Stronger Sundays

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


Quote of the week:

"I have been both praised and criticized in my time. The criticism stung, but the praise sometimes bothered me even more. ... I am, as I've said, merely competent. But in an age of incompetence, that makes me extraordinary."
                                                                                          - Singer Billy Joel in a 1993 commencement address
Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. How to be a better coach and mentor
  2. Give your clients the gift of longevity
  3. New year, new insights on motivation
  4. Tell a joke today

This is our final newsletter of 2019. We’ll be back on January 5 with a new edition of Stronger Sundays. Happy holidays from the PTDC!
GET 1-5 NEW ONLINE CLIENTS TO START THE NEW YEAR (with no paid ads or phone selling)

Fit pros, nutrition coaches, and gym owners are all invited to participate in our next Founding Client Challenge – complete with a proven formula for getting 1-5 new online clients (even if you're brand new to online fitness)

--> Register for the New Year's intake (starts Jan 3) here
1. How to be a better coach and mentor

At Online Trainers Unite, our free Facebook group, Alex Cartmill shared some insights on what he’s learned as head coach at the Online Trainer Academy, and how you can apply those lessons to your own clients:

1. It’s never too early to set expectations

Clients should know not only what they’ll be doing in the next few weeks with you, but how they'll feel throughout the process. We tell our students to expect negative emotions. Frustration, imposter syndrome, feeling overwhelmed—all those things can and will creep in.

I tell them they're not alone, and not to judge themselves for it. Overcoming those emotions is part of the process. Knowing what to expect changes the entire experience.

2. Once is not enough

You need structured, consistent, and ongoing updates to let them know what’s coming. Those touchpoints help them clear their minds of thoughts and questions about what they’ve done and focus on what they need to do as they move forward.

3. Be there, and make sure they know you’re there

Sometimes the first sign of a client’s disappointment is when they ask for a refund. Both sides lose when their frustrations are left unchecked. When they know you’re in their corner, and committed to helping them, they’ll feel more committed to you.
2. Give your clients the gift of longevity

Measures like BMI and waist size, in isolation, don’t tell us what a client can do. And what a client can do—their functional health—very much affects how long they’ll live, writes physician and author James Hamblin in The Atlantic.

Research shows us two ways to increase functional health:

Strength: We’ve known for a long time that grip strength is highly correlated to longevity. A recent study of firefighters showed that those who can do the most push-ups have a lower risk of heart disease than those who can do the fewest. All else being equal, making your clients stronger will help them live longer.

Walking speed: A 2011 study of seniors correlated a pace of 2.6 feet per second (roughly a 33-minute mile) with average life expectancy. "With every speed increase of around four inches per second, the chance of dying in the next decade fell by about 12 percent," Hamblin writes.

The takeaway: "Doing things that produce tangible, short-term results can lead to a domino effect of health behaviors," Hamblin concludes. They’ll typically eat better and be more conscientious in their habits.

So even if there’s nothing magical about push-ups, grip strength, or walking speed, there’s a huge, life-extending benefit to working to improve those things.

Go deeper: Wondering how to help seniors get stronger and faster? Dan John, Robert Linkul, and Greg Mikolap have you covered:

--> What Are the Rules for Training Older Clients?
3. New year, new insights on motivation

Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift? We have a suggestion: A Revolution a Day: Daily Musings and Motivations for the Health Enthusiast, by Jason Leenaarts.

The book is a compilation of 365 quotes from guests on his Revolutionary You! podcast, including several from us. Each is followed by a life lesson derived from the quote, along with space for readers to record their own thoughts.

Our favorite quotes are the ones about change—change that’s lifelong, life-altering, and in some cases lifesaving. Like this one from Kevin Larrabee:

"I’m not exaggerating when I say that fitness saved my life. It wasn’t just losing weight. It was having so much more confidence because I knew what I was capable of."

Or this one from James Fell:

"There’s a psychological phenomenon called crystalization of discontent, where you have myriad things in your life weighing on you, but they remain separate from each other. When they crystalize into one whole, you reach a breaking point where you just can’t continue any longer. People make a fundamental identity shift in that moment. They decide they have to go in this completely new direction because it’s an absolute imperative."

Some problems, of course, are bigger than others. Here’s Kelly Coffey talking about addiction:

"I got to a point where the pain I got from my ‘pleasures’ was so crippling I felt like I had no choice but to change."

And here’s Pat Flynn talking about more ordinary challenges:

"People don’t want to hear this, but most of your problems about energy and feeling stressed could be fixed if you just went to bed three hours earlier."

(All quotes were lightly edited for brevity.)

Go deeper: This column from Fitness Marketing Monthly celebrates the simple benefits of allowing life to move at its own speed:

--> I Hate Hacks
4. Tell a bad joke today - Jonathan Goodman

It’s that time of year again, when gyms are packed with people you’ve never seen before and may not see again.

You know the best way to deal with your frustration? Tell a joke.

Humor democratizes us. No matter how different the other person may be, all it takes is a smile and a joke to bring us together. Whatever divides us outside the gym fades away. We’re all human, and we’re in it together.

If you can’t think of a joke, feel free to borrow one of ours. They’re some of the most popular posts on our popular Instagram page.

Like this one from Dean Somerset: "Not lifting weights because you’re afraid of looking like a bodybuilder is like not driving your car because you fear becoming a NASCAR driver."

Or this one from me: "Attention clients: When a personal trainer asks if you’re ‘ready,’ that’s a rhetorical question."

Tell a joke to your clients today. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. Laughing together means we’re in it together, whatever it is.

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

Want to improve your fitness business? Buy a book or two from the PTDC book store.

If you like this newsletter,
please forward it to a friend or colleague.
GET 1-5 NEW ONLINE CLIENTS TO START THE NEW YEAR (with no paid ads or phone selling)

Fit pros, nutrition coaches, and gym owners are all invited to participate in our next Founding Client Challenge – complete with a proven formula for getting 1-5 new online clients (even if you're brand new to online fitness)

--> Register for the New Year's intake (starts Jan 3) here

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