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
The 2017 year has come and gone and we’ve all seen the highs and lows. The question is did you learn just as much from either of those experiences? Welcome to 2018 and let me recap some of the great moments I was privy to in 2017. COGO Fitness + Performance celebrated its 6th year in business and what a steep climb it has been. The difference though, this last year I was honoured to have worked with special populations. I got to work in a great clinic with some wonderful clients that gave me the opportunity to share some of my knowledge and experiences as well as learn new technologies that are here to help neuroscience.
I also worked on adding a new conditioning coaching certification under Joel Jamieson at 8WeeksOut. I was also invited to a great workshop within the same certification where I met some very interesting coaches from around the world and learned a ton about myself, my business, and my dreams; this also gave my wife and son an opportunity to join me on a family road trip, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love road trips. I also began my Precision Nutrition Coaching level 1 course which I hope to finish in the next few months; I’d gladly recommend it to all of my colleagues in the industry. I’ve added all of this continuing education in hopes to bring more value to my clients, personal and online. On that note I’ve started to grow my online training, I can’t speak enough of my online clients as I see some real perseverance, I tip my hat to you all followed by a big internet hug.
As I welcome 2018, I think back to 2017 bringing me the greatest birthday present a father could ask for, the birth of my son. We share a birthday, smiles and facial expressions, more importantly I feel we share the same silly sense of humour. I work harder and laugh more because he’s in my life, and what can I say, having the love of my life at my side helps me get up in the mornings and want more for the both of them. I find that 2017 has helped me become more imaginative in my craft once again. Keeping with my philosophy on training but opening doors to so many facets of training to try and improve my clients health with the help of science. With the recent holiday trip I was able to introduce my son to my parents which was huge since we live continents apart, nonetheless, being back in Chile over the holidays with my wife and son, and meeting new family was a beautiful experience I believe will be cherished for the rest of our lives.
I decided to put a different spin on accountability within my profession and clients this last year, I feel that my industry falls short because we are so bent out of shape when it comes to only training and what we eat. Unfortunately science tells us differently and learning from some great mentors I went back to the books and began relearning my schooling. Aside that, I truly feel that we aren’t actionable enough when it comes to laying down the roadmap for our clients and it goes beyond exercise and food. If you allow me a moment on my soapbox; you’re just not digging deep enough into why your clients can’t stay accountable. Well we’ll leave that for another day, for now let’s keep reminiscing on 2017 and see how COGO Fitness + Performance is going to improve in 2018!
I can tell you that one improvement this year is going to start with the inception of Versa Movement Collective, a new company and incredible project that I’m working on with some fantastic health professionals who I now call friends. You can find us on all social platforms and at www.versamc.com to find out more about us. This is the company which will stop separating our professions individually, rather we bring forth a holistic approach to an individual’s improvements in their respective sport or general lifestyle. At the moment we’re specializing in golf as well as long distance runners due to two of our team’s professionals, but as we grow we would like to invite top professionals from all sport disciplines. For now we are working towards finding a facility, continue our VMC Education videos on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook to add a little knowledge to those interested in adding to their programs; and mainly starting to create the buzz that there’s a new Sheriff in town.
2017 was about building foundations and education from school, mentorships, workshops, etc. I’d like to take a small moment to give thanks to a very special friend of mine, a mentor, and part owner of BioPod (please checkout this product, it is at the forefront of ecosystem technology). He flies in from all over the world to impart business wisdom where he can, and I believe it has made me a better business owner, friend, father and husband. I’d love to thank my wife for putting up with me working from home as she is on Mat leave, in my underwear at times, and my moods, as well as the odd pot shot from the cheap seats. What I’m truly thankful for, is that I get to see my little monster man grow up while I work from home.
2017 helped me to mold values into my company. My love for what I do and my love for my clients past and present, is beginning to define itself in what I do, my training and my approach to how I treat others. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself, do you want to be loved and respected by someone that puts so much time into your health, or do you want to simply workout. I personally feel that 2018 is the year where developing long lasting relationships will not only sustain my business as well as my life, but also grow substantially in regards to understanding my surroundings and the people in it. I’ll stop there, but with open arms I’d like to welcome you all to 2018, let’s leave the resolutions aside and become resolute towards the things and those we love the most.
