Stronger Sundays

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


Quote of the week:

"I was asked by another trainer how I used to get clients when I worked in a commercial gym. The number-one thing I can think of is to act like you’re always being observed. Potential clients are watching."Tony Gentilcore

Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. Don’t fall for this follower fallacy
  2. Curl, don’t crunch
  3. Take a lesson from doctors
  4. Why the path to persistence pays off in every way
  5. Make a bad plan

1. Don’t fall for this follower fallacy

Too many fitness pros get discouraged when they see that most of their followers on social media are their fellow fitness pros, rather than the "regular folks" they’re trying to reach.

They shouldn’t be. If trainers like your material, they’ll share it with their own audiences, which means you’ll reach more people.

And there’s more good news: Trainers hire trainers. Just to pick one example, online coach Eric Bach recently told us that more than 25 percent of his clients are other trainers.

The takeaway:
Game recognize game. When your fellow trainers pay attention to what you have to say, you’re doing something right.
2. Curl, don’t crunch

Fitness pros like to argue about which exercises are good or bad for which clients in which circumstances. What we all agree on is that any exercise can be a bad idea if it’s performed poorly—which often means if it’s coached poorly.

Take the McGill curl-up, for example.

Back-pain specialist Stuart McGill, PhD, popularized the exercise as a safe and effective alternative to the traditional crunch. But the way it’s typically performed, and coached, it has all the disadvantages of the crunch with none of the advantages of the curl-up.

As Chad Waterbury, DPT, explained in a recent Instagram video, the goal is to get maximum activation of the anterior core muscles with minimal movement of the head. In fact, your head should never rise above the level of your sternum.

Try it for yourself: Lie supine on the floor with one leg straight, the other bent, and both hands beneath your lower back, palms down. Lock everything from your neck to your hips. Now lift your head slightly, just enough to slip a few pieces of paper beneath it, and squeeze your xyphoid process toward your navel, without holding your breath. Just holding that contraction for a few seconds should be intense.

If it’s easy, you’re absolutely doing it wrong.

And if you’re doing it wrong, you’re also coaching it wrong.

3. Take a lesson from doctors

Here’s a problem unique to online training: A client drops off your radar, but keeps paying you. What do you do?

Many are tempted to give up when repeated messages go unanswered—to drop the client and fill the slot with someone who’s willing to interact.

Think of it this way: If you were a doctor, would you stop treating a noncompliant patient? Of course you wouldn’t. It’s often the least vocal clients who need your help the most.

And sometimes silence doesn’t mean noncompliance.

Debbie North, an online coach, told us this story of a client who went AWOL:

"After six months, she messaged me to thank me for helping her lose 25 pounds, curb her alcohol habit, and feel stronger. Why was she absent?

She’s a stressed, busy executive with three kids between 15 and 21.

"During those six months, one kid was discovered to have a heart condition requiring surgery, another eloped with an abuser, and a third was threatening to depart on a mission to a violent part of the world.

"That she kept her job, was there for her kids, and stuck with the program was amazing to me."

4. Why the path to persistence pays off in every way - Lou Schuler

You’re probably familiar with this quote from legendary coach John Wooden:

"Nothing will work unless you do."

It came to mind after reading an Instagram post by Andy Galpin, PhD. Speaking to students applying to his graduate program at Cal State-Fullerton, he warned them not to justify a mediocre GPA by saying they made good grades in their exercise science classes. "All this shows me is you check out when doing things you don’t like, which is a big problem."

I asked Andy if, in his experience, the students who show the most ambition and determination as undergrads tend to have the best long-term careers.

Short answer: yes. "Those who are the most detail-oriented, organized, and ambitious do indeed have the best outcomes," he told me.

But, he added, it’s not as simple as some people being born with tools that make them more persistent, and those people being more successful. "I would push back extremely hard on that notion. I think this is a story of hope."

He’s seen lots of people who didn’t start with those skills, but succeeded because they built them. He also noted that some people succeed without persistence, innate or self-taught.

On balance, though, Galpin believes the persistent path is most likely to take you where you want to go. "Why not develop a skill set you don’t have? Why not stack the deck and make it more likely to get an opportunity? You can always go back to your old ways if you want."

5. Make a bad plan - Jonathan Goodman

"A bad plan successfully implemented will lead to mistakes, which will teach you lessons, which will lead to improvement. A bad plan is better than no plan. A bad plan is a good start."
**Thanks for reading. What to do next**

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