Boy, how time flies. It seems like only yesterday, the idea was put into my head to begin to funnel my resources towards helping others.
I had done this “thing” for myself, and it was time to pay it forward. I had a rough blueprint of what I hoped to achieve.
Begin with a blog……….take some clients pro-bono to get some experience…………..begin coaching others………….and hopefully develop this small, “pet-project” into a legitimate, bonafide business.
Being a teacher by nature, helping others is always at the front of my consciousness. Helping someone view things differently – and more clearly than ever before – is insanely rewarding. It’s like a drug, really. It fills you up with a sense of pride and satisfaction like you wouldn’t believe.
In the past 365 calendar days, one fact has become crystal-clear: I have a lot to learn. Am I better than I was a year ago? Yep. At least I hope so. I also hope a year from now, I look back at myself and how I am TODAY, and shake my head with disgust. If you’re not progressing, you’re standing still.
Here are some thoughts, take-aways, and musings from my first calendar year of online coaching – with over 200 clients under my belt. Some are intended to provide insight to the reader, others to provide insight to all those other coaches out there, grinding away, trying to do this thing.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed experiencing them.
1. Humans are variables. Consistency is always the biggest challenge for all.
Life gets in the way. It will always get in the way. Our lives have so many moving parts to them. Jobs, kids, families, friends, vacations, holidays, social events, emergencies, tragedies, traumas…………..the list is long.
Trying to make diet and fitness consistent – and constant – is a genuine challenge for nearly everyone. An actual, workable plan for health/diet/fitness success doesn’t take an extraordinary amount of physical energy. It shouldn’t require an obscene amount of hunger. But it takes a good chunk of mental devotion.
You must attack the plan as if it were a work task. As if your boss came up to you and said, “We’ve got a problem. You need to lose 20 pounds in the next 6 months. Make it happen, or you’re fired.”
If that were the case, would you troubleshoot? Analyze? Reflect? Critique? Research? Yes, of course.
But we don’t view our fitness in that fashion. Perhaps we should. Eliminate the variables and search for the most sustainable and effortless way to improve your health. And then “ride the wave” – for the rest of your life.
2. Online coaching is not as easy as you think.
When you first start, you think it works like this: Assign macros and workout plan. Wait until client is 6% body fat.
You’re gonna need to have a large number of tricks in your bag. If humans were able to easily follow programs, the world wouldn’t be in the predicament they’re in, health wise. Any number of fitness coaches could prescribe a perfect program – with meal plans and everything covered – to get you “onstage shredded”. But how many would actually follow it?
Most are looking for behavioral changes. Which are not easily implemented. It takes passion, persistence, dedication, and self-compassion. And a bit of an analytical, non-emotional side. It’s a tough balancing act. A rational, thoughtful coach must know when to be brutally honest and blunt and when to be positive in the face of poor compliance and decision making. Which reminds me……………………
3. Humans are creatures of emotion, not creatures of logic. Especially about matters of weight.
This has a tendency to be a female problem more-so than a male problem. Many female clients have been “bummed” due to losing two inches off their waist, but “only” 3 pounds in 4 weeks……………insanity.
In order to ensure success, it’s imperative – and I mean, IMPERATIVE – to take objective data from many sources and have set parameters for adjusting your program based on the objective data. And the scale is a very poor source of objective data.
You need to be…………………Emotionless……………. Cold………………. Calculated………………. Rational.
And it’s a tough place to get to, mentally. You need the ability to be a “cold-blooded fat killer”. But if you can do this – if you can separate the emotion from the equation and use only facts to make your decisions – you’ll be astounded with what you can do.
In essence, turn yourself into “The Fat-Burning CEO” of your own body. And make BUSINESS decisions, and nothing else.
Treat your body like a publicly shared company – and try to improve your stock options. Regularly.
4. Results and “buy in” are very closely related.
This item took me a bit to realize. I wish someone had pulled me aside and told me this from the start. I would have saved an awful lot of time, energy, and personal anguish. Being a teacher, it pains me greatly to see someone not taking the advice they’ve been given.
The less a person has paid for my services, the more poorly they have done.
And the relationship is a CLOSE correlation. Very close.
When I started, I needed some clientele. And quite frankly, some experience. It’s a simple supply and demand scenario. Nobody’s gonna pay real money to some noob just starting out.
So, my clients? Mostly friends, family, coworkers, etc. A lot of deals were cut. Some BOGOs. Some even got “free” programs.
And they almost NEVER worked.
After I began remaining steadfast in the pricing, as can be done once demand starts to increase – the results became EXPONENTIALLY better. The difference was actually quite shocking. But the reason is rather clear: When you make a sizable investment in yourself, you’re going to follow instructions carefully, closely, and to a “t”.
So, if you’re pondering if this will be “worth it”…………..it likely will be. If you’re willing to make it “hurt”, financially, to make a change, you’re going to do everything your coach says. And if you’re going to do “everything” your coach says?
Your results will be phenomenal. Guaranteed.
5. Behavioral changes are not easy to make.
There are 3 “tiers” of clients, in general.
Tier 1: This client already works out and already watches their intake. They’re simply doing it “wrong”.
Results: Always spectacular. Always. Long-term success is generally achieved.
Reasoning for results: Their behavior is already settled. They just need optimization.
Tier 2: This client wants to work out and get their shit together. They just need a “buy in” to motivate them.
Results: Generally spectacular. The challenge will lie AFTER the 12 weeks. Can they continue to live the “fit life”?
Reasoning for results: The desire is there. They just need a swift kick to the ass.
Tier 3: This client has tried “everything else” and is very defeated. They have reservations and doubts going in.
