Stronger Sundays

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


Quote of the week:

"Intelligence is not being able to regurgitate 1,000 facts. It’s about being able to simplify the complex and determine the one thing that makes the biggest impact .
                                                                                          - Bill Hartman on Twitter
Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. A better way to use research
  2. Fat shaming starts early in life
  3. It’s okay to suck
  4. To banish your fear, you must first embrace it
1. A better way to use research

"The number of things that people think they ‘know,’ based on just one or two studies, is truly astounding," writes Greg Nuckols on Facebook. "A lot of times they don't even realize the support is that thin."

Nuckols cites two examples:

  1. Is longer rest between sets better for muscle growth? "The evidence … is actually pretty thin, and there's also counterevidence," he says.
  2. Do post-workout ice baths limit muscle growth? It’s now "common knowledge," he says, thanks to just two studies, "one of which is obscure to the point that I've literally never seen anyone reference it."

The takeaway: The problem, writes Lee Taft on Twitter, is a fundamental misunderstanding of what research can and can’t tell us.

"Research doesn't mean ‘irrefutable science.’ It just means an investigation into a topic. We have to stop allowing an article that comes out ‘backed by research’ to stop us from doing a training method we know to be correct and successful."

Go deeper: Alex McBrairty explained the promise and pitfalls of "evidence-based" programming for personal trainers. His advice: Don’t just read research. Do research. Your gym is a lab for testing, through trial and error, what does or doesn’t work in real life.

--> Four Ways to Use Science to Get the Best Results for Your Clients
2. Fat shaming starts early in life

When Anthony Papathomas sat down to read a book to his six-year-old son, he was shocked to discover blatant weight bias.

The book is called The Yoga Ogre. Papathomas, a sport and exercise psychologist at Loughborough University in the U.K., describes what he found in in this Twitter thread.

Ogden, the title character, "lies awake at night worried about his tight clothes, big belly, and compulsive overeating." His friends encourage him to play sports to help him lose weight. "Because you wouldn’t do sport for things like, I don’t know, being with your mates, skill mastery, or, who knows, even fun," Papathomas writes.

But every time he tries something (including yoga, which he’s told will make him "slim as a wafer"), he’s told to stop. Why? Because he’s too big and strong.

The solution to his problem: calorie restriction! That leads to what Papathomas says is the book’s real message: "If you don’t fit in, starve yourself until you do."

The takeaway: Yes, it’s just one children’s book that most of us have never heard of. And the author himself responds to the thread, saying he’d never use the phrase "slim as a wafer" if he were writing it today.  

But the bigger problem is the message it sends: The size and shape of your body is more important than what you can do with it. As James Heathers notes in a reply, "The Yoga Ogre has a bright future in power sports."
3. It’s okay to suck

Online Trainer Academy mentor Amber Bonem has an encouraging message for fitness pros:

Be comfortable with sucking.

"No one knows what they're doing when they start," she says in a post at Online Trainers Unite, one of our public Facebook groups. "What's funny though: It's only you that notices. The clients don't know how it's all supposed to work."

To get better, Bonem offers three tactics:

1. Avoid what she calls "productive procrastination" by assigning specific tasks to specific blocks of time. Do nothing else during those blocks.

2. Keep track of what you do for a week, and then review your list. "Anything that can be automated or delegated should be."

3. Take imperfect action. "Go with ‘good enough,’ proactively seek feedback, look at the data, and make outcome-based decisions along the way."

The takeaway: "Blanket statement: You’re smart enough, good enough, and worthy enough to make this work," Bonem says. "For some it happens faster, and for others it takes more time. If this is really what you want to do, stick it out and see what happens."

Go Deeper: Click here to request to join Online Trainer's Unite if you're at all interested in online training.
4. To banish your fear, you must first embrace it - Jonathan Goodman

Danger is real, but fear is a choice. Fear is simple, irrational, and made up. And it’s crippling. What keeps you from reaching the next level in your career? It’s not because you don’t know what to do. It’s because you’re afraid of doing it.

To free yourself from fear, you must first define it. As Yoda said, "Named must your fear be before banish it you can."

What is fear? Here’s my definition:

Fear is an irrational response to the unknown. You fear because you do not understand. When you do not understand, your mind makes up scenarios leading you to believe that bad things, things that can’t possibly happen, will most definitely happen.

To banish fear, you need to make the unknown known.

What’s the worst that could happen if you make a bold, decisive move? You’ll go broke? You’ll be embarrassed? You’ll disappoint people you love and admire? Whatever it is, imagine exactly how it will feel.

Now follow this advice from Seneca, the Stoic philosopher:

"If you wish to put off all worry, assume that what you fear may happen is certainly going to happen."

Are you still alive? Can you still look your loved ones in the eye? More important, do you still have a passion for what you do, even after this spectacular failure?

If the answer to these questions is "yes," what’s there to be afraid of? And if you’re no longer afraid, what reason is there to avoid taking action?

You’re awesome, my friend, and it’s time to do something great.

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

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