Hey 2018! 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
It’s interesting to see how the world has changed, and more so how we’ve achieved such a digital impact in our lives. When asked, “why train clients online?” The answer is really a no brainer. We now live in the digital era, if we’re not on our phones, our ipads, or in front of the television, I feel we may be lost. Unplugging seems foreign to us since our lives are carried in a smart device in our pockets every day, and everything we need to find is at our fingertips. These days we can find reputable courses online, I know, I’m finishing one through Joel Jamieson on Bioforce Coaching Conditioning, and then finishing my Precision Nutrition Level 1 coach, and after that I will do my NSCA-CPT. Online training just seems like the viable step forward.
These of course are just examples of what’s offered to trainers let alone what’s out there for different demographics or disciplines. The days of sitting in class to continue your education are slowly starting to become less and less. Now hold on! I’m not saying that they will disappear entirely, I think that there is a large need for classes, just on the experience alone. I’m just saying that we are witness to a new era which takes advantage of this wonderful digital era. It’s fantastic to see the exponential amount of data that can be taught online. I don’t have to go buy a cookbook on italian cooking when I can find a recipe in seconds on my phone. Also a major factor that has helped both the buyers and sellers is drastic price drops due to the lack of overhead.
When considering that the average personal training session costs $65 – $85, in comparison to online training which averages between $150 – $350/month. This avenue just seems the logical direction for clients when considering training especially in this day’s economy. Remember though that when it comes to training there is always a value that’s put on the table. Just because I train clients online does not mean that all they get is a program for the month and see ya later! Absolutely not.
There are nuances to creating the online experience, The program has to fit their assessment, there are quarterly milestones to meet, their daily work and life schedule needs to be considered for stresses. I have to know how they eat on the regular, I need to know if they had a surgical procedure, or if they’re weekend warriors and had an accident and modifications are need to be placed in their program. I have to have video links in place for each exercise, I also need to have a program description and notes so that they understand how to work single sets, supersets, tri sets, etc. I also need to place a weekly communication system with all of my clients so that they can let me know what they’re experiencing throughout the program, positive or negative.
Remember that any type of training out there is simply answering questions or solving a problem. “I am a hunter and I run out of steam on my hunts.” “my son made the Colts as a linebacker, and the coach mentioned he needs to improve his speed and power for the season.” “I am a mom of 3, I have a membership at big box gym, and I want to learn how to use the weights…” My favourite of course is,”I want a trainer but I can’t afford afford $70/session!” As you can see, you can plug me in as an answer in each of these individuals lives as their online trainer. And to be honest these are true examples of past clients.
The truth about these clients lies deeper than just the superficial need though. I don’t just get plugged into their lives as a service because they just need a trainer. The hunter wants to feel strong for his family again, he wants to feel confident in his 40’s in front of a mirror. The linebacker needs confidence and sport specific aggression, he wants to be mentally tough and be able to take hits mentally and physically. The mom wants to lose weight, she wants to get strong and sexy, and she wants to outlast her 3 boys at play time. And of course my favourite was the odd student I get, she wants to keep things affordable and learn how to train.
That’s right, just on the comparison above and value proposition for services, online training became popular with me because the online training experience could be just as valuable as the personal training experience at a fraction of the cost. Of course there’s more to it then just cost, you also have to consider your schedules. I have a certain hour window that I work in due to the fact that I want to spend time with my family, especially my little monster man before he goes to bed. Therefore there are times that my clients won’t be able to see me, aside the odd exception if it’s just an assessment. Or better yet how about when my clients or even I go on a vacation. If I go, then I reach out to the trainer my clients and I trust, if the clients go on vacation, they’re on their own.
Finally my favourite which is attached to value, is the individualization of programming and support. We don’t build cookie cutters! We build templates though and that’s because it helps us program much more efficiently and in a timely fashion. If you can build a program within 15mins then you’re doing great; don’t forget that’s one client, now add 20 more and look at the time you’ve spent programming. As a trainer I like the idea that I can solve problems, I don’t just count reps, I try to understand my client from within so that their program not only improves their lives but also compliments it.
To say that I care about each client individually is an understatement; I love my clients. I get to know their families, see their kids grow up, I experience the highs and lows. And when a bad economy says goodbye to some, they extend their hellos via social media to congratulate me on the birth of my son. They are no longer my clients, rather they are my friends, with an open invite to their cabin in British Columbia. It’s that little device in your pocket that connects you to the world, old friends, lost loves, science, history, recipes, education, etc. Online training is here to stay, it brings people together, it educates, which is my number one goal, and you get to keep me in your pocket at all times. So, why train clients online? The cost is minimal, and the value and benefits are endless. If you’re curious about online training and have lots of questions for me, feel free to contact me
firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my contact page.
Until we meet in the matrix;
Stay healthy my friends…
Your Coach, Franco Gomez