Results: Varied. If the client has a “growth mindset” and can see this through to the end? Their life will be changed. If not………..
Reasoning for results: This client is clearly the most difficult to coach. And is also the most rewarding when they make actual, real, verifiable, behavioral changes and improve their lives.
It’s difficult to convey to someone that their entire approach is off a bit. Their behaviors are the problem – not their choices. Their entire system is flawed, and they need a complete and comprehensive re-wiring.
This client *can* do it. But it’s going to take a long time. And the layers of the onion will need to be peeled. Some true, genuine reflection will need to take place. Not everyone in this tier will be successful………………….
But if and/or when these clients actually *do it*…………. their joy, their happiness, their elation, and their relief will bring you to tears.
And it’s what makes it so worth it.
6. Outside perception and influence is a difficult beast to conquer.
Who gives a shit about others?
Seriously. Do you REALLY care that much about what others think of you?
I’ve realized that many do. Which is weird to me. I’ve never cared much for the opinions of others. Not since I’ve made it past middle school, anyways.
But many do. Which is one of the reasons why progressive overload of basic, barbell movements should be an integral part of your program. The barbells are scary. Intimidating. The people who use them are often large, lurking, and lumberjack-like.
So, you need to break down your walls, say, “Fuck it,” and face your fears right in the eyes.
And lift that shit.
A 100%, complete metaphor on what you need in order to truly make it work.
Make “ANASFWG” your mantra. Right now.
7. Your program and recommendations will change – constantly.
You know that saying, “The more I know the more I realize I know nothing”?
Yeah, that saying is true.
Going back and looking at the programs I made and prescribed a year ago……….they were horseshit.
Sorry, guys. Horseshit.
And I’m assuming that when I write my “Reflections From Year Two As An Online Coach” article in 2015…………I’ll be able to say the same thing.
It’s a natural part of the process.
8. Coaches, be sure you have a vision – and maintain your integrity accordingly.
My vision? To cut through the bullshit and provide a legit, straight-up, systematic approach to lifelong wellness. Requirements? Willingness to watch your intake and lift 3 times per week.
That’s all. No supplements, no gimmicks, no bullshit, no hype, just straight up results with nothing more foreign being put into your system than the occasional Pop-Tart. IIFYM-style, of course.
Numerous times I’ve been solicited to sell powders, pills, wraps, energy drinks, fat blockers, t-shirts, apparel, advertisement space on the site…………..pretty much anything you can imagine.
I’ve said “No” an awful lot. And I will continue to do so. True health can’t be purchased for a price. Or sold for a profit.
Provide customers the very BEST of your time, energy, and honesty. And you will reap the benefits long term. Sell out to make a few bucks? You risk compromising everything – not just your integrity – and people will become very weary of your bullshit. It’s a plan for short term profits and long-term flame out.
People want the truth. Give it to them.
9. Coaches, go read two books: “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and “The Go-Giver” by David Mann and Bob Burg.
This suggestion is for those wanting to “make it” in this business.
Dale Carnegie’s classic was recommended by Andy Morgan of Ripped Body – and it’s been worth its weight in gold. The lessons on how to interact with others in order to not come off like a pompous asshole (a problem I tend to have…………) are timeless. After reading it, the feedback on my new “style” was overwhelmingly positive. It was shocking how much of a difference it made.
I will forever be indebted to Andy for making the recommendation. It’s changed my business, my mindset, and my attitude for the better.
“The Go-Giver” is a short parable. It was recommended to me by former client Mike Yanda, of Fast Lane Fitness. In sales, you often think you need to “sell, sell, sell”. And it’s easy to become blinded by the actual “selling” process.
This book lays out the importance of improving your INPUT, and not worrying about your OUTPUT. Give clients an incredible value and experience – and if you always keep this ideal in the front of your mind – they will pay your hard work forward with referrals and additional business.
These two books are so highly recommended that if you’re struggling in the fitness business……………you should quite literally stop reading this SECOND and purchase them on Amazon.
Close honorable mentions:
“Trust Agents” by Chris Brogen and Julien Smith
“It’s Not About You” by David Mann and Bob Burg (a sequel to “The Go-Giver”)
“Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell (recommended by Nick Sorrell of Nick Sorrell Training)
10. Being a coach is insanely rewarding and satisfying. Insanely. It’s was the best career choice I’ve made. Bar none.
This whole thing was started by a good friend of mine, Jack. We sort of started doing this Leangains, IF thing together. I was a bit more into it than him – perhaps it’s my teacher, rational, Algebraic-thought processes. But either way, as I gained more knowledge, I passed it along to Jack. And he took the advice as well.
Jack would ask me questions. Protocol questions, workout questions, meal composition questions, supplementation recommendation questions………..all kinds of questions. And a funny thing happened. After some time had passed, he said,
“Dude, you know the answer to every single question I ask. You should do this shit for other people. You’ll be able to help those like me – who are interested but just want someone to answer the questions for them and help them figure out what to do.”
Just as one of my favorite parts of being a teacher is when a student tells me, “I’ve never been good at math until this year……….”, one of my favorite parts of being a coach is when a client says, “I’ve never been successful at fitness until now.”
It’s enough to cut right through your manly exterior and make your eyes water. Just a bit.
Helping others is what life is all about.
What do YOU have to give to this world? Surely there’s something you can share with others that will improve them in some way, shape, or form.
I hope you have gained some insight from these 10 observations. I hope you continue to use this site for what it’s intended to be used for. To help YOU navigate your way………………..through diet myths, through fitness “bro-science”, through lies and tall tales, and through all the bullshit which litters our world, our browsers, and our lives.
I hope after some time, YOU realize just how simple it is to be lean, healthy, and strong.
From here on out.
Yours in true health,