What you're getting yourself into:
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Take Away Point: Try not to make these mistakes, embrace self growth via reflection.
We all have varying degrees of narcissism expressed as pride, insecurity, lack of insight & poor self reflection. If you choose to take the Ostrich approach & bury your head in the sand your growth as a human & company is severely limited. No one has ever gone through life or business mistake free, upon reflection as my company approaches 10 years here are some of mine.
Sexualising Fitness –
Early on in my career, when I was green & keen to get traction I saw Instagram accounts on Instagram accounts with boobs, arse, some barbells & high ponies. They had hundreds of thousands of followers, likes seemingly fell from the sky. So in my naivety I hypothesised that if I did the same it would elicit the same social media response for me.
Fortunately this was short lived. For a few reasons; It wasn’t my brand. My brand is not size 8, blondes with tits & arse. It’s a genuine old school ma & pa business that is all about helping the general population with athletic training techniques. I get more enjoyment from improving quality of life than I do getting people from 10% body fat to 8%. Needless to say I was fortunate enough to have a rapport with my clientele that they knew they could inform me of their exact thoughts on posting such rubbish & the was lesson learned.
Everybody should train & not exercise –
If you’re training you have a specific goal, a programme to reach that goal & an attitude to match. If you are exercising you see the benefits of moving but aren’t obsessive about it, time frames don't necessarily concern you & simply turning up is a win for the moment. I thought everyone needed a programme, exercising didn't cut it. Now I know that while a programme that measures improvement can be argued to be the best, if you just want to be active & add a social aspect there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps it's a stepping-stone to training as you learn more about the benefits, different styles of training & create your own goals.
Being married to programmes, ideas or sessions –
Picture this; I’ve been at my desk for an hour, I’ve planned the exercises, the timing, the rest periods, there is the perfect level of competition effect & it matches the exact number of people coming. The session rolls around & (insert name) has an injury, (insert name) texted 5 minutes before the session pulling out due to work/sickness. The beautiful perfect session I’ve planned no longer works.
Once upon a time, my frustration levels rose & I let that spill into my sessions. As a trainer your vibe sets the vibe for the space/session. These people haven’t gone out of their way to annoy you; they have turned up injured or slightly sick, still keen to get something done. You need to be good enough to re-work the session to maximise it for everyone.
As young trainers you are purely limited to the knowledge you have. What you don't know, you don't know. We use swissballs to decrease stability when we should be focusing on power/strength production. We copy things from instagram because they "look cool". Perhaps these are things we use less of or not at all as our understanding of physiology increases over the years of training. As your knowledge increases you must not be married to any one training approach of methodology, as scientists research should always be able to mould our programming. You only have to decide what criteria the exercise must past to be deemed appropriate to replace something else.
Crippled by comparison –
As a beginner you read a lot, you learn from the guys who have been in the industry for decades on decades. I found myself, writing programmes that were perfectly fine to get the job done but once I was in the gym the thought would go through my head; “How would DeFranco/Romaniello/Poliquin/Cressey/Contreas/Ferris/Cosgrove/Aragon/ judge me on this? Inherently with so many opinions (none necessarily wrong or right) vaulting through my head, I committed to nothing & was timid on everything.
A mentor once taught me early on; “You can have the world’s most effective programme on the board but if your athletes don't believe* in it, it’s useless”.
I just had to learn it for myself.
*To get your athletes (all clients are athletes on a spectrum) to believe, it's simply your level of communication.
Prioritising health & fitness over business –
There is a fine line on this one; I’m not businessman. I know the body & how to create a space that people want to be a part of, that's my forte. However, many companies go under because their business knowledge or practices aren’t up to scratch. If you don't have a business, you can’t help anyone. Pour time & effort into learning business (or pay someone to do it for you) like you (should) do health. The more you streamline your business, the more time there is to do what you love. Helping others. And probably less stress for you too.
Are these all the mistakes I've made? Absolutely not. Do I have all the answers? Absolutely not. Think this might help someone? Share it on your social media. Hated it? Let me know directly at firstname.lastname@example.org