Stronger Sundays

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

July 21, 2019

Quote of the week:

"Save your money. Eat your veggies. Walk more. Be nice to people. If it hurts, don’t do it. All the best advice is so boring you want to light a clown on fire just to stay awake. But you know what’s exciting? Getting the results you wanted from all that boringness."
                                                                                                        - Dean Somerset on Twitter
Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. All the way isn't the only way    
  2. The gym is not a playground
  3. What does it mean to be "functional"?
  4. Your work precedes you
1. All the way isn't the only way

There’s always someone.

No matter how hard you try to make better choices for your health, your business, or your planet, there’s always someone to tell you it’s not good enough.

In real life it might be your overbearing mom or a passive-aggressive coworker. But on social media, it’s could be anybody or everybody.     

That’s what Meghan Callaway, a trainer in Vancouver, learned when she stopped eating meat for ethical reasons. After she posted about her pescatarian diet, and how well it’s working for her, somebody tore into her "for not going fully vegan."

"It’s absolutely unrealistic to expect a complete and dramatic overhaul to occur overnight, and in many instances, ever," she wrote on Facebook. "Rather than chastising and tearing people to shreds for not being ‘perfect,’ maybe we should actually praise them for making an effort and implementing positive habits, and encourage

The takeaway: My-way-is-the-only-way proselytizing never works, Callaway says. It doesn’t matter if it’s about nutrition and exercise or religion and politics. "Forcing your views down people's throats, and scolding them when they don't live up to your expectations, is absolutely not the way to get through to people."
2. The gym is not a playground  - Lou Schuler

I yelled at a kid in the gym a couple of weeks ago.

I don't say that with any pride, as I noted in this Twitter thread (mild profanity warning). But it happened, and I think there’s a lesson for fitness pros. 

I’ve been working out in commercial gyms since 1980, and writing about fitness since 1992, which means I’ve had lots of time to observe what goes on, and lots of opportunities to write about violations of gym etiquette.     

Sometimes the problem is the gym not establishing and enforcing standards. Sometimes it’s new members who’ve never been in a gym before and don’t understand things like sharing equipment.

But there’s not much a trainer or facility owner can do with a kid like the one I yelled at.

Until I told him the gym isn’t a playground, and screwing around could get someone hurt, he seemed to have no awareness of his environment, or how his behavior affects the people around him. That’s a problem his parents and teachers should’ve addressed long before he reached his teenage years.

Go deeper: For a few things we can do to improve behavior in the gym, check out this story I wrote for the PTDC late last year.
3. What does it mean to be "functional"?

"If your primary goal is to become the most functional person you can be, then weight training alone would be a horrendous strategy," Bret Contreras wrote on instagram.
"All I do is lift weights, and I've lost a good deal of athleticism. … When I jump, it feels like I'm wearing ankle weights."

For contrast, there’s the crew that moved his furniture and gym equipment from Arizona to California. "I was amazed at how efficient my movers were," he says. "They looked like they didn't even lift, but they could work circles around me.                                                           
The takeaway: Real-life function includes the ability to sprint, jump, and rapidly change direction. "Weight training alone would probably get me to 50 percent of my maximum ‘functionality,’" he concludes.
4. Wherever you go, your work precedes you - Jonathan Goodman

The bus station in Podgorica, Montenegro is not the type of place you’d expect something special to happen. The buildings are gray concrete, and you have to pay to use the toilet (a very reasonable 0.30 euros).

As we settle into our seats on the bus, I smile at the couple behind us, and ask if they speak English. They do. I apologize for leaning my chair back, explaining that the latch is broken. They tell me it’s no problem in a voice that says it’s kind of annoying, but they understand it’s nobody’s fault.     

The guy then looks at me and asks if I wrote a book about personal training. I tell him yes.

His name is Evangelos, and he’s from Greece. He tells me he worked as a personal trainer through college and grad school, but now that he’s finishing his PhD in engineering, he’s out of the fitness industry.

But while he trained clients, he must’ve found my book helpful, because he recognized me on a bus 4,649 miles from where I wrote it.

I started writing my first book, Ignite the Fire, in 2009, when I was 24, because I was too ignorant to know the many reasons why I shouldn’t. I had no network; no idea how to write, publish, or market; no friends who’d published a book (I wouldn’t meet Lou Schuler for another three years); and didn’t yet know self-publishing was even an option.     

In 2011, when I launched Ignite, I had zero support inside the young and broken fitness industry.

Nobody thought a 26-year old had any business trying to educate his peers. They hated me for even trying. But they didn’t write the book from their positions of superior knowledge and insight. I wrote it from my position of optimistic ignorance.

I still write books, and people keep buying and sharing and reading and learning and growing from them

I wonder if more people would do more meaningful work if they stopped trying to figure out every detail before they begin. One of the details you learn is how hard it’s going to be, and that’s often enough to keep you from doing it.

My advice: Put what you have to offer out into the world. When you do, you might have a chance to chat with somebody like Evangelos on a bus from Montenegro to Albania on a random Wednesday in July on your way to trek in the Albanian Alps to celebrate your wedding anniversary with your wife. Or something like that.
**Thanks for reading. What to do next**

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