Have you ever had an experience that went perfect, like a great meal or a great trip? There’s a commercial for Booking.com that captures that emotion. A family is walking down the hallway to enter their hotel room. The voice narrating sets up the scene, “This trip has a been a year in the making”. The family looks beat from a day of travel, as they open the door to an amazing room and view of the ocean. The father does a reserved fist pump and the narrator says, “You got it right, you got it booking right!” The commercial is hilarious. I think we’ve all been there. If you’ve never seen the commercial, the link to the clip is below.
Whenever I experience a great training session with someone, I think of what made it go perfect? I do this exercise frequently, so I can consistently replicate it, and teach my team how to do it. On the wall in my studio I have a quote- “Communication + Trust + Respect = Amazing Results”. This isn’t a random quote, I believe this is how that great session happened.
I never allow someone to just sign up without first having a Success session with them where we discuss their goals and what they are looking to get out of training at our studio. I want to first make sure they have realistic goals and then listen to what they want. I also want to discuss the obstacles that have prevented them from reaching those goals in the past. After listening, we always perform an assessment. At the studio, we use the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). This is how I can communicate to my staff what exercises and drills are appropriate for this person. This time with the new member also allows me to learn a little about their personality. I wish it was as easy as showing someone an exercise and then sitting back to watch the magic. We all learn differently (visual, oratory, and kinesthetic), and we all have a different temperament to coaching. Some people are extroverts and some are introverts. Some people need you to be very precise with explaining why they are doing an exercise. Others need to experience success immediately or they feel like a failure. Getting a sneak peak of these needs is huge in creating a successful experience for someone down the road. I’m not a therapist and I’m not going to act like I’ve been trained to be one. What I can do is listen to people and making them feel comfortable. Catering to their personality is how I help to make them feel comfortable.
Trust is built over time. Creating trust starts on day one. Explaining to someone that safety comes first and they will not get hurt is part of that. I learned early in my career, that if you want to damage trust, just pick a random exercise for someone and risk them getting hurt. Demonstrating to people that you gave thought to determine the right drill for them is very important. This is where I feel many coaches fall short. I never believe you should fall in love with an exercise. When I was introduced to kettlebells years ago, I wanted everyone to perform swings. It’s a great exercise to strengthen the posterior kinetic chain (hamstrings, glutes, lats and lower back) and provides a great metabolic effect for burning fat. I quickly learned that due to some physical limitations (lack of mobility, core weakness, and structural issues) some people should not perform swings. As a skilled practitioner I do know there are other options. There are those clients that I have perform floor bridges or cleans with the Ultimate Sandbag to get the same result. The bottom line is that I will never risk someone getting injured simply to check off doing an exercise. As Hippocrates said, “Do no harm”.
The third part of the formula is piggy-backed on the prior part. People need to respect that I’m skilled in what I do. If you can’t respect that I have spent countless hours learning, practicing, and honing my craft, our relationship is going to be compromised. I do understand where people can be hesitant to listen to everything I tell them. The fitness industry is not policed, and anyone feeling confident enough can call themselves a trainer. Therefore, I proudly display the credentials of my team on the wall in my studio. Combined, we have over 30 years of experience. Hopefully, this can calm anxieties someone may have about whether we are qualified to do what we do.
When you add our ability to listen and assess each personal individually with our knowledge, you can create an amazing outcome. At my studio that outcome is stronger, leaner and more mobile bodies. How do I know this? I’ve been able to replicate it time and time again, that’s how.
See you at the studio.