Stronger Sundays

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


Quote of the week:

"You can’t have what you want while at the same time not wanting the risk and responsibility that comes along with it. Nobody gets to be the adjective without repeatedly doing the verb."
                                                                                          - Brett Bartholomew on Twitter
Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas diet
  2. How not to talk about nutrition
  3. Success is mysterious
  4. When you enter somebody’s dream
1. Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas diet - Bryan Krahn

Every year, at least one client asks me about dieting over Christmas. I can see why. The structure of being "on a diet" helps prevent overeating for some (but not all).  

Despite all you’ve heard about the impossibility of dieting during the chaos of the holidays, it’s actually not that hard. In fact, it’s entirely possible to diet and still enjoy everything that makes the season special—family, parties, food, and perhaps a bit of debauchery.

Here’s one way to make it work during the three and a half weeks between now and New Year’s Day.

Week 1 (December 9 to 15): Set an aggressive deficit. I recommend at least 500 calories below maintenance, or whatever is tolerable for you. Have a single refeed meal on the weekend, but stay strict until then.

Week 1 (December 16 to 22): Same deal. Diet hard all week, with a single high-calorie opportunity on the weekend. (Weekday Christmas party to attend? Sucks. Enjoy the mistletoe.)

Christmas week (December 23 to 30): Eat. Come on, it’s Christmas. Get back on the diet December 26, and stay with it until ...

New Year’s Eve: Blow it out. Drink, eat, drink some more. Even with a hangover, you’ll still look better on January 1 than you would have without the holiday diet.

The takeaway: It’s entirely possible for your clients to lose fat while still enjoying the season, as long as they follow this simple rule: Plan your non-diet days in advance, and diet around them accordingly.

Go deeper: Confused about how to give your clients nutrition advice, or whether you can offer any at all? Check out these recently updated articles:

--> Personal Trainer Nutrition Guidance 101

--> Can Personal Trainers Give Diet and Nutrition Advice to Clients?
2. How not to talk about nutrition

Knowledge of diet and nutrition varies widely from one fitness pro to the next. But the worst kind of "expert," says Andy Galpin in this Twitter thread, is the one who says things like this:

"The human body should never eat processed foods because they're ‘unnatural’ and are the cause of 99 percent of our health problems. Also, avoid all fruits because they are no longer in their natural state. Here's proof.

A study in 1984 [and by ‘study,’ they mean a magazine article quoting a study about an entirely different topic] showed how archeologists believe grapes are 300 percent larger than they used to be! [Instead of containing 0.1 grams of sugar per grape, they now have 0.3, which is not even remotely important physiologically. But the percentage sounds way scarier.]

We also know [and by ‘know,’ they mean proven beyond a doubt in a documentary] that sugar is the single leading cause of all obesity, cancer, and lowered sex drive, and it immediately stops autophagy. That’s why you should never, ever, ever eat these ‘unnatural’ foods."

The punchline: People who say things like this will also tell you not to trust people who teach nutrition science—you know, the ones who’ve actually studied the subject.
3. Success is mysterious - Lou Schuler     

I used to keep a Suzanne Somers quote on the wall of my office. It was from an oral history of American Graffiti, a modest movie about a pivotal night in the lives of some small-town teens.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know Somers plays the mysterious blonde in a Thunderbird. You also know Somers wasn’t the only cast member who went on to become a movie or TV star. (The previously unknown director did okay too.)

As I recall, the quote was pretty close to what Somers says toward the end of this clip:

"I thought it was kind of a dumb movie. I didn’t understand it. I remember [sitting] in the makeup trailer, and in the trailer are all these other people—Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams, Paul Le Mat, Ron Howard, Francis Coppola, George Lucas … And I remember sitting there thinking, ‘Not too impressive.’"

Why did I have it on my wall? Because when I was struggling, I wanted to remind myself that success is mysterious. You don’t know when you’re doing something important and meaningful, or when you’re part of something people will one day cherish.

The takeaway: If you believe your work matters, you owe it to yourself to see if the public agrees. The marketplace gets the final vote, of course. But they can’t pick you until you put yourself on the ballot.

Go deeper: If you need proof that big careers have humble beginnings, check out these tales of life at the starting line:

--> 11 Top Trainers Talk About Their First Personal Training Client
4. When you enter somebody’s dream - Jonathan Goodman

Every time that you walk into a business, or happen upon a website, you’re entering somebody’s dream. Somebody who’s poured their heart and soul into the space you now occupy.

They care about that space. Deeply.

If you have a good experience in that space, why not let others know about it? That simple moment of generosity—of catching somebody in the act of doing something great, to quote my friend John Berardi—costs you nothing, but probably means the world to them.

But what do you do when you have the opposite experience, when you feel you’ve been mistreated, or even scammed?

I find it valuable to default to trust. Odds are, it was a simple misunderstanding.

If it wasn’t, don’t hesitate to give constructive feedback. Let them know what went wrong, and what they can do to make it right. How you approach the situation makes all the difference. If you’re positive and respectful, and make it clear you just want to complete an honest transaction, there’s a very good chance you’ll succeed.

And if you don’t? When you catch somebody in the act of being a fraud, or worse, you should also let people know about that. Their dream shouldn’t be your nightmare.

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

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