Not Even I Can Help You
We’re definitely underway the new year and almost at the end of the first month, and you have to ask yourself, where are you in your pursuit of health, success and happiness? I hate to compete with all of you, but I’m a little harder on myself and quite competitive. So I’ve already lost 12Lbs, and about 3% bodyfat and yes I did it healthy, with good eating and exercise; also let’s not forget a gorgeous wife to partner with me for support. By the way that’s how much damage you can do to a month of eating BBQ and drinking beer in Chile. Also let’s not forget the exciting new projects and prospective clients for COGO Fitness + Performance as well as Versa Movement Collective, I know, I’m a grinder but if you can’t grind doing what you love, then what would you do it for?
Now let’s talk about where you are so far since at this point the drop off rate at all major big box gyms rounding into February is sadly and statistically already about 4%, with another 14% dropping out by February; are you in that group? And have you been sincere to what you want, starting out this year? This is why it is extremely important for you to honestly state that if you’re not sincere to your pursuits, not even I can help you! Here’s the thing, and yes there is a thing; As a client of mine you’ll undergo what I like to call ‘your week in review.’ This small innocuous yet simple questionnaire is loaded with both barrels aiming at the man or woman in the mirror (sorry Michael).
I know you’re wondering how does a week in review help me break down your health in a nutshell and how am I even able to help you? You’re probably asking yourself, does this guy like his business or better yet, does he even get sales with blogs like this one?! Well I do, and I definitely do, and my client retention lies partly within these questions, your answers, your accountability to your answers, and finally the quality of attention and training. Here are a few things I need to understand before moving forward with assessments, movement screens, and programming:
1. How many hours do you sleep?
2. What time do you shut off all blue lights prior to sleeping?
3. What time do you wake up and how? These few to start to assess the quality of your sleep
4. Then I want to know what you ate the day before? At what times you ate? And the quality of foods? And trust me yesterday was a bad day for EVERYONE!
5. I need to know what your family life schedule is like? The quality of time spent, and family stresses as it dictates a measure of your happiness. Supremely important info in regards to your body’s hormonal activity
6. I then ask what does a work week look like? Hours? Occupation? How many hours do you stand, versus sitting? And what kind of daily stress do you endure?
7. Finally I ask you, how long you’ve trained in the past? How long you’ve stuck to it? And where do I fit into this picture called your life; if I even do?
‘Where do I fit into this picture called your life?’ That’s right, that last one sadly is important, because as you know for some trainers retention isn’t just based on the quality of training however knowledgeable or valuable. It’s actually rooted in the fabric of someones life and how we as professionals fit in it. I promise you that when you’re searching for a training professional, first have a look at your life and ask yourself these questions. It’ll be the sincerest moment you have to stop and really think about what needs to change to improve your quality of life.
I can ensure you that I’ve told clients in the past that if they cannot fix these previous questions, not even I can help them. Don’t forget that training albeit good for you, is a stressor to your body. Here is the kicker though; all of those questions above live symbiotically with training so for those that do want to make a change, “I can actually help you.” You just need to start with awareness and accountability and you need to be sincere in making the small changes necessary to each one of those questions; consider it a step program of sorts. Let’s take the time and do this exercise together like I’ve done with so many of my clients, for Online as well as Personal Training.
1. You average 5-6 hours? Let’s hit two birds with one stone. Let’s start by looking at the second question and let’s shut down the blue lights in your house 2 hours before bed; That’s TV, laptop, iPad, and or smartphone. On top of this let’s spend time with family, let’s dim the lights in the house a little and build some quality habits. Okay that’s 3 birds with one stone and no I’m not crazy, because what I’m trying to do is send you to bed happy, with your cortisol down, and melatonin up. You’ve stopped emitting daylight through your devices, you’ve spent quality time with your family and you’re about to have incredible sleep! Last but not least, get yourself an incredible mattress because if you’re still feeling pain the next day after a decent sleep, then that means it’s time to trade in that old mattress. This last one is in lieu of how you awake, are you relaxed and calm or does the stress kick in? All important factors to consider in regards to your sleep quality the night before.
2. So now you’ve awoken, what foods start your day? Are you fasting, do you drink water, coffee, cereal, eggs, etc? These are all factors that entail a hard look at what begins to fuel your day. At what times do you eat, and what do you generally eat, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that humans are creatures of habit and will eat the same omelette day in and day out. Also have a look at how many hours in between are you eating and why? Do you tend to over eat with larger protions? Do you graze? Are you into intermittent fasting or do you eat every 2-3 hours? these are necessary info for us to begin to analyze if food is a problem or not applicable to your training life.
