Stronger Sundays

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


Quote of the week:

"A fitness business is a work of art. You can’t create that art if you’re working from scarcity and chaos. You have to build up your team and your culture, and implement systems that free you up to express yourself fully. That’s how you create your masterpiece."
                                                                                          - Luka Hocevar in a conversation at the Cressey Sports Performance Fall Seminar
Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. The job vs. the tools
  2. Should you let your employees spread their wings?
  3. The risks of fasted training
  4. "The brain is a prediction machine"
1. The job vs. the tools - Jonathan Goodman

Pete Dupuis kicked off the CSP Fall Seminar on September 22 by thanking the 150 or so fitness pros in attendance for giving up a beautiful fall Sunday to sit shoulder-to-shoulder for seven hours of presentations.

Then he introduced me as the keynote speaker. My topic: The Three Frameworks for Online Training.

If you’ve seen my free online training Master Class, you know I start with a simple premise: The primary goals of every fitness business owner are to have a life you enjoy and work you’re passionate about.

Too many personal trainers, burned out from long hours and unpredictable income, lose both their passion and their sense of control.

I’ve thought a lot about one of the questions that followed my presentation. A trainer asked how he could coach people online when his system involves specific equipment that few people have access to unless they train in a studio like his.

Here’s a condensed version of my answer:

What are your clients paying for? Do they hire you because they want to use that equipment? Or because they want to get bigger, leaner, and stronger?

Without knowing him, I’m confident he knows lots of ways to help people achieve all those things. That’s what he could offer online clients.

Tools don’t solve problems. Trainers do.

Your clients hire you to solve a problem, they don't care what tools you use to make it happen.

Go deeper: My keynote wasn't recorded but the framework for online training that I share is the same one in the Master Class you can access via the link below:

--> How to Launch an Online Training Business in 30 Days for Less Than $2,000

2. Should you let your employees spread their wings?

Speaking of Pete Dupuis, he has a unique take on employees who want to build their personal brands through blogs, newsletters, or podcasts:

Let them do it.

As long as they continue doing what you pay them to do, there’s no downside to them sharing ideas, developing their writing and speaking skills, and expressing their creativity outside your place of business.

The greater risk, Dupuis says, is that you stifle their growth and end up with unmotivated, disgruntled employees.
3. The risks of fasted training

The problem with nutrition fads is that some of your most dedicated clients will pursue them, even when they work against the client’s goals.

Take, for example, the war on breakfast, aka intermittent fasting. As the team at Stronger by Science shows in this Instagram post, when habitual breakfast eaters skipped that meal before a morning workout, their performance suffered. They completed significantly fewer reps on the two exercises tested in the study.

The takeaway: "While intermittent fasting is a viable strategy for many lifters, it’s still probably a good idea to make sure that training occurs in the fed state."

Go deeper: We’ve talked about fasting in three recent PTDC articles. Chad Landers warned against pushing your favorite diet on every client, and Alex McBrairty offered examples of intermittent fasting working well for one client but utterly failing for another.

Our favorite, though, is this quote from nutritionist Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, on why fasting works for people who can tolerate it: "If you don’t eat, you lose weight."

Read the rest here:

--> 11 Diet and Fitness Trends That Are Not Actually New
4. "The brain is a prediction machine" - Lou Schuler

We’ve all heard about the placebo effect. But until I listened to this interview with science journalist Erik Vance, I didn’t know why it worked. His explanation:

"If you boil down what your brain does to a single idea … it’s a prediction machine. It takes the past and applies it to the present to predict the future."

It’s strongest in situations with a theatrical aspect, like a hospital. Because the doctor is dressed like a doctor, and nurses are dressed like nurses, we assume their treatments will have a healing effect.

In our world, trainers who look like trainers show clients how to train. So it’s natural for those clients to believe they’re gaining muscle and losing fat before there’s any visible or measurable difference in their body composition.  

The placebo effect, alas, has a dark side. Fear is not only the most powerful emotion, it’s the easiest part of the prediction machine to manipulate. Vance uses the example of the anti-vaccination movement, but once you know what it is and how it works, you see it everywhere, in every aspect of our public and private lives.  

I highly recommend listening to the full interview. I’m still thinking about it a week later.

Go deeper: Fear may begin with the brain making a prediction. But the physical manifestation—the fight-or-flight response—begins in the bones.

As explained in this Scientific American article, the skeleton secretes a hormone called osteocalcin into the blood. Osteocalcin, in turn, has a role in the increased heart rate, body temperature, and blood-glucose levels associated with the stress response.

What that role is remains unclear. Same with the other things osteocalcin does to affect our metabolism, fertility, and exercise performance and adaptation.

All of which reinforces a lesson for fitness pros: Whether we’re talking about diet or training, it’s never one thing. The methods that produce results may be simple, especially at first, but the underlying physiology never is.

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

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Click here to take our free 3-day mini course and learn the core truths guaranteed to get you more clients.

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