaway: "The best researchers embrace practice to help guide research," Schoenfeld says, "and the best practitioners embrace research to help guide practice."
4. Holy schnikes, it’s good - Jonathan Goodman

February is a huge month for me. As you may have heard, I have a new book coming out February 17: The Wealthy Fit Pro’s Guide to Getting Clients and Referrals. (Preorder here.)

It’s my final book for personal trainers, and holy schnikes, it’s good.

It’s also a huge month for my company.

This week we begin coaching our first beta cohort for Online Trainer Academy Level 2.

It’s a small group of 20 trainers, all of whom were invited. We decided early on not to announce it publicly because we wouldn't have been able to handle the influx of applications.

Knowing that is both a blessing and a curse. While others practically beg people to join their business coaching, we have so much demand that we're forced to devise strategies to keep it quiet and not let people know.

It’s actually harder than it sounds. Just to pick one example, as we built out the digital components for OTA 2, we had our development team add extra code that hides mention of the program from anyone who doesn’t have access to it. We knew we'd get too much interest from our current students.

The plan is to coach three or four beta groups for eight weeks at a time. They’ll help us refine our approach so when we open up enrollment all our Online Trainer Academy Level 1 graduates later this year, we’ll know it’s something we can stake our reputation on.

But the program, though? Holy schnikes, it’s good.

**Thanks for reading. What to do next**

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