3. I look at your life and I know that I was able to add to it’s quality with the first answer but to be more in depth, are you a family man or woman, or single living the life? If so how much quality time are you spending with your kids? This is actually an important factor that can go to the center of your everyday happiness, your hormonal homeostasis, your psychological balance and much more. I won’t go too deep into this answer, but the impact your family life has on your happiness and outlook on your personal health is massive. Do a little research and you will begin to understand how healthy an individual is when spending quality time with their loved ones, and I’m not talking about watching TV together either; I’m talking about QUALITY time. If you’re single you night enjoy the drink or night life way too much and that also has an impact in your sleep and therefore your happiness.
4. Finally I ask about your work life, as a trainer I can’t ask you to quit your job because then I wouldn’t have one either. But I can ask you to figure out ways to improve it. Believe it or not finding out your self worth as far as your occupation is concerned, hitting up a few headhunters and getting out there brings forth renewed self confidence in your career. Sometimes it could mean better time management at work, more planning towards projects to act efficiently, and or may open more avenues within your position or career; even simply asserting yourself within your position. I know you’re thinking what do I know as a trainer, but let’s not forget I spent 17 years in oil & gas and construction projects around the world so I might know a thing or two about all of these subjects that may require change.
Ok I know you’re thinking that we didn’t touch on your past training experience, athletic background, etc. The truth is if I can’t help you have a deeper look into what your week in review looks like and how we can begin to want to make changes, your training background helps me only in semantics. When I ask about your week in review, I’m looking at your life in review, and I do this because you’ll need to have a hard look at what it will take for you to take that first step and stay accountable to yourself, and through each step after that. Remember that training is a commitment, and an investment in the most valuable commodity you have, and that’s your health. If you can’t be sincere to the improvements needed in your life, I say it again; not even I can help you.
Take that first step, and along that road; stay healthy my friends…
Your Coach, Franco Gomez
VERSA MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE; my new journey, and although I’m writing from the COGO point of view, I wanted to share a new experience that I’ve taken on; a new business, new friends, and a new journey. I’ve always been a fan of people, companies, or entities that inspire change. Think back far enough and you’ll remember names that were part of many revolutions, whether revolts against empires or technological advancements that moved the world forward. Wherever you look you will always find a name, a person or a community that’s come together to make a difference in this world. I believe the choices we make are etched in history, it sounds bold by saying this considering that you might think I’m just a drop in the ocean; but I believe it. I believe that the way you speak to someone, your mannerisms, your voice and your posture can inspire a bold courage in people. It can change someone’s outlook and more importantly it can move a community into talking about what it is you did for them. It can inspire a journey, and all it took was a conversation.
I met one of my partners for Versa Movement Collective in 2013 after my motorcycle accident. It’s interesting but our city had just experienced a flood a month prior to that event. I was just starting a conversation with the love of my life, and my business was in a very uncomfortable stage where you’re trying to move forward but the catch 22 of needing money to make money, to put money into a business; that was learning the hard truth about business. The storm hit Calgary that late spring and it didn’t stop, the water came and our city came to a resounding halt. Nat and I would ride our bicycles in areas downtown and it looked like the zombie apocalypse had hit it as the streets were bare and some of them underwater. We lent a hand here and there when we could and in the midst of things we got closer then we had expected; it was the best rollercoaster life ride I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
The first night of that years Calgary Stampede, I’m out for a ride on ‘The Black Mamba’ (my Harley Night Rod) visiting a friend’s bar in town, and on my way home I get bumped off the road and into the back of a parked taxi. In one second the lights went out. I remember waking up on my hands and knees, blood coming down over my eye from a cut on my brow, and my arm hanging as it was dislocated. I remember my legs hurt as well as my knees but I thought at least I’m standing. I grabbed my right arm and put it back in, a very painful process I might add, and after the chaos of cops, ambulance, firefighters and the nurses that were around the corner just happening by, I headed to the hospital. My dear old dad sleeping in the chair next to my hospital and me thinking how the hell did I end up here, either way, it was time to move forward.
I remember looking at a business card the doctor gave me in the hospital, telling me I was going to need physio at some point. So as it happens I met my first physiotherapist, he was very knowledgeable young man and very attentive, to be honest, regardless of having been my first ever physio visit in my life I was very impressed with the treatment. This physiotherapist is not my business partner though, No my business partner stepped in when the other headed to help out in the Sochi Winter Olympics. Equally knowledgeable, excellent treatment, and the conversation seemed unforced and comfortable. We spoke science and training, and shared stories of athletes we were working with here and there. We even began referring back and forth over the next few years, he was such a professional it came natural to work with him. So I have to say I was more than pleased to hear the message on my phone asking for a business chat and a coffee this past summer.
After banters, and meetings, and really working on our company’s vision, we realized it was time to invite a third partner; someone that could bring business development to our team. I was pleased with my second partner, great experience in the fitness community with her own franchise at one point, I felt she could bring some clout to our game. And so, this is how a conversation led to the birth of VERSA MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE. We are not a Physio company, we are not a training and performance company. We are not a fitness company or a personal training company. We are the start of your journey, we want to be a huge part of your experience from the moment you walk in to see us, to the moment you step onto the pitch, the ice, the road, or your office. We want to complete the holistic circle of what health really is. When I was approached for the first time, and after the proposal was on the table I said one important thing that I hold dear to my heart. “I’m in on one condition, we’re not just another physio clinic with training services, or vice versa; this city has enough of those.” We are a human performance company, and like that the wheels were in motion.
I was introduced to two top professionals in their field; Jay Miren a Golf Performance professional with more experience in his field and assessment technologies that I truly believe Calgary will have its first golf tour professional in no time. Then I met Malc Kent of MK Performance, a running coach whose knowledge of the sport and his clout within the industry is unsurpassed. Having worked at EXOS and consulted with NIKE as well as Red Bull he brings a myriad of training methodologies for the long distance running game. Again I believe we may begin building Olympic calibre distance runners, especially when living so close to the mountains; personally I believe it’s time we up our game in Canada. Now as the company grows we are definitely looking to expand our team with proven professionals that will add a compliment to VMC, but for now I believe we have a great foothold in the door.
Now we can take performance to the next level, we can take an individual and walk them through their journey by helping them with injury prevention, skills, and strength and conditioning. I know right now you might feel a little vulnerable and think that this might not exactly fit in with what you do. Maybe this might sound intense and all you want is a physio, or maybe you just need some personal training. Well don’t forget that this is your journey and we want to be your guides. You want to succeed in your local squash tournaments, then there’s still a need to experience our expertise. You still need to look at your movement efficiency, your mobility, your strengths, speed and conditioning. We also want to look at your week in review, your work, your eating habits as much as your sleep habits. Life is holistic, it’s a circle that needs to stay closed and we want to teach you how.
Imagine if you will, if I was to draw a circle on a board, and I asked you a slew of questions but we’ll keep to the simple ones. First you went through our TPI, or FMS and/or SFMA assessment; and you were also capable of doing our VERSA Conditioning test. Now we came into the room and we erased the first line off that circle; the first line was for a lack of mobility in your shoulders and ankles, then we erased a little more because your ergonomics began to fail under duress in the conditioning test. Then we took more off because your sleep habits were very erratic.Your diet wasn’t bad but it could definitely have some improvement due to your daily activities, so a little more came off the circle. You look at the board and you don’t see a circle anymore. The circle’s been broken, and it gives us a starting point to work from. When we say we want to improve your life, as you can see we actually mean it.
At VERSA MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE we don’t look at you from a fitness point of view, or a physio point of view. I personally don’t look at your programming from an exercises point of view. As a team we want to know more about you and what are the cause and effects that make up your daily life. It is the only way to help improve the woman on the golf course, the kid stepping on the ice for his Junior A tryouts, or the law office about to enter this summer’s corporate challenge. We want to take a comprehensive and systematic approach to an individual’s improvement, teaching them the very foundations of what our company stands for. There is a science or method to our madness, and as you can see journeys start in different ways. Mine was different then my partners, not better and not worse; just different. Imagine wanting and believing in something so badly that you know if given the chance you could change the world. You could inspire change in a mindset that needs change, you can become that revolutionary company and hope to sit alongside the Apples and Googles and all the inspirational leaders you looked up to. Welcome to VERSA MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE, this is my journey, we want to know yours…
Your Coach, Franco Gomez